Daniel Sedin #22 of the Vancouver Canucks celebrates his goal against the Edmonton Oilers with teammate Alex Edler #23 during the second period of the home opener at Rogers Arena on October 5, 2013 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Photograph by: Ben Nelms, Getty Images
VANCOUVER – The Vancouver Canucks won't have a Burr in their saddle for a few weeks but showed Saturday night that life without their versatile forward might still be worth living.
Canuck head coach John Tortorella announced at the morning skate that Alex Burrows would be out for a couple of weeks (at least) after he blocked a Patrick Marleau shot during a San Jose 5-on-3 power-play Thursday.
Torts' retort was to elevate Jannik Hansen to the Sedin line and put David Booth with Ryan Kesler and Chris Higgins. Dale Weise also moved up a line while extra defenceman Yannick Weber dressed as the 18th skater and took some shifts at right wing on a make-shift fourth line.
Everything fell nicely into place and the Canucks pounded the Edmonton Oilers 6-2 to celebrate their 43rd home opener with a resounding victory.
“We were pretty consistent tonight in our attack so we're pretty satisfied,” Tortorella said. “As we talked about all week, it's about consistency. That was more consistent for more minutes.”
The Canucks outshot the Oilers 44-23, chased Edmonton starter Devan Dubnyk, scored once the power play, twice shorthanded and three times at even strength. Daniel and Henrik Sedin were in elite form – they combined for five points – and set up Hansen for a lovely one-timer after the Oilers were flummoxed by their skilful passing.
Even Ryan Kesler scored, on one of his game-high nine shots, and no one appeared to get injured blocking a shot. The Canucks, in fact, didn't have to block many (10) as they spent most of the evening in the Oiler zone. A novel concept, it would seem.
“Exactly,” noted Kesler, who was pleased he was able to connect with his trademark wrister. “It's not the only way I'm going to score goals this year but scoring a goal in that fashion is definitely a boost of confidence.”
The only blemish on the evening was a weak first goal surrendered by Roberto Luongo, who was beaten 5-hole on a bad-angle shot by Oiler defenceman Jeff Petry at 1:58 of the opening period.
“I wasn't sure what I was going to do and I got caught in-between a knee and the butterfly,” explained Luongo. “Then I just started falling. It was a pretty bad goal obviously. It wasn't my best game. I was fighting the puck a little bit. That's the funny thing about hockey. You feel good and lose 4-1 (in San Jose) and you don't feel so good and you win 6-2. In the end, I think it will all even out.”
The Canucks responded with a terrific surge after Petry's goal and began to pelt Dubnyk with rubber.
Brad Richardson scored shorthanded less two minutes after the Petry tally, followed by Dan Hamhuis and Hansen 18 seconds apart late in the period. The Hamhuis goal, a long distance slapper from the blueline, was deflected by Petry and sailed past Dubnyk, the hockey gods playing even-up with the Oiler blueliner.
The Canucks finished the first period with 22 shots on Dubnyk, six off the team record of 28 set on Jan. 31, 1991, the night then GM Pat Quinn fired then coach Bob McCammon.
The Oiler starter was hooked after the Kesler tally made it 5-1, at 13:56 of the second, and replaced by one-time Canuck backup Jason LaBarbera. Jason Garrison added a shorthanded empty-netter late in the third when he slammed a clearing attempt from behind his own net and it caromed nicely into the yawning Oiler cage.
Henrik Sedin liked the manner in which the Canuck played.
“We were aggressive and we put a lot of pressure on their defencemen,” he said. “I mean, we didn't really play this way for the last couple of years. We were sitting back a little bit more, maybe playing a little more on the safe side. So it is more fun for us and we're getting more offensive chances for sure.”
The last minute of the first period was spiced up by a verbal exchange at the benches between Tortorella and Oiler assistant Keith Acton, whose son Will fought Kesler.
“I just think that a coach shouldn't be yelling at an opposing team's players and that's what was happening,” said Torts. “He's yapping at my players and I can't sit there and watch that. I'm not interested in yelling back and forth with coaches but I just don't think that coaches should be yelling at players.
“I don't care what CBC, or anyone has to say, quite honestly (about his behaviour). They don't know what's happening so I don't really give a sh-t what they say.”
Commented Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins: “It was like two tiny guys getting ready to fight.”
Both Tortorella and Keith Acton are 5-8 – and 55 years old.
The Canucks, now 1-1-0 on the young season, took a post-game charter to Calgary where they will meet the surprising Flames in a 5 p.m. start Sunday. The Flames have launched the Brian Burke era with a 1-0-1 start.
Vancouver's next home game is Tuesday against Cory Schneider and the New Jersey Devils.
ICE CHIPS: Henrik Sedin played in 631st consecutive game Saturday, the sixth longest ironman streak in NHL history... The Canucks improved to 22-16-3-2 in home openers... Oiler star Taylor Hall was on the ice for four Canuck goals and in the penalty box for a fifth... The 50/50 jackpot, with a carryover from last season, was $155,561.
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun