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Luongo, Canucks blank Maple Leafs

by Kevin Woodley

VANCOUVER -- Pregame ceremonies can be hard on host teams, which tend to come out flat after being on the ice and watching lengthy presentations honoring former players.

The Vancouver Canucks had no such problem after retiring Pavel Bure's No.10 jersey at Rogers Arena on Saturday.

Vancouver registered the first 11 shots of the game and outshot the Toronto Maple Leafs 47-21 by the time it was over, dominating from start to finish in a 4-0 win.

"It's great to be part of something like that, but I've been part of two others where you come out a little bit flat because you're sitting on the bench a lot of time and emotions are running high before the game," Canucks captain Henrik Sedin said. "We came out strong today."

Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer faced the game's first 11 shots and made a handful of highlight-reel stops to keep it scoreless before Henrik Sedin's power-play shot finally went in off the jersey of twin brother Daniel 6:03 into the game to open the scoring.

Zack Kassian and Chris Higgins scored less than two minutes apart early in the second period, defenseman Dan Hamhuis scored with 5:32 left, and Roberto Luongo made 21 saves for his second shutout of the season to help the Canucks bounce back from a loss to the Detroit Red Wings to post their fifth win in six games.

"We were just mad we didn't score on the first shift. All three of us had grade 'A' chances," Higgins said of the early flurry. "We just knew we had to break through. He made some incredible stops early on, and we were outshooting them by a pretty good margin the whole game, so percentages were on our side. We were getting good chances, good quality chances. They are going to go in."

Getting outshot by wide margins has been a regular theme for Toronto.

The Maple Leafs have been on the wrong side of the shots-on-goal count in 13 of 15 games. Still, they came to Vancouver riding a three-game winning streak, including wins against the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames in games they were outshot by a total of 86-48.

It finally caught up with them against Vancouver (10-5-1).

"It was a terrible game for us. Probably the worst game we have played this year," coach Randy Carlyle said. "If I had the answer (why), I'd tell you. I'm very frustrated with our group right now."

It was a costly defeat for the Leafs (10-5-0), who lost center Dave Bolland early in the second period with a laceration on the back of his left leg. He left the building on a stretcher to have surgery.

Carlyle compared the injury to the lacerated Achilles tendon that kept star Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson out 10 weeks in the 2012-13 season.

"I don't know the severity or which tendon, but he did suffer a cut into that area," he said.

Bolland, who has six goals and 10 points in 14 games after coming over in an offseason trade from the Stanley Cup-winning Chicago Blackhawks, went down after a hit in the corner from Kassian, whose skate appeared to clip Bolland above the back of his ankle.

"I went in there hard to finish my hit. I don't know what happened, but it was a clean hit," said Kassian, who was suspended eight games for a preseason stick swing that broke Oilers center Sam Gagner's jaw. "I know it was clean, so no talking about that."

With Bolland struggling to get up, Kassian went to the slot and put the Canucks ahead 2-0 after a pass from Brad Richardson from behind the net 2:07 into the period.

Bolland, who was centering the Leafs' second line Saturday, had to be helped off the ice.

"He's a huge part of our team," James van Riemsdyk said of Bolland. "You never like to see a guy like that go down."

Toronto is already without top center Tyler Bozak, who is out at least six more games with a lower-body injury.

Higgins gave Vancouver a 3-0 lead just 1:58 after Kassian's goal, beating Reimer over the glove with a wrist shot from the top of the left faceoff circle on a 2-on-1.

Luongo took care of the rest with a couple big saves late in the period, stopping Phil Kessel a couple times and van Riemsdyk alone in tight.

"We weren't quite sure what was going to happen after the ceremony," said Luongo, who didn't see a shot for 8:17. "I was getting antsy, sitting out there for 20, 25 minutes and the first 10 minutes of the game not getting any shots. I had a lot of built-up energy."

The Canucks also had a lot of energy early.

Reimer, who finished with 43 saves, made a handful of acrobatic stops early. On one incredible sequence, Reimer stopped Mike Santorelli on a 2-on-1, then made incredible pad saves to take away empty nets and goals from Alexandre Burrows and Kassian.

The stop on Burrows even required a video review, which showed Reimer sprawled out to get his right toe on the puck at the goal line.

"It wasn't our sharpest game, and they are a really good team," said Reimer. "They took advantage of the fact we weren't the best team."

The Canucks finally solved Reimer on a power play, with Ryan Kesler's nifty between-the-legs deflection in the slot going right to Henrik Sedin, whose shot toward an empty net hit the jersey of twin brother Daniel on the way into the net.

The goal extended Henrik Sedin's points streak to 11 games. It also gave both Sedins points one day after they signed matching four-year, $28 million contract extensions.

"It's not all about scoring this year," Henrik said. "I think we're playing a more complete game this year, and that feels good."

It was also just the fifth power-play goal all season for the Canucks. They got plenty more chances to work on the man advantage as the game got a bit nasty, including a rare Kessel fight with Burrows, and the Maple Leafs paraded to the penalty box.

"We're not going to retaliate and we're not going to take penalties because their power play is really good," coach John Tortorella said.

Vancouver finished the game 1-for-9 with the man advantage.

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