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Game 61: Jan the Man

by Daniel Fung / Vancouver Canucks
The only downside for the Canucks in their first game back following the Olympic break was the realization of the fact that, after Wednesday night, they won't see the Blues again for the remainder of the season.

Jannik Hansen's 10th goal of the season scored at 11:13 of the third period snapped a scoreless draw and proved to be the game-winner as Vancouver finally snapped their lengthy seven-game losing streak with a 1-0 victory over St. Louis at Rogers Arena.

The win was the Canucks' third in as many tries against the Blues this season and gave them their first season series sweep of St. Louis since the 1988.89 season.

The game's lone marker came after Hansen beat out both Blues defenders Carlo Colaiacovo and Roman Polak in a race to a puck that had been flipped into the neutral zone by linemate Tom Sestito to put himself on partial breakaway before he wired a hard wrist shot under the blocker of St. Louis netminder Jaroslav Halak to give the Canucks their only lead of the night and one which they would not relinquish.

If Hansen was the offensive hero of the game, there was no doubt that goaltender Eddie Lack was Vancouver's defensive MVP.

Lack, making his first start since February 3 after riding the pine in Vancouver's final three pre-Olympic contests, turned aside all 20 shots he faced to earn his third career shutout and was given the game's First Star honours.

The win snapped a personal five-game losing streak for Lack, who had not tasted victory since January 10 coincidentally also against the Blues.

Halak was clearly the busier of the two goaltenders in Wednesday's tilt finishing with 34 saves on 35 shots in the loss.

The Canucks are back in action on Friday night when they host Zach Parise and the Minnesota Wild.

With Wednesday's win, the Canucks concluded their season series against the Blues with a perfect 3-0-0 record. It’s the third time in team history that the Canucks have swept the Blues in a season series. They went 3-0-0 against St. Louis in 1982.83 as well as in 1988.89.

AND THEN THERE WERE TWO: With Ryan Kesler missing from the Canucks' lineup that left Daniel Sedin and Jason Garrison as the only two players who have appeared in all 61 games for the Canucks this season. Since the start of the 2011.12, Kesler has missed 37 games and counting due to injury including Wednesday's contest against the Blues. Kesler suffered a hand injury while playing for Team USA during the Sochi Olympic Games.

NOTES AND NUMBERS: Kevin Bieksa returned to the Canucks' lineup after missing their last five pre-Olympic games with a foot injury. Henrik Sedin also was back in action after missing the last two pre-Olympic games with a rib injury... Daniel Sedin's slump in NHL action continued as his season-high point drought extended to 10 games... Yannick Weber, who missed the last four pre-Olympic games with an upper body injury but played for Switzerland during the Olympic Games, was a healthy scratch...Tom Sestito and Jordan Schroeder were the only Canucks who did not manage a shot on goal on Wednesday.

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