Daniel Sedin, captain Henrik Sedin and Jason Garrison congratulate Kevin Bieksa of the Vancouver Canucks who scored a power-play goal against the Edmonton Oilers during Thursday's National Hockey League game at Rogers Arena.
Photograph by: Jeff Vinnick, NHLI via Getty Images
VANCOUVER - Pavel Bure received a standing ovation and his former team also deserved a hearty round of applause Thursday night.
The Vancouver Canucks awoke from a two-game slumber and beat the Edmonton Oilers 4-0 at Rogers Arena in one of their most complete efforts in a long while.
There were many positives to take from the game for the Canucks. For starters, newly acquired centre Derek Roy played well and looked right at home with linemates Chris Higgins and Jannik Hansen. The trio combined on a nice goal, off a 3-on-1 rush, in the third period to pretty much ice the game.
Then there was the fact the Canucks actually scored on a power play. And goalie Cory Schneider, making his ninth straight start, was solid in goal. He stopped 23 shots for his fourth shutout of the season.
"We got the goal on the power play, the penalty kill was 100 per cent, those are two areas that have kind of been inconsistent for us this year," Higgins said. "And we were moving our feet well. I think that was probably the biggest key, how well we were skating tonight."
The win allowed the Canucks to move two points up on the Minnesota Wild in the Northwest Division standings. The Wild were 3-0 losers Thursday night in Los Angeles to the Kings.
Bure attended the game and the Hall of Famer received a lengthy ovation when he was introduced to Elton John's Rocket Man during the second period. Bure waved to the crowd, put his hand on his heart and looked genuinely touched by the warm response he received.
Vancouver beat an Oilers team that had arrived with a five-game winning streak and scored 25 goals in that stretch. But the Canucks did a terrific job of holding the speedy Oilers in check, particularly the top line of Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. That trio had combined for 32 points in their last five games.
One of those recent Oiler wins was a 4-0 victory over the Canucks last Saturday night when Edmonton scored on four of its first five shots and chased Schneider from the game.
"I was just trying to make a save tonight, make sure I got one against them,” a smiling Schneider said after the game. "They didn't have a ton of shots, but had some good looks on the rush and on the power play. They are a handful to deal with up front, but I thought we did a great job as a team coming back, reloading and trying to limit their rush play and second and third guy coming into the play. It made my life a bit easier."
The Canucks got the only goal of the first period and it came -- believe it or not -- on a Vancouver power play. Kevin Bieksa took a pass from Henrik Sedin and beat Oiler goalie Nikolai Khabibulin stick side at the 15:21 mark.
The goal, Bieksa's sixth of the season, came while the Canucks were enjoying a 5-on-3 advantage. It was almost a 5-on-2 as seconds before Bieksa scored Oiler defenceman Jeff Petry was hobbled after blocking a Jason Garrison slap shot.
The Sedins combined on a pretty goal at 14:26 of the second to give the Canucks a 2-0 lead. Daniel fed a cross-ice pass to Henrik, who was straddling the goal line when he put a shot over a sprawled Khabibulin.
The goal was Henrik's 10th of the season, tying him for the team lead with his two linemates, Daniel and Alex Burrows, as well as Higgins.
It was Higgins who scored Vancouver's third goal at 6:47 of the third. Roy delivered a perfect saucer pass to Higgins, who who had most of the net to shoot at.
"That was big time," Higgins said. "It was perfect, right on the tape. I pretty much had the yawning cage there. He made it easy for me."
Roy's line accounted for 10 of Vancouver's 28 shots and looked comfortable right from the start.
"They have got a lot of speed, a lot of skill, a lot of talent," Roy said of Higgins and Hansen. "There is still room improvement as you get to know each other better. We are just trying to develop some chemistry and make plays and work hard for each other."
"We are excited to play together and we'll see how it develops," added Higgins. "He (Roy) is a guy that can create offence by himself. He doesn't really need too many guys to play with him. He makes guys around him better and hopefully we can feed off of his vision."
Zack Kassian made it 4-0 with four seconds left in the third when he put a rebound past Khabibulin.
Edmonton coach Ralph Krueger was making no excuses after the game.
"They came hard and heavy," he said of the Canucks. "They were extremely strong along the boards early in the game. Our specialty teams, which have been strong against Vancouver all year, couldn't get going.
"So just all kinds of signals of a lack of energy on our part. I thought the desire was there but we just couldn't match what was for them a very strong game. I thought they played as well as I've seen them play this year. They were gapping up and gave us no space and room. It was a very good Vancouver Canucks team tonight.”
ICE CHIPS: Cam Barker replaced Andrew Alberts on the Canuck defence Thursday night. . .The Canucks play host to the Calgary Flames on Saturday night. . .Bieksa's goal was his 200th NHL point.
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