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The Goods: Canucks bite back

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks

You want to know what happened in the Canucks game and you want to know now. We get it. Here’s the bare bones recap of Vancouver’s 3-2 win over San Jose.

IT WAS OVER WHEN...

…the clock ran out at GM Place preventing a strong San Jose attack from scoring the equalizer in a 3-2 Vancouver win.

Trailing 3-1 late in the third, the Sharks scored with 3:08 to play to cut the Canucks lead to a single goal. Roberto Luongo made 11 saves in the period to keep the Canucks ahead and allow them to inch within five points of the Western Conference leading Sharks.

In a measuring stick game for both clubs, the Canucks were first to the scoreboard with a pair of power play scores in the opening 20 minutes. Alex Edler and Ryan Kesler each had two points on goals scored 4:17 apart midway through the period.

San Jose snapped back four minutes into the second and continued to apply pressure in the Vancouver end, but it was the Canucks restoring their two-goal lead off Ryan Johnson’s first goal of the season.

The Canucks were comfortably in front for 13 minutes of the third frame until a Kesler penalty gave the Sharks life as they dominated play late.

Luongo made 32 saves in his first action since being pulled against the New York Islanders Tuesday.

The win, Vancouver’s 44th of the season, moves the Canucks five points up on the idle Colorado Avalanche for first in the Northwest Division.

CLUTCH CANUCK

Multi-point games are the norm for Ryan Kesler, so although he was even with Alex Edler with a goal and an assist against the Sharks, the Clutch nod goes to Edler.

Four games after setting a new career-high in assists, Edler added to his total with his 30th helper of the year, that’s three better than his former personal best of 27 from last season.

Edler’s career mark for goals is 10 and despite scoring against San Jose, the blueliner is still nowhere near that mark. His first period goal, a power play slap shot that mystifyingly made its way through a weed of players, upped his total to four on the year.

This was Edler’s third two-point game and fifth with at least a pair; the Canucks are 5-0 when the Swedish defenceman provides his Midas touch offensively.

UNSUNG HERO

Like that fly keeping you awake at night, Ryan Johnson has been buzzing for a while now and it was simply a matter of time before stick hitting puck hitting mesh became a reality.

Johnson scored his biggest goal of the year when he played give and go with Rick Rypien in tight on the San Jose net before backhanding a puck past Evgeni Nabokov with 3:12 to play in the second period; it would have been his biggest goal of the season even without it being his first tally of the year as it counted as the game-winner.

Johnson went 82 games between scoring regular season goals, his last came on January 28, 2009 against the Nashville Predators. The 10-year NHL veteran now has four game-winners to his credit in 659 contests.

STAT OF THE NIGHT

After Vancouver controlled the opening period, San Jose’s attack came in waves over the final two. A combination of 26 stops from Roberto Luongo and 16 blocked shots kept the Sharks from scoring the tying goal; what also did damage was the Canucks getting into shooting lanes and cutting down angles.

San Jose had 24 missed shots compared to just nine for the Vancouver as the home side, which has won eight of nine at GM Place, got in the way of pucks whenever possible.

Although there are no stats differentiating which shots were forced wide compared to ones that missed the target, it’s a safe bet that Ryan Johnson and Ryan Kesler were responsible for a good number of failed attempts.

FROM THE DRESSING ROOM

Ryan Johnson on his first goal in 83 games and the importance of this win after a rough loss to the New York Islanders Tuesday:

”I don’t care if it’s the sixth goal in a 5-1 game, to me to score in a game like that that meant a lot to our team against a very good hockey team is nice.

”After a disappointing effort against the Islanders, we knew this was a big game for us to try and get back to the basics. We did a lot of things not very well in that game and tonight we re-established and got back to the identity of the team we are that goes on the attack and makes a lot of teams play in their own zone for periods of time and we’re pretty confident that creatively we’ll take over and get our opportunities.”

NEXT UP

Friday the Canucks will practice at GM Place in preparation for their fifth and final game of a five-game homestand against the Detroit Red Wings.

Vancouver is 1-2-0 versus Detroit this season having been outshot 102-91, although goals are even at 11-11.

The Canucks and Red Wings last met on March 3 with Vancouver trampling Detroit by a score of 6-3.

NUMB3RS

1 – Goal for Ryan Johnson, his first of the season.

2 – Points each for Ryan Kesler and Alex Edler (1-1-2).

7 – Wins for the Canucks this season when appearing on TSN (7-1-1).

8 – Wins for the Canucks in their last nine contests at GM Place.

8 – Wins for the Canucks against teams from the Pacific Division (8-4-2).

QUOTABLE

“It was a good test for us, they’re at the top of their conference and they’re a very good team."


-Roberto Luongo (on the win)

“It’s easy to get up for games when you’ve got that big of a challenge in front of you. Thornton, Heatley and Marleau are one of the best lines."

-Ryan Kesler (on San Jose's top guns)

“In the first period our power play gave us momentum and allowed us to take a two goal lead and we played a pretty solid period."

-Alain Vigneault (on the great start)

OFFENCE
Lots early, little late. The Canucks stampeded onto the ice to start the game getting to Evgeni Nabokov early and often, but the offence dimmed down the stretch.

Contributions from Alex Edler, Ryan Johnson, Rick Rypien and Shane O'Brien made Vancouver's eigth home win in nine tries possible.

Vancouver was outshot San Jose 34-26.

DEFENCE

Credit owing to Ryan Kesler, the player most responsible for San Jose's best skaters being held off the scoresheet.

Roberto Luongo also played a part in the blanking with five stops on Marleau, Heatley and Thornton.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Vancouver 2-for-3 with six shots; San Jose finished 0-for-2 with five shots.

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