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Canucks say farewell with 3-2 win over Blues

by John Kreiser

The Vancouver Canucks bade farewell to GM Place until mid-March by giving their fans a victory to remember them by.

Mason Raymond scored twice and Christian Ehrhoff scored the tie-breaking goal with 7:48 remaining in regulation as the Canucks won their sixth in a row, beating the St. Louis Blues 3-2 on Wednesday night.

With Paul Kariya in the penalty box for slashing Henrik Sedin, Ehrhoff took a shot from the right circle near the goal line that deflected off Blues defenseman Barrett Jackman and went past a screened Ty Conklin and into the net.

Blues interim coach Davis Payne responded "no" when asked if he thought the call on Kariya was a penalty.

"That was one (the referee) felt was (a penalty) and we felt wasn't," he said. "It was disappointing that it came down to that."

Roberto Luongo made 25 saves to help the Canucks win six straight games for the first time since February 2007 and move two points ahead of Colorado into first place in the Northwest Division. He made a sprawling stop on Andy McDonald's breakaway in the third period, and got a break when Erik Johnson hit the post with 1:30 left.

"We found a way to get it done in the third," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "We took two leads and didn't lose the second one."

The game was the Canucks' last at GM Place until March 13. With the Olympics coming to town, they play their next 14 on the road, beginning Saturday night in Toronto.

"We definitely wanted to finish off on the right note," Luongo said. "This is a huge win before we head out."

The Blues shut down the Canucks' big line of the Sedin twins and Alex Burrows. But the pairing of Raymond and Ryan Kesler more than compensated. Kesler assisted on all three goals, while Raymond scored his 20th and 21st of the season and added an assist on Ehrhoff's goal.

Burrows' 12-game points streak, the third-longest in the NHL this season, came to an end while both Sedins saw five-game point streaks halted.

The Blues got on the board first when Keith Tkachuk beat Roberto Luongo at 4:14 for a power-play goal. Raymond tied it at 6:41 when Kesler picked off a weak pass by Johnson and found his linemate behind the defense for a deflection that beat Ty Conklin.

Raymond put the Canucks ahead 3:37 into the third when he zipped a wrister past Conklin from well inside the right circle.

"Part of winning is that you need secondary scoring," Vigneault said. "I thought Mason Raymond again tonight played a real strong game, and it's not by accident. If there's one player on our team who's going the extra mile as far as trying to improve himself, it's Mason Raymond."

T.J. Oshie tied it at 10:07, taking David Backes' backhand pass across the slot and swatting a rolling puck high over Luongo's glove.

"We were in position," Payne said. "They found a way."

With their pre-Olympic home schedule done, the Canucks play their last eight games before the break away from GM Place. They'll also play the first six after the Olympics on the road.

Luongo said he and his teammates are looking forward to the trip.

"I think the guys are excited," he said. "We're going to some good cities to play in. We're looking forward to it. It's a good challenge for our team. You get a good feeling around the room that guys are going to be excited about playing in these games."

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

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