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game recap

Canucks match best start in their history

Jannik Hansen's 100th NHL goal helps Vancouver defeat Sabres

by Kevin Woodley / NHL.com Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- The Vancouver Canucks got to play with a lead for the first time this season, and the result didn't change.

Jannik Hansen opened the scoring with his 100th NHL goal midway through the second period, and Daniel Sedin scored the winning goal on a power play 9:10 into the third to help the Canucks to a 2-1 victory against the Buffalo Sabres at Rogers Arena on Thursday.

The Canucks' 4-0-0 start matches the best in their history (1992-93).

After its 2-1 win against the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday, Vancouver was the first team in NHL history to win the first three games of a season without leading in regulation in any of them.

Hansen gave the Canucks their first lead in a game 218:22 into their season when he scored on a 2-on-1 rush at 11:10 of the second period, tapping a rebound into an open net after Brandon Sutter's shot from the right faceoff dot trickled under the arm of goalie Robin Lehner.

"We don't want to be coming from behind in the third period of every single game," Hansen said. "It's not feasible, it's not something you can do over a long stretch. You have to be able to get a lead and hold on to it."

They almost gave it up even after Sedin doubled the advantage with Vancouver's first power-play goal.

Video: BUF@VAN: Nick Baptiste's 1st NHL goal

Buffalo rookie forward Nicholas Baptiste scored his first NHL goal to make it 2-1 a little more than two minutes later. He threw the puck into the crease from below the goal line, and it bounced in off Canucks forward Jack Skille's skate. The goal was waved off because the referee said Sabres forward Nicolas Deslauriers knocked the puck in with his body, but video review determined that it never hit Deslauriers.

"It's obviously exciting for me, but we didn't get the win, and that's unfortunate," said Baptiste, who was playing his second NHL game.

Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom made 26 saves.

"We're really buying into what we say we're going to do, and it gets results," Markstrom said. "It's a lot of fun to play hockey right now."

Lehner made 18 saves for the Sabres (1-2-1).

Video: BUF@VAN: Markstrom robs consecutive shots from Sabres

 

Goal of the game

The Canucks power play was 0-for-12 -- and the Sabres penalty kill 11-for-11 -- before Sedin scored to make it 2-0. Lehner made a great push left to right to rob Sutter on a backdoor pass, but the rebound went to Loui Eriksson in front, and he passed it the other way to Sedin, who shot it under a sprawling Lehner. "It may be my fault," Buffalo coach Dan Bylsma said. "I happened to see the number before going out for the third period, and they were at zero and we were at 100 percent, and they get the power-play goal. I regret that a little bit."

Video: BUF@VAN: D. Sedin sweeps in PPG from tough angle

 

Saves of the game

Markstrom preserved the 1-0 lead with two sets of tough, back-to-back saves against Kyle Okposo and Johan Larsson alone in tight, stopping the initial attempt and the rebound each time.

Video: BUF@VAN: Markstrom robs Okposo twice one-on-one

 

Unsung moment of the game

Defenseman Alexander Edler denied Sabres forward Ryan O'Reilly with his stick after he skated around Markstrom at the side of the net shortly after Sedin scored, stopping a sure goal.

 

Highlight of the game

Hansen's goal not only gave the Canucks their first lead this season, but it was a big milestone for the Denmark-born player picked 287th by Vancouver in the 2004 NHL Draft. "It's one of those milestones that is more appreciated once you are done playing," Hansen said. "Right now, it's another number."

Video: BUF@VAN: Hansen crashes the net for 100th career goal

 

They said it

"We had opportunities to sneak one by him, to get a goal, and that was our mentality. We needed to keep pushing, keep playing that way, and we couldn't come up with it. … [Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom] played outstanding, he played great. We only get one by him with kind of a fluke." -- Sabres coach Dan Bylsma on their scoring chances

 

"Our last couple of games, they have been our best offensive line. [Canucks forward Brandon Sutter] is good on the penalty kill, he's good on the faceoff on the right-hand side, those are things we missed last year, and he's contributed offensively. I don't expect him to contribute like that every night, but that line has been good." -- Canucks coach Willie Desjardins on Brandon Sutter and linemates Markus Granlund and Jannik Hansen

 

Video: BUF@VAN: Markstrom hugs the post to stone Sabres

 

Need to Know

Canucks No. 1 goalie Ryan Miller dressed as the backup after missing the game Tuesday with abdominal tightness. He is expected to play one of the back-to-back games in California this weekend.

 

What's Next

Sabres: At the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CSN-PH, NHL.TV)

Canucks: At the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday (10 p.m. ET; CBC, FS-W, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Canucks outlast Sabres to remain unbeaten

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