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Henrik Sedin's trick leads Canucks to 8-2 win

by Rick Sadowski /

DENVER -- Henrik Sedin picked the right time for the first hat trick of his NHL career.

Sedin scored three goals for the first time in 667 NHL games and Steve Bernier added two more as the Vancouver Canucks ended an offensive drought by pummeling the suddenly slumping Colorado Avalanche 8-2 on Saturday night.

"It's always nice to get it," said Sedin, who has 9 goals and 17 points in 17 games since his twin brother and linemate, Daniel, went down with a broken foot. "It's a little late after playing so many games, but it's always nice to get a hat trick."

Daniel's absence has left Henrik without his twin brother for the first sustained period in his career. Canucks captain Roberto Luongo said Henrik is proving he can produce without his brother as well as with him.

"He's a centerman and he feeds the puck to his wingers," Luongo said. "I think he adjusts better without Daniel than Daniel would without him."

Mason Raymond and Ryan Johnson each had three assists for Vancouver, which matched its offensive total for its three previous games by scoring three goals in the first period -- two by Sedin and one by Jannik Hansen.

Luongo was solid in goal for the Canucks, stopping 32 shots while recording his first win since Oct. 25. He returned this week after missing six games with a broken rib.

"I felt good," said Luongo, who was making his second start. "I felt great in both starts. I'm just trying to build off that and get some momentum going back home."

The Avalanche got goals from Marek Svatos and Matt Hendricks five minutes apart in the third period to make it a 4-2 game, but the Canucks stormed back with four consecutive goals, two from Bernier and one by Sedin, who completed his hat trick at 12:53.

The Canucks completed a five-game road trip with a 2-3-0 record, moved above the .500 mark with an 11-10-0 mark and pulled within five points of the Northwest Division-leading Avalanche, which has lost back-to-back home games after winning its first six on home ice.

"It's something to build on," Sedin said. "We can go home and practice for a week before the next game (Friday against Colorado). It's always nice to come off a game like this. It gives the guys confidence coming back home."

Avalanche goalie Craig Anderson, making his 19th start, allowed three goals on Vancouver's first five shots. He was replaced by Peter Budaj to begin the third period after giving up four goals on 22 shots. Budaj gave up four goals on eight shots.

"Could have been better," said Anderson, who is 1-4-1 in his past six starts. "It was one of those nights."

The Avalanche are 2-4-1 in its past seven games and have lost back-to-back home games after winning their first six on home ice, but coach Joe Sacco didn't sound terribly concerned.

"We've played a lot of good hockey," he said. "We've had some strong games and tonight we just didn't have any energy. We made mistakes and it ended up in the back of our net. We'll respond. We'll be OK. We'll be fine.

"We didn't get off to a good start. We talked about having a good start, and we didn't and they took advantage of it. Give them credit. They came out and they played a very strong road game, and we got what we deserved."

Sedin, who has six goals in the past six games, opened the scoring at 1:57 when he put in the rebound of Ryan Kesler's shot off the left post.

Sedin scored again at 7:09 after Raymond exited the penalty box and beat Anderson to a loose puck along the end boards. Raymond slipped the puck in front to Sedin for a chip shot into the net. Hansen made it 3-0 on a tap-in at 10:59 off a pass from Tanner Glass, and the Avs never recovered.

"Our last few starts haven't been that good," Avalanche captain Adam Foote said. "They jumped on us. We put ourselves behind the eight-ball in the first couple minutes of the game. We have to tighten up and play with a little more discipline at the starts of games. Teams know we're for real and they're playing a little bit harder."

Mathieu Schneider increased Vancouver's lead to 4-0 at 8:22 of the second period with a long shot through a screen.

"We've been getting an awful lot of shots and getting a lot of shots through, our guys have been doing a great job getting more and more traffic at the net, which is something we're talking about every day," Schneider said. "Nine out of 10 shots you're not going to beat guys clean in this league, you've got to get screens and you've got to get traffic and there was certainly traffic there."

Right wing Milan Hejduk returned to the Avalanche lineup after missing two games with a sore back.

"I was kind of battling, just like everybody," he said. "We had a horrible start, a bad first period. We scored a couple goals in the third … we just fell apart in the end."

The Avalanche wore their new third jerseys, which are predominately blue, for the first time.

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