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Canucks, down 3-0, rally to beat Leafs 5-3

by John Kreiser

The hottest line in hockey made sure the Vancouver Canucks got the longest road trip in NHL history off to a successful start.

Toronto knocked out All-Star goaltender Roberto Luongo with three first-period goals, but the trio of Henrik and Daniel Sedin and Alex Burrows scored five times -- including four goals in the third period -- as the Canucks rallied for a 5-3 win over the Leafs on Saturday night in the first of a League-record 14-game road trip.

Burrows scored a shorthanded goal midway through the second period to give the Canucks a spark, then teamed with the Sedins to bury the Leafs in the third. Daniel scored at 3:27, Henrik tied the game at 5:32 -- with Burrows assisting on both goals -- and Daniel put Vancouver ahead by finishing off a perfect pass from his brother with 2:04 left in regulation.

"Our big line stood up and took control of the game," said goaltender Andrew Raycroft, who stopped all 13 shots he faced in relief of Luongo.

Burrows hit the empty net with 38 seconds left to cap the comeback and give the Canucks their seventh consecutive win. The Leafs dropped to last in the Eastern Conference with their sixth loss in a row overall -- and their sixth straight to Vancouver.

"I do believe there's a lot of character, and our guys never quit," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "We just push and work, push and work. And we got it done."

All the Leafs could do was pay respect to the NHL's Dynamic Duo and their sidekick.

"They're getting better every year," defenseman Francois Beauchemin said of the Sedin twins. "And Burrows is a big complement to their line. He's got some speed, a good shot and agitates a little bit."

The game couldn't have started better for the Leafs. Phil Kessel scored 52 seconds into the game, then beat Luongo again on the power plat at 3:52 -- both on shots from the slot after passouts by Matt Stajan. After Toronto's League-worst penalty-killing unit denied Vancouver three times, Jamal Mayers capped the period by blasting a shot from well inside the right circle past Luongo with 5 seconds left.

The Leafs went off the ice to cheers. And when the Canucks returned for the second period, Luongo was wearing a baseball cap and Raycroft, a former Leaf, was in goal.

Maybe it was the goaltending change -- but whatever the reason, Vancouver began to take control in the second period. Burrows got the Canucks on the board when he picked Alex Ponikarovsky's pocket at the Vancouver blue line and beat Vesa Toskala with a backhander on a breakaway.

Vancouver outshot Toronto 9-3 in the second, but the Leafs still led by two goals entering the third period -- and were 13-0-2 when ahead after 40 minutes.

The Canucks weren't impressed. Daniel Sedin banged home a pass from Burrows to make it 3-2, and Henrik followed up Burrows' shot by converting the rebound to tie the game with 14:28 to play. Henrik's chip pass from the left circle set up Daniel's deflection for the go-ahead goal.

"We're really patient out there," Henrik Sedin said. "We know if we don't score in the first two periods, we're going to get chances. And to have that feeling on a line, it makes a big difference -- instead of starting to force things, to cheat and do the things you're not supposed to do."

"It's fun," Daniel added. "We try to do the same things every shift, and it's really easy to play if you do that. We try to read off each other."

At the final horn, no one celebrated more that Raycroft, who was bought out by the Leafs after the 2007-08 season.

"It's nice to come back here," he told Hockey Night in Canada. "I don't play a lot, and I haven't played a lot in a long time. To have some of that hard work pay off and contribute is fun."

Material from wire services and broadcast media was used in this report

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