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Pre-season Game 6 - Just like old times

by Daniel Fung / Vancouver Canucks
In his seven seasons as head coach of the Canucks, Alain Vigneault had grown used to watching his team deliver big wins in front the hometown crowd at Rogers Arena. He must have thought he was experiencing deja vu Thursday night.

Vigneault, now the new bench boss of the Rangers, had a front row seat to yet another big Canucks victory as his old team walloped his new team by a score of 5-0 to spoil his return to Vancouver.

With the win, the Canucks improved their pre-season record to 2-4-0. The Rangers fell to 1-4-0.

Vigneault's Rangers, despite playing their third game in four nights on their Western Canada road swing, looked to have the early jump on Thursday out-shooting the home team 17-8 in the opening frame but it was John Tortorella's Canucks who would score early and often.

Canucks captain Henrik Sedin, celebrating his 33rd birthday alongside twin brother Daniel, opened the scoring 7:39 into the contest on a power play firing the rebound from a deflected Alex Edler point shot past a falling Henrik Lundqvist for his first of the pre-season.

After Frank Corrado gave the Canucks a 2-0 lead to end the first period, Henrik would tally his second of the night less than two minutes into the middle frame capitalizing again on a juicy rebound after Lundqvist kicked an Alex Burrows' deflection of an Edler point shot right onto the stick of the birthday boy.

Ryan Kesler and Hunter Shinkaruk would also tally for the Canucks in the second period to chase Lundqvist from the crease.

Lundqvist finished with just 12 saves on 17 shots through two periods of play and was replaced by Martin Biron, who stopped all three shots he faced, to start the third period.

Henrik was not the only Canuck who looked to be in fine form with the regular season just around the corner.

Roberto Luongo, who was making his third start of the pre-season, turned in a vintage performance turning aside all 41 shots he faced for the shutout.

The Olympic gold medalist looked poised and in control the entire evening giving up very few rebounds and making quality scoring chances look like routine shots.

It was the perfect ending to a less-than-perfect pre-season for the Canucks and, while it may have been a forgettable night for Vigneault in his homecoming, even their former coach had to feel a small sense of satisfaction knowing the team he helped build looks like they're in good shape to start a brand new season.

The Canucks have a week off before they get playing for keeps next Thursday when they head to San Jose to open their regular season against the Sharks.

THE LONG ROAD BACK: David Booth, who had not appeared in a game since March 16, made a somewhat surprising return to the lineup on Thursday night and didn't look out of place. Booth saw time in all situations including on the power play and penalty kill and finished with 15:51 of ice-time on the night. He had one shot and also hit the post on a shorthanded 2-on-1 rush in the third period.

CORRADO SENT PACKING: A two-point effort, it appears, was not enough to keep Frank Corrado with the big club. Corrado, who had zero points and a minus-two rating in three pre-season games coming into Thursday, made the most of his opportunity on Thursday scoring once and adding an assist in 16:20 of ice-time but was sent to Utica (AHL) after the contest. For now, it appears that Yannick Weber has earned a spot with the big club. Weber, who finished the pre-season with one goal and four points, was held point-less on Thursday but finished a plus-one on the night.

SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS: One thing the Canucks might want to work on before the regular season gets underway is limiting opposition shots. For the fifth time in six pre-season games, the Canucks were out-shot by their opponents. Thursday night also marked the second time in the six pre-season outings that the Canucks surrendered 40-or-more shots. Overall in this year's pre-season, the Canucks were out-shot by a combined 202-140.

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