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Canucks rout Blue Jackets to end slump

by Kevin Woodley

VANCOUVER - For Daniel Sedin, going six games without a point for the first time in almost 10 years was hard because the Vancouver Canucks desperately needed his offense. Playing one period without twin brother Henrik was a lot easier.

In fact, Daniel thinks it helped him bump the slump.

After starting the game on separate lines, Daniel and Henrik were back together for two of their three goals and four of five points, sparking a badly needed offensive outburst as the Canucks snapped a five-game losing streak by beating the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-2 Friday night.

"Six games feels like forever," Daniel said of snapping his longest skid since December 2003 by scoring the tying goal with 15.4 seconds left in the first period.

"We keep saying it's about the process but in the end it's about scoring, we know that, especially when there have been games we are losing 2-1, it's tight, or we are going into overtime or losing in a shootout. One goal can mean so much for this team right now and that's why it's been frustrating."

Daniel's first goal came with Mike Santorelli as his center, but he was back with his identical twin for the second period. He set up Henrik's first goal - the second of a three-goal outburst in 2:10 - and assisted on Henrik's second goal midway through the third period.

"I think it's going to make us better hockey players if we start playing with other players too," Daniel said. "When we are struggling and haven't scored for a while we tend to look for each other a little too much and forget about the other guys on the ice. Splitting us up makes us look for other guys. It opens up our game."

The Canucks needed to open up a game.

Vancouver scored six goals during its five-game skid (0-3-2). They matched that total when fourth-line center Jeremy Welsh scored his first NHL goal on a deflection to make it 6-2 with 28.6 seconds left.

"It does a lot for the confidence for a lot of guys knowing we can score," Daniel said.

Vancouver did most of its scoring during a 2:10 span in the second period.

Zack Kassian scored the go-ahead goal at 12:05, Henrik doubled the lead 1:54 later and defenseman Alexander Edler broke the game open with another goal 16 seconds after that.

"It something we knew was going to happen but it's nice to finally go out and do it and get back on the winning track." Kassian said.

Roberto Luongo was beaten on the first shot he saw but finished with 14 saves as Vancouver outshot the Blue Jackets 35-16.

"It's nice to win a game where you don't have to go down to the wire and grind one out," said Luongo, who wouldn't say if he'll start again against the rival Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night.

Things started well for the Blue Jackets, who were already without injured scoring forwards Marian Gaborik, Nathan Horton and Brandon Dubinsky, and then lost defenseman James Wisniewski, who leads the team with 16 points, to illness in the morning.

In his first game back after missing 19 following early-season abdominal surgery, Matt Calvert scored on the Blue Jackets' first shot. But that was all the offense Columbus could muster until Artem Anisimov scored on a rebound with 3:02 left in the game.

"It's an issue for us," coach Todd Richards said of creating chances. "We're missing guys but you have to find a way to win. Your power play has to step up or you have to win the game 2-1 or 1-0, which is what we did last year."

Sergei Bobrovsky finished with 29 saves as Columbus lost in regulation for the second time in eight games (3-2-3).

Richards defended his goalie, who was beaten from a sharp angle by Daniel Sedin late in the first period, had Kassian's unscreened shot from the faceoff dot go under his blocker, and then accidentally kicked Henrik Sedin's first goal into the net with his heel.

"I thought Bob was good. Some of those shots he had to fight traffic all night and there were some deflections," Richards said. "By his reaction I think he would have liked to have the second one back [by Kassian]. But they are big, they go to the net, they shoot the puck and it gets through. We shoot and it's not finding its way there. So either they are better shooters or better blockers than we are."

The Canucks outshot Columbus 14-4 in the opening period, and Daniel tied it from a sharp angle with 15.4 seconds left with a shot that hit a stick and lifted over Bobrovsky on the short side.

"The tying goal was key," Daniel said. "Coming in here with a tie instead of being down was huge, especially where we were as a team. From that moment on I thought we played really well."

After Bobrovsky robbed Alexandre Burrows and Ryan Kesler during a power play, and Cam Atkinson missed a glorious chance to put Columbus back in front, Kassian opened the floodgates shortly after the Canucks' No. 1-ranked penalty kill shut down the Blue Jackets' fourth chance on the power play.

Brad Richardson, who was in the penalty box for tripping, got to a loose puck and fed Kassian at the far blue line for a 1-on-1 rush and the shot under Bobrovsky's arm.

Henrik knocked a rebound of a high shot by Daniel behind Bobrovsky a couple shifts later, and Edler wired a point shot that hit a defender and went in off the post for his first goal in 15 games.

"It happened fast," Richards said.

Henrik deflected in Daniel's point shot midway through the third, but after Bobrovsky stuffed Jannik Hansen on a penalty shot with 3:27 left, Anisimov batted in a rebound on the next shift to make it 5-2.

Welsh's tip-in gave the full house of 18,910 one last thing to cheer.

"It's a milestone in anyone's career so it feels good and I am glad it is over with," Welsh said. "It's been a while coming."

The same could be said for all of the Canucks' goals.

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