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 4-1 win over Anaheim.
…Ryan Kesler added a final pinch of scoring with an empty net goal late in the third as the Canucks cooked the Anaheim Ducks 4-1 Wednesday.
With both teams playing in the second of back-to-back games coming off loses in Alberta Tuesday, the first goal was highly coveted and it went to the Canucks. Christian Ehrhoff ripped a point shot past Jonas Hiller on the power play midway through the opening period to give Vancouver a 1-0 lead.
Daniel Sedin put the home side up by a pair with a goal that shouldn’t have been a goal and ended up counting as the game-winning goal.
With 3:12 to play in the first, Daniel entered the Ducks zone and saucered a backhand shot on goal simply hoping to hit something. What he hit was the back of the net.
Daniel’s shot beat a screened Hiller with Alex Burrows taking up real estate in front.
The Canucks took a 3-0 lead when Burrows was once again in the right spot, this time he converted a backhand pass from Henrik for an easy score.
Saku Koivu tried to rally the Ducks as he beat Andrew Raycroft five-hole 8:04 into the third, but superb goaltending and the Kesler goal insured the Canucks their 45th win of the season.
Vancouver remains five points ahead of Colorado for top spot in the Northwest and moves to within four of San Jose for second in the Western Conference.
If Henrik Sedin had a nickel for every time I’ve dubbed him Clutch Canuck since the Olympic break, he could make call from a payphone.
Henrik and Daniel were mesmerizing against Anaheim as they combined for a goal and five helpers alongside a plus-4 rating.
Hank had three points, all helpers, to move him to 99 points on the season. The only Canucks to top 100 in franchise history are Markus Naslund, Alex Mogilny and Pavel Bure, with Naslund’s 104 in 2002-03 the most recent.
The tri-point game also moved Henrik one point past Alex Ovechkin for first in the NHL and six clear of Joe Thornton for most assists at 71.
Whether Alain Vigneault was simply giving Roberto Luongo a rest or sending the all-star netminder a message, starting backup Andrew Raycroft paid off.
Rayzor stopped 30 shots in the first start at GM Place by anyone other than Luongo since January 11, 2008. His busiest period was the first when he turned aside 14 shots, yet most of the nine he faced in the third came with the Ducks trying to comeback on the comeback kings.
There’s no goalie controversy brewing in Vancouver, but Raycroft did more than fill in for Luongo, he made some impressive stops. The best of the batch was a falling glove snag on Matt Beleskey early in the third that elicited thunderous chants of RAYCROFT, RAYCROFT, RAYCROFT from the sellout crowd.
There are a few stats pertaining to the Canucks this season that baffle the mind. One is the league-leading 10-18-2 record when trailing after 40 minutes, another has to be Vancouver’s 9-3-1 record in the second of back-to-back games.
Overall the Canucks are 20-5-1 this season when playing on consecutive nights, a record that indicates the team is able to get up for games regardless of what lies ahead or if they played the night before.
Vancouver has only one back-to-back series remaining this year, a two-game jaunt to California to face Los Angeles and Anaheim next Thursday and Friday.
Andrew Raycroft of getting his first home start and the loud ovation he got in the third period:
"It’s obviously really nice to get one, but I wasn’t losing sleep. You show up and work hard and be a good teammate. Lu gives us a great chance to win every night, he’s not a bad guy to watch every night.
"It was pretty cool. I had to kind of compose myself, I think that’s why that goal went in, I was still a little rattled by it. That was pretty cool, it was greatly appreciated.”
Thursday is an off-day for the Canucks, they’ll return to action Friday when the team resumes practice ahead of a Saturday road tilt against the San Jose Sharks.
If Vancouver hopes to catch San Jose, and possibly Chicago, atop the Western Conference, a win against the Sharks is a must with only seven games remaining afterward prior to the start of playoffs.
The Canucks and Sharks are even at 1-1 through two games this season.