They not only held onto a third-period lead, but they extended
that lead and beat the Colorado Avalanche 3-1 at Rogers Arena.
In five of their previous seven home games, the Canucks had
surrendered third-period leads and they won just one of those games,
"That's what we want to do, not sit back and protect a one-goal
lead," said Vancouver center Ryan Kesler, whose third-period goal
made it 2-0.
His right winger Mike Santorelli had two goals and left winger Chris
Higgins two assists as the trio dominated throughout the game.
"We generated a lot of pressure down low and we generated chances
off the rush, too," Kesler said.
Santorelli opened scoring 5:34 into the first period with a nifty
move on Colorado goalie J.S. Giguere.
Higgins, on a strong forecheck, caused Colorado defenseman Nate
Guenin to turn over the puck behind the Avs net.
Higgins fed Santorelli, who deked to his backhand to score.
Higgins again set up Santorelli in the third, his shot from the slot
stopped by Giguere but poked home on the rebound by Kesler.
Santorelli, on a 2-on-1 with Higgins, went high over Giguere's
shoulder to make it 3-0 at 7:17 of the third.
"When you're playing with two great players, it helps," said
Santorelli, who recorded his second two-goal game of the season. "I
was going to pass to Higgy, but I saw the defenseman cheating toward
him, so I shot instead."
The line was put together three games ago and has combined for six
goals and nine points since then while also playing solidly in the
"Santo was our best player tonight, by far," Canucks head coach John
Tortorella said. "He's a big reason that line is playing so well."
Colorado broke Roberto Luongo's shutout bid with 7.1 seconds to play
and Giguere pulled for an extra attacker, with Jamie McGinn poking
the puck past the Vancouver goalie.
Colorado coach Patrick Roy began pulling his goalie with five
minutes still left in the game.
"We pulled the goalie with five minutes left in the game for us as
coaches to show our players that we don't quit," Roy said. "They did
the same thing. They kept going.
"I honestly felt we played a better game than them and,
unfortunately, we have nothing to show for the result,"
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"I don't think it was the best effort from either team," said
Giguere, who faced only 21 Vancouver shots. "That game, there
were a lot of whistles, I don't think it was a great hockey game
It was Giguere's first loss of the season, his record dropping
Luongo stopped 28 of 29 shots.
Even though the Canucks jumped to a lead in the sixth minute of
the game, Tortorella was not pleased with his club's opening 20
"I don't think they realized it was a 5 p.m. start," Tortorella
said. "After the first period, even though we were up 1-0, we
play like that the rest of the game and we get spanked.
"After the first we defended really well, handled the quickness
the Avs have up front really well, keeping them from the areas
they wanted to be in."
Nothing was said between the second and third periods about
playing with the lead, because nothing needed to be said,
"It's simple," the coach said. "Stay on your toes, try to gain
"When you talk too much about (protecting leads), it can become
a self-fulfilling prophecy."
The Canucks play again on Monday night when they host the
Colorado wrapped up a three-game Western Canada swing and hosts
the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday in Denver.
NOTES: Colorado has not won a game in Vancouver in nine visits,
the Avs' last win at Rogers Arena being a 4-3 shootout victory
on April 6, 2010. ... Last season, shortened by an NHL lockout,
the Avalanche were 4-16-4 on the road, worst in the NHL. This
season, heading into Sunday's game, the Avs sported a 10-3-0
record on the road. ... The Avs are led by a youth movement:
Their leading scorer heading into the game was captain LW
Gabriel Landesko (21 years, 22 points), followed by C Matt
Duchene (22 years, 21 points). C Nathan MacKinnon, the first
overall pick in the 2013 NHL entry draft, is still 18 and had 17
points heading into Sunday. ... The Canucks recalled D Yannick
Weber from the Utica Comets. Weber had seven points in seven
games during his time in the American Hockey League, but he did
not dress for Vancouver. D Andrew Alberts drew in for the second
straight game for the injured D Alex Edler.
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