Roberto Luongo turned in another solid performance for his third shutout of the season while the Canucks unleashed for four goals on 40 shots en route to a 4-0 win over the Edmonton Oilers for their sixth consecutive win, moving past Colorado into the sixth spot in the Western Conference.
The Canucks got off to a sound defensive start, not allowing a shot until seven minutes in, a quick wrist shot from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Edmonton turnovers gave the Canucks several quality scoring chances midway through the period, but Devan Dubnyk was able to stop everything coming his way off the turnovers. The Oilers survived the first period without allowing a goal despite being outshot 14-4.
It appeared as if the Canucks were about to take their first power play of the night midway through the second period when Philip Larsen was called off for boarding, but Henrik Sedin was sent off at the same time for interference.
It turns out the penalty might have been a blessing in disguise for Vancouver when a slashing penalty to Mark Arcobello created a 4-on-3 power play with plenty of space on the ice. During the play, a series of two passes from one end of the ice to the other created a scoring chance for Chris Higgins, whose shot came so close to going in that as it went off the post, the goal horn sounded in Rogers Arena. As a result of the slashing call, the Canucks used the extra space to set up Daniel Sedin at the top of the zone for his 11th goal of the season, giving his team a 1-0 lead, the fifth straight time the Canucks have opened the scoring.
Early in the third period the Canucks managed to add a big insurance goal just two and a half minutes in. David Booth fired the puck towards the net while falling down, and Zack Kassian found himself in the right place at the right time, tapping in his sixth goal of the season to give Vancouver a 2-0 lead. The goal gave Vancouver some breathing room. Despite Edmonton not having many chances on net during the night, they’d still managed several quality shots.
Less than five minutes later, Chris Higgins tacked on a third goal for the Canucks, essentially icing the game away. Vancouver is now 18-0-1 on the season when scoring at least three goals. Score more, win more. What a concept, huh?
After a number of great chances on net, Dale Wesie finally beat Dubnyk for a late, garbage time goal to make it 4-0. You knew it was only a matter of time before the fourth-liner would get one past Dubnyk after the way Weise played all night.
What really stuck out in my mind was the play of the fourth line tonight, especially Dale Weise. He finally got his goal in the closing moments of the game after a number of quality shots he managed to get on net. Puck control was also a plus as the Canucks did a great job maintaining possession, keeping the puck out of their own zone fairly easily. As a result of good puck possession, Vancouver kept Dubnyk on his toes all night long with 40 shots.
My roommate (who knows nothing about the sport, mind you) even chipped in at the end of the game with his two cents, commenting, "Edmonton is bad at defense, and horrible at offense. It seemed like the puck was in your zone the entire game." There you have it, folks. You can’t really sum it up much better than that.
Now, the focus shifts to Saturday’s main event between the Canucks and the Boston Bruins in a rematch of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. The Bruins sit atop the Eastern Conference with 46 points, so Vancouver will hope to have their work cut out for them if they hope to extend their winning streak to seven games. Puck drop is set for 7:00 pm on CBC, so clear your schedules and cancel your dates. (No, really, I actually canceled a movie date with a girl for this game. Anna, if you’re reading this, I’ll make it up to you.)