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Pre-season Game 4 - Slump buster

by Daniel Fung / Vancouver Canucks
For the first time in the pre-season the Canucks dressed a lineup that closely resembled what they expect their regular season lineup to look like.

The final result was also something the Canucks expect to happen many more times this season starting next Thursday when the puck drops for real.

After combining for just five goals in their first three pre-season outings, the Canucks bested that total alone on Monday night getting six goals from six different scorers – including three in the final frame – en route to an emphatic 6-1 win over the Phoenix Coyotes at Rogers Arena.

The win was Vancouver's first of the pre-season after they dropped their first three games of the exhibition campaign.

After Chris Higgins' opened the scoring 16:29 into the opening period, the Canucks doubled their lead just over two minutes later when Jannik Hansen slid a rebound off a Kevin Bieksa point shot on the power play past Coyotes' netminder Thomas Greiss for his second goal in as many games.

The Coyotes would pull within a goal early in the second period after Martin Hanzal took a pretty feed off the side boards from David Rundblad and managed to squeeze the puck five-hole past Vancouver netminder Roberto Luongo to cut the lead to 2-1.

That was as close as the Coyotes would come on this night.

Yannik Weber would restore Vancouver's two-goal lead at the nine-minute mark of the middle stanza beating Greiss high glove side with a slapper through traffic from the right point and that turned out to be more insurance than the Canucks would need.

Vancouver also got third period tallies from Mike Santorelli, Tom Sestito and Jason Garrison to round out the scoring.

Greiss stopped 28 of 34 shots in the loss.

Vancouver netminder Roberto Luongo, who was making his first start since being beaten four times on 14 shots in a loss to the Oilers last Wednesday, wasn't challenged much but did come up with several key stops including one off Coyotes' defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson in the slot when the game was still scoreless midway through the first period.

He finished with 21 saves on 22 shots for the win.

The Canucks are back at it tomorrow night from the HP Pavillion at San Jose when they take on the Sharks in their final road contest of the pre-season.

A BIRTHDAY TO REMEMBER: Canucks' defenseman Yannick Weber celebrated his 25th birthday on Monday and he did it in fine style netting a goal and an assist in the victory. He was named the game’s first star for his efforts. He now has four points (1-3-4) in three pre-season games played as he continues to battle for a spot on the opening night roster.

POWERFUL PLAY: After going a combined 0-for-10 on the man-advantage through their first three pre-season outings, the Canucks served notice early on Monday that they've still got all the key ingredients for a potent power play unit. On their first power play opportunity of the night late in the first period with David Schlemko in the box, Vancouver threw seven pucks on net and had a number of glorious scoring opportunities before Jannik Hansen finally put one into the back of the net.

BANNED TO THE BOX: The Canucks will have to get used to not having forwards Zack Kassian and Dale Weise around for a while. Both Kassian and Weise were handed multi-game suspensions by the NHL for separate incidents that occurred in the Canucks' 5-2 loss to the Oilers on Saturday. Weise will sit out the remainder of the pre-season while Kassian will do the same in addition to also missing the first five regular season contests. Bo Horvat and Hunter Shinkaruk drew into the lineup on Monday as a result of the suspensions.

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