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The Goods: Hat trick powers Canucks

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 4-2 win over Atlanta.

Mason Raymond tipped in his 10th goal of the season off a Mikael Samuelsson shot early in the second period to give the Canucks a commanding three-goal lead en route to a 4-2 win over the Thrashers.

After being outscored 9-5 over the last two games, Vancouver came out flying to start an eight-game home stand and it was Daniel Sedin who opening the scoring just 3:09 in.

Daniel, who returned from injury nine games ago, continued to make up for lost time late in the opening frame as he nudged a puck just past Atlanta netminder Ondrej Pavelec to give him five goals on the year and put Vancouver up 2-1.

It took Daniel only 1:39 of the third period to polish off a natural hat trick, the third of his three-goal game of his career and the first at GM Place since Alex Burrows filled the hat in a 7-4 Canucks win over Los Angeles on March 27, 2006. The eventual game-winner didn’t deter the Thrashers as they got to Roberto Luongo once more, but Lui stood tall in the end with 22 stops.

This two points moves the Canucks to within a point of the Dallas Stars for eighth in the Western Conference and the two goals Daniel Sedin didn’t score has Safeway executives breathing a sigh of relief. A meeting is scheduled for Friday to re-think the five-goal million dollar Score and Win campaign.

The Daniel Sedin that Canucks fans know and love is back, there’s no doubt about that.

By no means did Daniel crawl his way back into the swing of things as he recorded three points in his first four games back from injury in late November, but of late he’s been off the charts.

Currently riding a season-high five-game point streak, Danny has five goals and four assists over that stretch. Not to be outdone, Henrik has collected two assists in each of his last five games, which moves him into third in NHL scoring with 38 points. The twins have combined for 19 points in five games.

As Ric Flair would say, woooo!

Shane O’Brien picked up an assist on the game’s first goal, so he was given consideration for this honour. Alex Burrows and Henrik Sedin each had two helpers and they were also in the running, but in the end none of them stood out on this night like Rick Rypien.

The owner of a fight card that already includes Hal Gill, Brandon Prust, Zack Stortini, Brad May, Cody Mcleod and Ben Eager, all from this season alone, Rypien outdid even himself when he took on 6-foot-7, 245-pound, Slovakian defenceman Boris Valabik.

Crazy? Maybe. Gutsy? Definitely.

Rypien, despite giving up eight inches and 75 pounds, held his own against Valabik; the feisty Canucks forward took a few blows early, but he fought back with five consecutive lefts and a jersey over the head to end the brawl.

No worse for wear, Rypien shrugged off the fight afterwards saying it was “no big deal.” Rypien is clearly a better fighter than he is a liar.

Vancouver’s Achilles heel this season has been second period scoring.

The Canucks came into this game with only 20 second period markers in 30 games and after building a solid base in the opening frame, that has often been the reason for letting the opposition back in the game.

Against the Thrashers scoring in the middle period proved a manageable feat as both Daniel Sedin and Mason Raymond beat Ondrej Pavelec to put this game out of reach.

The Canucks are most lethal in the third period with 40 goals, followed by the first where they’ve recorded 33.

Coach Alain Vigneault on the win, his team’s effort and surviving a frantic first period still ahead 2-1 despite taking three straight penalties.

"We were definitely looking for our team to play a complete game and a consistent game and I do think we got that tonight. Our top players played a really strong game, that’s a highly skilled team with great one-on-one skills and we did a pretty good job defensively of limiting their chances tonight and offensively I thought we generated quite a few and played a good game.

"Obviously three penalties aren’t ideal, but we were able to do a fairly decent job on them and we were still able to come out of that first period ahead 2-1. I thought in the second and the third we definitely took over and had numerous quality chances and were able to bury two more."

The Canucks continue their season-high eight-game home stand Saturday night when their Northwest Division rivals from Minnesota come to town.

Vancouver is 2-0-0 against Minnesota this season having outscored the Wild 7-3.

Saturday night's tilt can be seen on Hockey Night in Canada on CBC.

NUMBERS

3 – Goals for Daniel Sedin, this was his third career hat trick.

6 – Wins against Eastern Conferene teams (6-1-0).

7 – Wins versus teams that played the night before (7-2-0).

11– Wins for the Canucks at GM Place (11-4-0).

54 – Hats on the ice following Daniel's hat trick.

QUOTABLE
“I didn’t know what to think. I didn’t even know if I scored the second one, but it was nice."


-
Daniel Sedin (on the flying hats)

"Tonight was a step in the right direction and now we’ve got to start stringing some together. Hopefully we continue to play this way."

-Shane O'Brien (on starting a streak)

"We all know what the standings are like and how tight it is and we need some wins. We know the importance of this home stand."

-Roberto Luongo (on the standings)
OFFENCE

Alain Vigneault wanted his best players to be his best players and they were against Atlanta.

The Sedins were masterful combining for three goals and two helpers, a plus-4 rating, 11 shots and two takeaways.

Alex Burrows had two assists alongside the twins.

Vancouver outshot Atlanta 38-24.

DEFENCE

Vancouver's big D limited Atlanta's big weapons, Ilya Kovalchuk and Rich Peverley, to three helpers and five shots, which was good enough for the win.

Roberto Luongo wasn't overly tested but he made the saves he had to down the stretch. He had 22 stops overall.

SPECIAL TEAMS

The Canucks went 0-for-2 on the power play, while shutting down the Thrashers on three of their four man advantages.

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