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The Goods: Everybody Loves Raymond

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 3-1 win over Los Angeles.

…the Canucks recaptured their two goal lead with 5:12 remaining in the third period off a Mason Raymond goal that had him swoop to the net down the left side and put a soft shot in between the legs of Jonathan Quick for his career-high 12th goal and a 3-1 Vancouver lead.

Vancouver’s third straight home win to open an eight-game stand at GM Place began much the same way the previous two victories did, with an early Canucks goal.

Ryan Kesler played garbage man as he cleaned up a loose puck just outside the Kings crease just 1:04 into the first period; the score was his third in four games after being snake bitten without swaying the manila for 14-straight.

The Vancouver lead jumped to 2-0 thanks to a Sami Salo wrist shot on the power play late in the first. Los Angeles answered back before the end of the opening period, but that’s as close as the Kings, who had won seven of eight games since losing to the Canucks on November 26, would come.

Daniel and Henrik Sedin both picked up assists on the Salo goal to extend their point streaks to seven games apiece.

From Unsung Hero to Clutch Canuck in one game, Mason Raymond is playing some of the best hockey of his young career.

Raymond, Vancouver’s second round pick from the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, has struggled with consistency over the past three seasons, but it finally appears as though the 24-year-old has found a role he’s comfortable with.

Benefiting from quality linemates and time on the power play, Raymond has three goals and two assists over his last three games after going five without a sniff at the scoresheet prior to that.

Raymond is best when using his speed to produce scoring chances and draw penalties, exactly what he did against the Kings.

Shane O’Brien, the point machine?

It doesn’t quite have a ring to it yet, but if O’Brien keeps contributing offensively like he has of late, he might deserve such a billing.

O’Brien assisted on the third Vancouver goal for his second helper over the last three games giving him two points on the year. The Canucks defenceman was a plus-2 on this night and is plus-6 in his last six outings, which does wonders for his confidence and the coaching staff’s confidence in him.

”It’s nice to hear my name when it doesn’t say 'Vancouver Canucks penalty by' because that’s how I usually hear it,” laughed O’Brien after the game when asked about his almost point streak.

Only the San Jose Sharks had scored more goals than Los Angeles coming into this game, so Vancouver’s ability to hold the highflying Kings to a single goal for the third straight contest, all Canucks wins, is mighty impressive.

Roberto Luongo recorded 24 saves in the win, including a Dustin Brown shot that had eyes for the top corner with 14 minutes remaining in the third period.

The win improves Luongo’s record to 15-10-0 this season. He currently sports the 13th best save percentage in the NHL at .917 and is 11th in goals against with an average of 2.39.

Sami Salo, whose second goal of the season stood as the game-winner, on Vancouver’s three-game winning streak and the success of the power play lately, which finished 1-for-5 against Los Angeles:

”I’m happy that we won three in a row, but we can’t be too happy yet, we’re still out of the playoffs and there are teams behind us trying to catch us, so we just have to forget about tonight and start thinking about the next game.

”In the last four games I think we’ve played pretty good on the power play, we’ve created some chances and scored a few goals now so it’s looking a little bit better now than it was a few games ago.”

The Canucks will practice Tuesday in preparation for the arrival of the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday.

This will be the second meeting between Vancouver and Anaheim with the Ducks landing a decisive blow, seven in fact, in a 7-2 win over the Canucks on October 30.

Bobby Ryan and Corey Perry each had a goal and two assists in that outing.

NUMB3RS

1– Assist for Shane O'Brien, giving him two in his last three games.

2
– Points for the Sedins, who each extended their point streak to seven games.

3 – Consecutive wins for the Canucks.

3 – Straight wins for Vancouver over Los Angeles.

24 – Saves for Roberto Luongo in his 15th win of the season.

QUOTABLE
“It was another close one all the way to the end there against a pretty good hockey team and we did a pretty good job of shutting them down."

-
Ryan Kesler (on Vancouver's play)

"We’ve got to get wins, that’s the bottom line. We’re still out of the playoffs and every guy know that so we’re going to keep playing hard."

-Daniel Sedin (on the winning streak)

"Three in a row is in the right direction, but the next game is the biggest game of the year."

-Shane O'Brien (on the winning streak)


"They got off to a really good start and they used their speed and were real smart with the puck and got us some key goals at the right times."

-Alain Vigneault (on the Kesler line)
OFFENCE

The Canucks improve to 14-6-0 when scoring first, 13-3-0 when leading after the first and 14-1-0 when leading through two periods.

Mason Raymond, Ryan Kesler and Mikael Samuelsson combined for five points, a plus-6 record and 16 shots on goal.

Vancouver outshot Los Angeles 28-25.

DEFENCE

Holding the high-scoring Kings (107 goals in 35 games) to one goal for the third straight contest is best explained in that the Canucks simply eliminated scoring chances.

The defence held Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown, LA's leading scorers, to five shots and one assist.

SPECIAL TEAMS

For the second straight game the Canucks scored a power play goal (1-for-5), while shutting down their opposition (0-for-5).

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