Ryan Kesler recorded his second career hat trick and Daniel and Henrik Sedin combined for six points as the Canucks thumped the Oilers 6-1 for their eighth straight win and sixth consecutive victory on home ice Friday night at Rogers Arena.
After a scoreless first period, Daniel Sedin and Kesler scored goals 1:34 apart to start the second to take a 2-0 Canucks lead before Daniel and Ales Hemsky traded scores to end the period with Vancouver in front 3-1.
In the third it was all Canucks as Kesler scored twice to cap his second three-goal performance of the season and Alex Edler put the icing on the cake with his 4th goal as Vancouver improved to 4-0-0 against Edmonton this season in the first game between Northwest Division rivals decided by more than a goal this year.
“We played well tonight, right from puck drop we were pretty good,” said Kesler. "We established most of the play tonight and Cory played an excellent game for us.”
Cory Schneider stopped 23 shots in his fifth start in eight games for his eighth win of the season. The goaltender remains undefeated in regulation through 12 starts with a record of 8-0-2, but not surprisingly, while Kesler credited Schneider with a solid game, it was the offensive firepower that Schneider was gushing about.
”I’ve got to be leading the league in goal support, it seems like every time I play we get four, five or six goals and that’s been a big part of my record,” smiled Scheider. “At the same time it’s on me too to make some early saves and keep it scoreless and keep us in the game so we have the opportunity to open it up.”
Vancouver’s two leading goal scorers cracked this game open and early on it looked like Daniel, who now has 24 goals, would be the one collecting hats for a trick. Instead Kesler, who sits at 23 goals, stole the show as the forwards continue to push one-another.
“It’s good competition, he’s obviously a pure goal scorer so there’s no way I’ll be able to keep up with him,” laughed Kesler.
Responded Daniel, who picked up career assist #600 on the night: “I’m scoring all of my goals within six feet and he can score a lot from the blueline, so he’s got a great shot and he showed it last year and this year too.”
This competition is a win-win for the Canucks, who continue to win and are now 13-0-2 over their last 15 games to remain in first place in the NHL with the Detroit Red Wings two points back and in town Saturday night.
“It’s going to be a good game,” said Kesler. “Two really good teams and like we said before, these are games that you mark on your calendar and they’ve always been a good team and we’re going to matchup as best we can against them.”
Alex Burrows has come a long way from the Greenville Grrrowl and Baton Rouge Kingfish of the East Coast Hockey League.
Burrows, overlooked during the NHL draft despite an extraordinary final season of junior with the QMJHL’s Shawinigan Cataractes, played his 400th NHL game Friday night against the Edmonton Oilers.
He also played it against all odds.
“I never imagined I’d play 400 games,” said Burrows, following a one-assist, plus-2 outing. “Guys reminded me of that before the game, but it’s all good, it’s fun. I never really thought as a kid or when I was in the East Coast that one day I’d play 400 games and it’s 400 and counting now.”
Currently in his sixth season with the Canucks, Burrows is a mainstay on Vancouver’s top line alongside Daniel and Henrik Sedin. That’s a far stretch from the scrappy kid who was called up to by the Canucks during the 2005-06 season with Vancouver plagued by injury.
He knew that if given the chance to shine, he’d never look back. Burrows’ 93 goals, 99 assists and 192 career points proves that and he credits the NHL lockout with helping him get where he is.
“When you’re a fan like I was as a kid and as a teenager, you seen NHLers that are big stars and you think they are super, super, super good players and once I was able to get a few training camps in and starting playing with a few guys from the NHL during the lockout year, I started believing that I was able to make the jump.”
I can’t confirm it, but it sounds like Journey was singing about Burrows.
Ales Hemsky’s goal late in the second period was scored with three-tenths-of-a-second remaining, but with the players already in the dressing room for the intermission, the remaining time was played at the start of the third. The teams then switched ends and began the third period; Aaron Volpatti returned to the line-up on the fourth line in place of Alex Bolduc; Vancouver earned 34 of a possible 40 points over its last 20 games, the best 20-game stretch in team history.