Aaron Volpatti and the Vancouver Canucks were all smiles Friday night in Anaheim as they defeated the Ducks at the Honda Center in National Hockey League action. Volpatti celebrates his goal that gave the Canucks a 3-0 lead during the second period.
Photograph by: Harry How, Getty Images
ANAHEIM – Full speed ahead. The Vancouver Canucks have come a long way in one week.
After an alarming opening weekend in the shortened National Hockey League season, the Canucks capped a wild seven days Friday with easily their best game so far: a 5-0 hammering against the no-longer-perfect Anaheim Ducks.
It was vintage Canucks, the kind of form that won Presidents’ Trophies and 105 games the last two regular seasons. Vancouver was superior on special teams, tight and tenacious defensively, disciplined, and varied enough offensively to make defending them more complex than merely stopping Daniel and Henrik Sedin.
And No. 1 goalie Cory Schneider, hooked when the Canucks collapsed and lost 7-3 to the Ducks on opening night last Saturday in Vancouver, made 30 saves for the shutout Friday.
The goalie and his team have some positive momentum heading to San Jose for a game Sunday against the Sharks and Week 2 of the 48-game season. Vancouver is 2-1-1, Anaheim 2-1.
“It didn’t matter that it was the same team,” Schneider said of the rematch against the Ducks. “I think it just matters that it was another step in the right direction. I’m just feeling better every game. You don’t want to regress after a tough start. But you can’t just sit on this and be happy with two good games. You have to keep it going and be good for the next 10 or 12 games.
“Nobody feels bad for me so I (wasn’t) going to feel bad for myself. I don’t need pats on the shoulder all the time to say it’s going to be all right. It’s part of your job to bounce back mentally.”
Mason Raymond scored twice for the Canucks, and Alex Burrows, Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin each had two points.
“I think we had something to prove for everybody,” Raymond said. “Schneids, myself, everybody in here felt like we could be a lot better than opening night and I think we showed that tonight for sure. We’re getting into form now, guys are feeling more comfortable and that’s what it’s all about.”
The Canuck power play was a key factor Friday. That and the Ducks’ lack of discipline. Anaheim took a dozen penalties and Vancouver was 3-for-9 with the man-advantage.
Thirty-one seconds after Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf chopped Raymond on the side of the neck following a whistle, giving the Canucks a 5-on-3 power play, Daniel Sedin opened the scoring for Vancouver at 9:13 of the first period.
Henrik threaded a pass between defenceman Francois Beauchemin’s skates and across the goalmouth to his brother, whose point-blank shot was only partly stopped by Anaheim goaltender Jonas Hiller.
On the next Canuck goal, at 18:40, Hiller made a spectacular initial save on Raymond. But the Canuck batted in the airborne rebound after a terrific cross-ice pass by Burrows on another power play, set up by Bryan Allen’s huge hit on Dale Weise. The hit would have been even more impressive had the puck been close enough to Weise for it not to be interference.
After blowing 2-0 leads in each of their last two games, the Canucks took care of the puck and the defensive zone in the middle period, and managed to go ahead 3-0 at 16:37 when Aaron Volpatti’s shot from the slot slid through Hiller after a turnover by Duck Devante Smith-Pelly.
The Canucks’ power play finished off the Ducks at 1:18 of the third period when Zack Kassian finished from a sharp angle after Daniel worked a give-and-go with Henrik before passing across to the non-Sedin.
The goal came on the second of two minors Corey Perry took at 18:44 of the second period, when he charged and roughed defenceman Alex Edler. Perry was angry the Canuck had boarded him, without a call, earlier in the shift. But Perry is among the NHL’s many embellishers, and referees Steve Kozari and Dave Jackson were not convinced it was a penalty.
Raymond completed scoring at 15:01 when he whipped a wrist shot over Hiller’s glove after rookie call-up Jordan Schroeder feathered his linemate a pass on a 2-on-1 while the teams skated 4-on-4. It was Schroeder’s first point in the NHL.
“I felt really calm out there tonight,” Schroeder said. “No nerves. When we play a complete game like this, I think we’ll be tough to beat. This is what it takes to win.”
Schroeder kept the puck from Raymond’s second goal as a souvenir. The Canucks got much more than that out of the game.
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