Canucks offence smothers Flames
VANCOUVER 5 CALGARY 1
CALGARY — They didn’t flip out. They just needed a flip of the calendar.
At a loss to explain why the Vancouver Canucks walked through another October and have sprinted through so many Novembers, coach Alain Vigneault reasoned that all that practice in opening month of the season would eventually pay off. How about on the first day of November?
In a dominant 5-1 victory over the Calgary Flames on Tuesday to open a six-game road trip, the Canucks were far from the plodding and hesitant bunch that stumbled to a 5-5-1 mark in October. In building off a 7-4 victory over the Washington Capitals to close out last month, they once again didn’t over-think situations. They acted on instinct, they owned the boards and took it to the Flames in every conceivable category. And in making it five-straight Scotiabank Saddledome victories — and outscoring the Flames 24-8 in the process — the highlight reel should include a sequence that proved how the Canucks can play when the spirit moves them.
Instead of sitting on a 3-0 lead after one period, a shift by Maxim Lapierre showed how the Canucks can shift into overdrive when desire matches ability. In a sprint to a loose puck in the Flames zone, the Canucks centre beat Flames forward Tom Kostopoulos to the puck on the sideboards before spinning and snapping a laser-like pass across the slot right on to the stick of teammate Cody Hodgson. All he had to do was snap it into a yawning net to make it a four-goal bulge.
That was just one dimension on display. There was a breakaway goal by Chris Higgins. There was Alex Burrows burying a powerplay chance while being cross-checked to the ice by Jay Bouwmeester. There was Daniel Sedin snapping a shot from a sharp angle after a dominant power- play shift from the top unit and Alex Edler finding the net again to make it 10 points in his last six games. There was an embarrassing 20-5 edge in hits by the Canucks after two periods and they chased Miikka Kiprusoff from the crease after 40 minutes in favour of Henrik Karlsson after the starter allowed five goals on 18 shots.
Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo looked like October was a mirage and that the real starter had arrived with 28 saves to nearly record his first shutout of the season until an Alex Tanguay shot beat him with 30 seconds left.
In fact, one of the toughest saves he had to make was when Rene Bourque barrelled into him with a right shoulder when he dove out to corral a loose puck in the third period. He then had his stick knocked loose by a Mark Giordano shot that just drifted over the net.
More importantly, the Canucks are continuing a pleasing trend. They have amassed an eye-popping 32-14-5 record in November the previous four seasons and Luongo has gone 24-104 in the same time span.
Despite Flames forward Brendan Morrison hitting a crossbar early and Olli Jokinen doing the same in the second period, there were indications in the first period that this was going to be the Canucks’ night.
BOSTON 5 OTTAWA 3
BOSTON — They took the lead, gave it up, and fought back to make it a game.
But in the end there wasn’t enough magic to get the Ottawa Senators over the top and out of Boston with a win.
The Bruins scored two goals within 37 seconds in the third period to break a 3-3 tie and get just their fourth win of the season, 5-3.
The loss ended Ottawa’s six-game winning streak.
Jared Cowen had just tied the game 1:37 before the Boston outburst with his first NHL goal. But goaltender Craig Anderson, who kept the Sens in the game until that point, unluckily coughed up goals to Johnny Boychuk and Daniel Paille.
Milan Lucic, Patrice Bergeron, and Chris Kelly, who also had an assist, scored Boston’s other goals.
For the Senators, Nick Foligno had a goal and two assists, a career high for points in a game, while Stephane Da Costa had a goal and an assist.
“I think the Stanley Cup champions came to play,” said coach Paul Maclean.
“Obviously with all the reports of their demise, they responded real well. I didn’t think they really gave us much of an opportunity to play.”
Anderson faced 41 shots while Tim Thomas faced 26 in the Bruins’ net.
Ordinarily, Cowen would have been happy with his first NHL goal but he wasn’t on this night.
“It was nice to get my first goal, but hopefully the next time I get a goal it will matter more,” he said.