Jannik Hansen, a checking right winger, broke a scoreless tie on
a breakaway at 11:13 of the third period. He took a long backhand
feed from fourth-liner Tom Sestito, darted through the St. Louis
defense pairing of Roman Polak and Carlo Colaiacovo and beating
Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak cleanly.
At the other end of the ice, rookie reserve goalie Eddie Lack
stopped all 20 shots he faced to improve his record to 9-8-3, and
3-0 against St. Louis this season.
"We needed that win," Hansen said. "We worked together for 60
minutes tonight, and Eddie was very good.
"We know we need wins. You don't have to look at the standings very
hard or very long to realize our situation."
The win moved the Canucks (28-24-9) a point ahead of the Dallas
Stars and Phoenix Coyotes into third place in the Western
Conference, but those two teams have three games in hand on
St. Louis (39-13-6) remains in second in the West, a point behind
the Anaheim Ducks but with two games in hand.
"We know they need every point they can get," St. Louis right winger
T.J. Oshie said. "Overall their team did a good job, including their
goalie, they kept pushing and pushing, but I don't think we tested
(Lack) as much as we could tonight."
Halak, whose Team Slovakia failed to make the medal round at the
Sochi Olympics, has been back in North America since Feb. 20.
That was not the case for the eight players, four per team, who took
part in the medal games in Russia.
Oshie, who played for Team USA, said it wasn't necessarily the time
difference -- 12 hours for Canucks, 10 for the Blues -- but the
dimension of the ice that took getting used to again.
With an NHL rink 15 feet narrower than the international dimensions,
the ice seemed longer, Oshie said.
"In the first period, we were really sluggish, especially my line,"
he said. "It just looked like the ice went on and on down the
"After that, I thought we picked it up."
Hansen now leads his more-famous teammate, left winger Daniel Sedin,
a former NHL scoring champion, 2-0 in goals the past 20 games.
The Canucks snapped a seven-game losing streak.
[to top of second column]
"Everybody contributed, everybody played really well away from the
puck," said Vancouver coach John Tortorella, whose team outshot St.
Louis 35-20. "We did a number of good things, we got pucks at the
net, but you have to play good defense to win, and we did that
"We just stayed within ourselves, stayed with our game."
The Canucks were 10-1-1 through most of December, but they were
4-13-3 since then heading into Wednesday's game.
"It's a step at a time trying to regain our standing," Tortorella
Canucks center Ryan Kesler, a member of Team USA at Sochi, did not
Kesler hurt his hand blocking a shot by Russia's Ilya Kovalchuk in
the preliminary round. He played the rest of the tournament,
including a 1-0 semifinal loss to Canada and 5-0 bronze-medal loss
to Finland, but did not skate after returning Monday.
He and the Canucks are awaiting results from an MRI exam.
Still, Kesler was the focus or a rumor, begun during the Olympics,
that he might be traded despite a no-trade clause in his contract.
Vancouver general manager Mike Gillis would neither deny or confirm
Kesler's agent, Kurt Overhardt, denied the rumors to the Denver
NOTES: Vancouver (G Roberto Luongo, D Dan Hamhuis) and St. Louis (D
Alex Pietrangelo, D Jay Bouwmeester) each had two players on
gold-medal-winning Team Canada at the Sochi Olympics. LW Daniel
Sedin and D Alex Edler of the Canucks, C Patrik Berglund and LW
Alexander Steen of the Blues won silver medals with Team Sweden. ...
In all, 10 Blues players represented their countries at the
Olympics, an NHL-high shared with the Chicago Blackhawks and the
Detroit Red Wings. ... Blues RW T.J. Oshie took six of eight U.S.
shootout attempts in pool play against Russia, scoring on four of
them, including the winner. ... C Henrik Sedin, the Canucks captain
who missed the Olympics because of a rib injury, returned to the
lineup after sitting out eight of the 10 games leading up to the
Olympic break. ... Daniel Sedin, the 2011 NHL scoring champion, had
not scored in 19 games heading into Wednesday's resumption of play.
He was 1-4-5 in six games for Sweden at Sochi.
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.