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Star studded win

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks
The Vancouver Canucks haven't played too many games this season where the player of the game wasn't outwardly evident.

Alex Burrows got the nod as first star in Vancouver's 6-0 win to open the season, Pavol Demitra got it as the Canucks nipped the Flames 5-4 in overtime, Burrows earned the honour again for his overtime winner in a 4-3 victory over Detroit and Mason Raymond's two goal outburst last Saturday made him the top dog in a 6-3 win over Edmonton.

Roberto Luongo was deemed worthy of the first star in Vancouver's 4-0 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night, and rightfully so.

Bobby Lu backstopped his team to an impressive road win, one that had him stop all 28 shots that flickered his way, which included a momentum grabbing penalty shot in the first period, en route to recording his 40th career.

"He was tremendous, huge save on the penalty shot, just so many great saves throughout the night," raved Taylor Pyatt after the game.

Luongo was sharp, there's no debating that, you could question him as the number one star of the game though.

The Canucks dominated the Kings in every which way and as such, a first star case could be made for the skaters that made it happen, namely Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, Mason Raymond, heck even Pyatt as he scored his first goal of the season in the third period.

Louie was good but the team in front of him was great versus Los Angeles; just as the Canucks had planned, the crowning of the Kings started early in the first and didn't stop until the team surrounded Luongo in celebration at the end of the game.

It was a power play goal that subdued the normally raucous Hollywood crowd just five minutes in, Daniel Sedin got the monkey off his back with his first goal in seven games to put the visitors up 1-0.

Thirteen minutes later it was Raymond, who was playing alongside the Sedins on the night, who doubled Vancouver's lead with a goal that had even the LA faithful cheering.

Raymond's seventh point in as many games and fourth goal of the season came with him on the left wing skating like he was mad at the ice. He faked a shot at the left face-off circle and blazed around a Kings defender before delivering the puck through an itty-bitty mail slot between goaltender Jason LaBarbera left shoulder and the crossbar.

Raymond's showtime had the Canucks up by a pair and their confidence only grew from there.

"That was huge for us, obviously we wanted to get out to a great start in this building, it's something we've been working on all year and Danny and Hanky got it started early in the game there," said Raymond after the first.

Kyle Wellwood notched a power play marker before the second period let out and Pyatt beat LaBarbera six minutes into the third as Vancouver made quick work of their offensive chances on the night.

The Canucks finished the game 2-for-6 on the power play and 6-for-6 on the penalty kill as their special teams play came together on the road nicely, all-in-all it was simply a dominating road win by Vancouver.

"Our special teams were pretty good," said Raymond. "In this league that's what you've got to have, special teams going at all times and it's so far so good for us."

It's an understatement to say that the road hasn't been the kindest of beasts to Vancouver this season and coming off a rough 1-0 shutout to Boston on Tuesday night, the effort the Canucks put forth against the Kings looks even better.

Then again, their ability to rebound from adversity with clutch performances has been going on for a while. Last season the Canucks were shutout four times, in the ensuing games after being held off the scoresheet, Vancouver had a record of 4-0-0 while averaging five goals per game.

Vancouver's offence was almost clicking to that tune against Los Angeles and it could very well continue to do so if the Sedins and Raymond can find common ground. All three players combined for five points on the night, although the trio didn't hook up for any goals. They certainly made a great first impression, as Raymond likes to say, so far so good.

"It's a little different, obviously you've got to adapt to it," Raymond said of playing with the twins. "I'm just trying to stay confident and do what I do best and it's early so we'll sort it out yet."

Steve Bernier didn't look out of place on the second line, although he was the only player from the line who didn't record a point. He worked hard in trying to help Pyatt find the back of the net and the pair will hook up in the games to come if they continue feed off each other, but on this night a Willie Mitchell blast was all it took for Pyatt to tip home his first of the campaign.

"I was pretty stressed out about it for the first part of the season, it's always tough to get a big stretch of games to start without scoring," said Pyatt, who had opened the season on a nine-game goalless streak. "That's definitely a lot of pressure off my shoulders and hopefully I can go out and build off of it."

The fact that so many Vancouver skaters showed up against Los Angeles makes it easy to understand why Luongo's first star selection could be debated.

It won't be though, the Canucks will give him as many stars as he wants to keep him on his game, especially with a contest against the Anaheim Ducks on tap for Friday.

"They're always real physical games against them so we've got to prepare to play disiciplned and play smart, we can't afford to take as many penalties as we did tonight," said Pyatt. "We'll just go in there and hopefully build off the win we had tonight."

Power play goals allowed by the Canucks on six opportunities for the Kings

1 First goal of the season for forward Taylor Pyatt, he scored in the third

4 – Wins this season for the Canucks when they don't allow a power play goal

– Saves for Roberto Luongo in his 40th career shutout

151 – All-time wins for the Canucks when Daniel and Henrik both record at least one point in the same game.

  Turns out a little juggling of the top two lines by Alain Vigneault was a great idea. Mason Raymond looked good alongside the Sedins, the trio didn't come together for any goals, but individually they all found success.

Two goals from the second line was also a positive, Kyle Wellwood and Taylor Pyatt both bulged the twine.

The Canucks only recorded 18 shots to the Kings' 28, but they made it count on the ones they did get on net.

One goal against in two games means that something is going right on the backend. Vancouver's defenders didn't allow the Los Angeles skaters to get any easy shots on net, they took away the shooting lanes and blocked 12 shots. That, and they chipped in offensively with four assists.

Oh, did I mention Luongo was as impenetrable as ever?

Vancouver is dangerous and tough to beat when their special teams are clicking. 

The Canucks were 2-for-6 on the power play and could have easily been 4-for-6, while they stymied the Kings' PP shutting them down on all 6 of their chances.

What was a black eye for Vancouver to start the season, special teams play is becoming one of their strengths and the winning will continue if the special teams success does.
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