Daniel Sedin scored twice, his 39th and 40th goals of the season, to lead the Canucks to a 2-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena in a battle of the top two teams in the Western Conference.
Just over 48 hours ago it looked as though Daniel wouldn’t even make the trip to Detroit, with his wife Marinette overdue and expected to deliver any day.
Luckily Anna, the couple’s third child, was born Monday night; the newest addition, alongside siblings Ronja and Erik, will one day join Valter and Harry, the kids of Henrik and Johanna, to form a feared Sedin starting line-up that will drive opponents crazy all over the ice.
The Sedins, Daniel and Henrik that is, focused on the offensive side of things on this night with Daniel scoring the game’s opening goal 6:31 into the second period to extend his point-streak to nine games (8-8-16), and the game-winner, on the power play, midway through the third. Henrik had the first assist on both goals as the Sedins put on a show.
The Canucks also put on a show winning their sixth straight road game to tie a franchise record with their 23rd road victory of the season and improve the team’s overall record to 48-17-9, two wins shy of the club’s first 50-win campaign. Vancouver now has 105 points to tie a franchise mark set in 2006-07.
Excited? You should be, these are exhilarating times in Vancouver with three weeks until the start of the second season, which leaves plenty of time for the Sedins to truly do something special.
Daniel inched closer to following in Henrik’s Art Ross winning footsteps by extending his lead in the NHL’s points race, he is now ahead of Henrik by seven and Steven Stamkos by nine.
Daniel also continues to make a strong case to follow in Henrik’s Hart Trophy winning footsteps. Not only does he lead with league with 95 points, his 52 points away from Rogers Arena is an NHL-high, he’s first overall in power play goals (18), power play points (38), he’s opened the scoring for Vancouver 12 times, a NHL-best, and he’s tied with Alex Ovechkin for most game-winning goals (10).
All that and a new bundle of joy back home. If anyone has Hart, it’s Daniel.
“It’s been pretty exciting,” said Daniel, the first Canucks 40-goal scorer since Markus Naslund had 48 and Todd Bertuzzi scored 46 in 2002-03.
“We’re happy, my wife and me, and the baby’s healthy, so it’s been a few good days here.”
Late in the third period Daniel had the hat trick goal on his stick when he cut in on the Detroit defence and let a low shot fly. The puck beat Jimmy Howard, but the right post was unbeatable.
Speaking of unbeatable, Roberto Luongo almost that making 39 saves, his most since beating the Chicago Blackhawks on February 4th. The win pulls Luongo into a tie with Carey Price and Jimmy Howard for most wins in the NHL with 34, he’s also third in save percentage at .926 and fourth in goals against average at 2.21.
Alain Vigneault, on the play of Daniel Sedin and Vancouver’s top line:
“He flew in last night, was able to get a morning skate in and that line had a real strong game tonight. They were going head-to-head against Zetterberg and it was a real good game on their part.”
On the Canucks focus with eight games remaining:
“Our focus right now really hasn’t changed, we’re going to shift it to the next game and try to get ready and continue to try and play the right way. We want to play hard, we feel that it’s the best way to get ready for the playoffs now that we’ve clinched a playoff spot.”
On Roberto Luongo’s 39 save performance:
“He was real solid. Our first period, obviously we were looking for our legs a little bit having only practiced once in the last three days and I thought we got better in the second and in the third both teams traded chances there for a while. Our goaltender stood his ground and made some real good saves.”
On Kevin Bieksa’s return to the line-up:
“I don’t want to say he looked tentative, but when you haven’t played for so long and you’ve only had two practices, it’s tough. I thought once the game got going, he got better and he did a good job for us.”
Vancouver's 20 shots in the second period was their most since collecting 20 in a frame against, coincidently, the Red Wings back on November 6th; with Kevin Bieksa back in action for the first time after missing 15 games, Chris Tanev was a healthy scratch; both Alex Bolduc and Victor Oreskovich, recent recalls from the Manitoba Moose, played against Detroit.