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Canucks get first win by routing Canadiens 7-1 @NHLdotcom
After opening with three straight losses, a visit from the road-weary Montreal Canadiens was just what the Vancouver Canucks needed.

Henrik Sedin scored twice in the second period and added two assists as the Canucks routed the Montreal Canadiens 7-1 on Wednesday night at General Motors Place for their first victory of the new season.

Roberto Luongo made 27 saves, 15 in the second period, in his first sharp performance of the season. He was lifted in the second period of Monday's 5-3 loss to Columbus after allowing four goals on only 12 shots and had surrendered 11 goals in Vancouver's three losses.

"He made some good saves when he had to," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "He kept us in there in the second period."

It was a tough night for Montreal goaltender Carey Price, a British Columbia native who was playing in his home province for the first time in his NHL career -- he was bypassed last season when the Canadiens came to town. Price was left defenseless for most of the night and spent the last 8:02 of the game on the bench after being lifted following the Canucks' seventh goal.

"I battled as hard as I could," he said. "Sometimes they find the back of the net. Things didn't go the way we wanted to.

"It was pretty disappointing not to be able to play (last year). This was even more disappointing."

The Canucks beat Montreal for the eighth consecutive time at G.M. Place and are 11-1-1 overall in their last 13 meetings.

The offensive barrage was a relief for a team that had had plenty of chances but not enough goals in its first three games.

"It seems easy when the pucks go in," Henrik Sedin said, "but we played like this for the first three games."

Montreal, which won its first two games in overtime, lost for the second night in a row. The Canadiens finish a season-opening five-game trip in Edmonton on Saturday before finally playing their home opener next Thursday against Colorado.

The Habs, 4-3 losers in Calgary on Tuesday, came out looking like a team that had played the previous night -- while the Canucks looked like one that had no intention of seeing its season-opening losing streak reach four games.

"We continue to work on the process," Vigneault said, "and it's going to get better."

Speed led to the Canucks' first two goals, scored in a span of 2:51.

Ryan Kesler opened the scoring at 13:50 when he split the defense, raced in alone on Price and deked twice before scoring on a backhander.

Mason Raymond made it 2-0 with a tremendous individual effort. He broke out of his own zone, bounced a past to himself off the left boards, picked up the puck behind the defense and broke in alone before beating Price.

"We were able to jump on a couple of their mistakes," Vigneault said.

With the Canadiens reeling, Steve Bernier finished off a behind-the-back pass by Daniel Sedin for a power-play goal at 18:34, capping a period in which the Canucks outshot the Canadiens 14-4.

"We didn't win any battles for loose pucks," Montreal coach Jacques Martin said. "We were outworked and outdetermined. Their better players were their best players tonight."

The Canadiens found their skating legs in the second period, getting the first 14 shots and scoring a power-play goal at 3:08.

With Kevin Bieksa in the box for holding, the Canadiens forced Luongo to make several fine saves. But after robbing Mike Cammalleri with his glove, the All-Star goaltender was beaten through the legs on a bad-angled shot from the right circle by Andrei Kostitsyn.

The Canadiens kept bombing away but were unable to beat Luongo again before a tripping call against Tomas Plekanec at 11:47 stopped Montreal's momentum and let the Canucks regain control.

Just 12 seconds after Plekanec's penalty, Henrik Sedin made it 4-1 with a gift goal -- brother Daniel's slap shot from the left circle hit Canadiens' defenseman Paul Mara in the backside and landed right on Henrik's stick, leaving Price helpless to stop his backhander.

"When you get up a few goals, you don't want to let them back in the game," Luongo said. "We were able to answer back on the power play"

Henrik scored again at 15:36 when the Canadiens botched a line change after Travis Moen failed to get the puck in deep. Sedin and Bernier went in on a 2-on-0 break, with Sedin carrying down the right side and making a spectacular move on Price before lifting a high backhander under the crossbar.

The Canucks got a third power-play goal at 11:39 of the third period when Christian Ehrhoff's shot hit Mara's foot and dropped onto the stick of Mikael Samuelsson, who knocked it into the half-empty net.

With the Canadiens in complete disarray, Alex Burrows made it 7-1 at 11:58, swatting home a loose puck from the slot after Montreal was unable to clear the zone. Montreal coach Jacques Martin lifted Price after that and replaced him with Jaroslav Halak.

-- John Kreiser,
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