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Game 8: Stumping the Sabres

by Daniel Fung / Vancouver Canucks
The Canucks discovered in Philadelphia just how dangerous a struggling team can be if you give them a fighting chance. They put that lesson learned to good use in Buffalo.

After barely squeaking out a 3-2 win against the slumping Flyers two nights ago, the Canucks took no prisoners on Thursday against a Sabres team that came into the contest with just one win on the season dominating them from buzzer to buzzer in a 3-0 win at the First Niagara Center.

Roberto Luongo made 25 saves for his 63rd career shutout – 36th in a Canucks' uniform – while Vancouver got goals from Chris Higgins, Brad Richardson and Ryan Stanton to extend their win streak to two games to start their seven-game road trip.

Ryan Miller made 31 saves on 34 shots for the Sabres in the loss.

Vancouver jumped out to a fast start on Thursday out-shooting Buffalo 19-7 in the opening period despite only finding the back of the net once in the opening frame courtesy of Higgins' second goal in as many games.

Richardson's tally came short-handed in the second period while Stanton's third period goal was the first of his NHL career.

The Sabres appeared to end Luongo's shutout bid less than a minute into the third period after Thomas Vanek beat Luongo high glove side after a nice cross-ice set up by former Canuck Cody Hodgson.

The play was ruled a goal on the ice but video review showed the puck struck the crossbar and landed on the goal line but never went into the net.

The Canucks are back in action on Saturday when they take on Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins in a game that gets underway at 10 am Pacific Time.

RARE BLANKING: It's been quite a while since the last time the Canucks recorded a shutout in Buffalo. In fact, Luongo is only the second Canucks goalie to blank the Sabres in Buffalo. The first to do it was Kirk McLean back on March 3, 1996. Overall, Luongo is the fourth Canuck to record a shutout versus the Sabres joining McLean, Gary Smith and Felix Potvin.

STREAKS AND MILESTONES: Henrik Sedin and Jason Garrison both extended their respective point streaks to three games. Christopher Tanev appeared in his 100th career NHL game while Ryan Stanton's goal was the first of his NHL career. Chris Higgins has now scored in back-to-back games after going 15 games without a goal counting regular season and playoffs dating back to last season.

HOMECOMINGS: Zack Kassian played his first game in Buffalo since the trade that sent him to the Canucks back in February 2012. He was held off the scoresheet and had two shots in 12:45 of ice-time. He wasn't the only Canuck to have a homecoming of sorts. Canucks head coach John Tortorella also has ties to Buffalo. He served as an assistant coach with the Sabres from 1989 to 1995.

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