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Yes they can

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks
In his first trip to Canada since becoming U.S. President a month ago, Barack Obama visited Ottawa on Thursday to meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

The pair had lunch together and discussed many things, which included the economic crisis and making climate change a priority in North America.

It’s unclear whether the Vancouver Canucks were brought up in talks between Obama and Harper, but with how hot this team is right now, there’s no question they’re not doing global warming any good.

The political pair weren’t in attendance as the Canucks continued their four-game all-Canadian road trip in Ottawa, which is too bad because this was a Vancouver win worthy of presidential attention.

The Canucks laid the smack down on the Senators 5-2, led by a tyrannizing effort from Daniel and Henrik Sedin and Alex Burrows.

Henrik to Burrows, Burrows to Daniel to Henrik, Hank to Burrows to Danny – this trio was in on a trio of goals and combined for nine points (3-6-9) in pacing to the Canucks to their seventh win in eight games.

On this night, looking to jump all over a tried Ottawa group that was returning home from a five-game jaunt, Vancouver scored early and often as a result of some spectacular play from the top line.

Just 3:14 into the first, Filip Kuba auditioned for The Weakest Link with a clearing attempt that found the tape of Henrik Sedin inside the Ottawa zone.

From the right boards he hit Burrows, who was surging down the middle, and with Daniel providing a leaping screen, Burr ripped it past netminder Brian Elliott.

Less than seven minutes later they were at it again, this time Burrows was the catalyst as he intercepted the puck along the boards and hit Daniel down main street and he did what only he can do.

Taking the pass five feet inside the Ottawa blueline, Daniel undressed Chris Kelly before getting Anton Volchenkov to bite and dive to block his shot, which ended up being a telepathic pass to Henrik at the side of the goal allowing him to score his 12th of the season.

“That was a sick pass,” said a dumbfounded Henrik. “First he dangled the defenceman, then he made a real nice pass to me to put it in there.”

Kevin Bieksa, who now has 11 points in 12 games, scored before the opening period was through; guess who picked up an assist on that one, yep, Henrik.

Not done there, the Canucks outplayed the Senators to start the second frame and it led to another primo goal, this one going to Daniel Sedin.

A 4-0 lead made this game a whitewash in Vancouver’s favour and even though Ottawa scored twice before Pavol Demitra added the exclamation point with an empty net goal, this tilt was never in doubt thanks to the Sedins and Burrows.

“Burr is so good on the forecheck, he retrieves pucks and gets them to me and Hank, he’s a good passer to so it’s fun to play with him,” raved Daniel, who now has 58 points (25-33-58) this season.

“He’s a guy that we like to play with, he moves the puck well and he’s a big part of our cycle game and he can make plays,” added Henrik, the game’s first star with a goal and three helpers.

The phenomenal play of Vancouver’s top line, paired with the success the RPM line has had, despite cooling down a little on this night, has led to an up, up and away attitude for the Canucks.

Their confidence is especially evident on offence having scored 35 goals in stringing together a 7-1 record in February, that’s an average of 4.37 goals per contest and the Canucks are now 19-2-2 this season when scoring four goals or more in a game.

“I think we’re confident with the puck,” said Daniel, “offensively we know we can score three or four or fives goals every game and that makes a huge difference from before when we were winning games 3-2 and 2-1, now we can be up 4-1 going into the third and that’s a nice feeling.”

“We’ve got a great feeling in the locker room right now and we’ve got a lot of lines scoring,” said Henrik.

“It seems like different lines are scoring every night, so it’s a lot of fun and Louie’s back playing the way we know he can.”

Roberto Luongo made 25 saves for his seventh consecutive win; he wasn’t perfect but he made a pair of key saves on Dany Heatley with the score 4-2 for the Canucks and the Senators looking pull within one in the third.

Fresh off returning from injury Luongo wouldn’t have made those saves and he admitted that the game is back to flowing for him and his body feels good.

“Since the Phoenix game I’ve been feeling pretty much like myself, so I’m feeling good and the most important thing is that we’re getting the two points,” said Luongo, now sporting an 18-7-5-5 record this season.

“Early on I wasn’t feeling like that but we were still winning and that’s a good sign, now I feel like my game’s coming along and I’m helping my teammates and we’re producing offensively and we’re playing well defensively.”

Chalk another win up for the Canucks, they remain in fifth place in the West with 66 points, five better than the ninth place Dallas Stars. A Saturday stop in Toronto, Mats Sundin’s old stomping ground, is next up on the schedule for Vancouver.

“It’s going to be real excited and hopefully they treat him well there, he’s the best player to ever wear a Maple Leafs jersey so it should be fun for him and for us,” said Henrik.

– Combined points for the Sedins and Burrows (3-6-9)

16 – Wins for the Canucks this season when a defenceman scores (16-5-2); Bieksa scored in the first period

+16 – Combined rating for the Canucks; Burrows and Mitchell led the way at plus-3 each

19-2-2 Vancouver's record when scoring four or more goals in a game

25 – Saves for Roberto Luongo, who won his seventh straight start

Secondary scoring? Who needs it. When Vancouver's top line steps up and takes charge like it did on this night, anything is possible.

The Sedins and Burrows work wonders together on offence; remind me again why it took so long to get this trio together?

Kevin Bieksa continues his scorching play, he now has 11 points in his last 12 games.

Vancouver was outshot by Ottawa 27-24.

Another solid outing on defence for the Canucks led by Willie Mitchell and Alex Edler, who were each over 23 minutes of ice time.

The Senators were red hot coming into this game scoring timely goals, but the Canucks took the man and not the puck an elementary move that led to few Ottawa scoring chances.

When the Sens did get in on goal, Roberto Luongo was there as he made 25 saves for his seventh straight win.


Ottawa played a disciplined game so Vancouver was only afforded two power play chances, and they converted on one. 

Bieksa's goal on the PP ended up as the game-winner.

The Canucks marched to the box five times, albeit only once or twice deservingly. The refs were out to get them, good thing Vancouver's penalty kill stepped up to the plate.

The only blemish was the lone special teams goal the Senators got, but it came after Mike Fisher knocked Mattias Ohlund into Luongo, then tipped a point shot into the empty net. Seems fair...
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