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The Goods: Christmas comes early in Columbus

by Janelle Kidd / Vancouver Canucks

The Canucks gifted Vancouver fans with an early Christmas present, a 7-3 win over the Blue Jackets.

Dominating from the opening puck drop, the Canucks continued the high tempo play from last night, frustrating the Blue Jackets at every turn Thursday night at Nationwide Arena.

Raffi Torres registered two goals against his former club and the top line was unstoppable. The Sedins and Alex Burrows combined for a mind-numbing ten points. Merry Christmas indeed.

Burrows opened scoring at 9:08 in the first period, capitalizing on Henrik and Daniel's legwork, driving to the net and making no mistake as he buried the puck for his seventh of the season.

The rest of the first period continued in a similar suit, Christian Ehrhoff and Torres both solved Mathieu Garon – who was replaced by Steve Mason in the second – to give the Canucks a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes.

Playing in their second of back-to-back games the Canucks stepped onto the ice with energy and purpose. Last night's hard fought overtime loss still fresh in their minds.

"We were in game mode," said Burrows. "Last night's game was high speed and a good pace and we followed up right off the bat. I thought for our line we had a few good shifts right off the get go and we felt good about our game. And next thing you know we had a couple points, so it's good to see.

"Having a good start and getting a three goal lead, especially in back to back nights, that's huge."

The Sedins were just getting warmed up in the first, saving plenty of classic, highlight reel, tic-tac-toe plays for the rest of the game. Four minutes into the middle frame, Daniel netted his 18th, from Alexander Edler and Henrik.

Continuing full speed ahead, Ryan Kesler converted a 2-on-1 for his 17th of the season, adding to his point streak that now features five goals and five assists over six games.

Henrik, who matched his career-high with four points, a goal and three assists, padded Vancouver's 6-0 lead, before R.J. Umberger finally beat Cory Schneider. The Canucks netminder, who wasn't tested early facing only five shots in the first, stood tall in his sixth start of the season turning away 24 shots and improving his record to 4-0-2 in the process.

Heading into the final period, the Canucks were up by five, having scored six even strength goals and prepared to fend off the surging Blue Jackets as they tried to mount a comeback.

It was a full 60 minutes of smart hockey and grit from the Canucks, who showed no signs of fatigue after yesterday's blazing battle in Detroit.

Torres secured the only powerplay goal of the game at 6:46 of the third, assisted by Dan Hamhuis and Mikael Samuelsson. The marker pushed Torres' goal total into double digits.

The Blue Jackets coming off a 3-1 win over Calgary, have struggle as of late registering only three wins in their last 13. They weren't willing to go down without a fight, however, rallying for 16 shots – five more than they mustered in the first two periods – and two goals in the third.

The Canucks refused to relent and Columbus couldn't recover from the offensive onslaught that was the first 40 minutes. They never got within four.

"Coming into tonight we knew we wanted to bounce back and I thought we were good today," said Torres. "Just simple, simple hockey. Obviously the twins took over for a while there. When you've got those guys going and Schneids making some big saves it's fun to watch."

Sailing to a 7-3 victory, the Canucks have won ten of their last 13, and head home with five of six points from the trip out East in hand, a greatly appreciated Christmas gift for Vancouver fans.


D-man Andrew Alberts found himself back in the action after sitting out for two, logging over 20 minutes of ice time and contributing an assist and two hits; the Canucks will enjoy a well deserved two-day break for the holidays before returning to the ice on December 26, facing off against the Oilers at Rogers Arena.

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