As they’ve done so often this season and throughout their careers, Daniel and Henrik threw the Canucks on their backs and carried the road warriors to an imposing 5-2 win, snapping a four-game road-losing streak for Vancouver.
A combined five points had the twins smiling when the dust settled after this heated game, although Daniel’s grin was a little mangled as he and Henrik played a markedly grittier style of hockey on this night.
Evidence of the toughness the Sedins have been accused of lacking was left on the ice after Daniel took a stick to the face with the score even at 1-1 and just over three minutes to play in the first period; Mark Fistric got the lumber up and sliced Danny in the mouth.
Missing a tooth with a mouth full of blood and looking a little worse for wear, Daniel only took one shift off before returning to the ice, wouldn’t you know it, to score a nice power play goal to put Vancouver ahead 2-1.
Daniel was then sown back up during the first intermission and proceeded to assist Henrik’s first goal of the game, another power play score and the eventual game-winner that put the Canucks up 3-1 and on cruise control early in the second period.
Henrik put the exclamation point on Vancouver’s 17th road win of the season with an empty net goal, his 17th score of the season, to cap off a rough and tumble game that the Sedins didn’t shy away from.
“I thought tonight was a lot of physical play out there and a lot of times sticks were coming up, there were a lot of battles out there and that’s how it’s going to be in the playoffs too,” said Hank, who had two goals, an assist and was a plus-1 in 18:35 of ice time.
“It was a huge win for us, losing in Phoenix and coming in here and losing again with two tough back-to-back games coming up would have been tough, all the sudden you’re back in the race again, so it was a big win for us.”
The Canucks scored three power play goals on their first four attempts and finished 3-for-7 overall to facilitate this important victory; special teams made the difference last week as well when Vancouver shot down Dallas 4-2.
Struggling on the power play was what made losers of the Canucks in their last four road games as Vancouver was 0-for-20 in those contests and righting the ship in that department clearly made a ginormous difference.
“We didn’t play great on the power play, but we got pucks to the net and guys going to the net,” assessed Henrik. “We’ve been great at home on the power play, but on the road it’s been a struggle so it’s nice to get a few here.”
“It’s big, especially on the road,” added Ryan Kesler
, the man behind Vancouver’s first and fourth goals.
“We know we haven’t been good on the road on the power play and if we’re going to be a good road team we need that to be clicking and it was good to get a couple in the first.”
This game will be remembered as a masterful outing by the Sedins and as another impressive showing for Kesler in his breakout season, but also for an impactful hit that is sure to have the hockey world buzzing tomorrow.
With time winding down in the second period and the puck cruising into the Dallas zone, Stars netminder Marty Turco came way, I’m talking wayyyyy out of his net to play the puck along the boards near his own blueline.
Darcy Hordichuk is known for his punishing hits, but even Turco was surprised when the Great Hordini crushed him into the boards on the forecheck.
Hordichuk didn’t let up, not even for a second, as he thought outside the bun and made road kill of Turco.
The ongoing debate of whether a goalie should be hit when he is that far out of his crease was answered loud and clear by Hordichuk, much to the dismay of the Stars. For his efforts Hordichuk was given two for charging.
“If the goalie’s going to come out like that and playing the puck and if you’ve got guys like Ott running around trying to take guys out, all I’m out there to do is be physical and if I wanted to I could have taken him out,” said Hordichuk.
Canucks associate coach Rick Bowness sided with Vancouver’s tough guy on the issue at hand - as long as the hit is clean, just as Hordchuk’s was.
“We’d hate to see anyone hit Lui, but yeah, as long as it’s a clean hit and you’re not going head hunting and deliberately trying to hurt him,” said Bowness.
“Quarterbacks in football get hit and if the goalie wants to come out there and get on the boards and put himself in that position then he should be hit, as long as it’s not a cheap shot.”
This discussion will continue for many moons to come, luckily there’s no debating Vancouver’s stranglehold on a playoff spot thanks to this win.
The Canucks are now once again tied with the Chicago Blackhawks for fourth in the Western Conference, the coveted slot that would give Vancouver home ice advantage in at least the first round of the playoffs.
Game three of this six game trip will play out in St. Louis on Thursday night with the Canucks anticipating another troublesome game from the home side.