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Canucks' second line combines for six points in 4-1 win over Blues

Seven different Canucks registered points for the Canucks, but it was the second line that proved to be the difference to get Vancouver back in the win column.

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

After a nightmarish game in Dallas, Vancouver’s second line of Nick Bonino, Alex Burrows and Chris Higgins led the way on Thursday, combining for six points in a 4-1 win over the St. Louis Blues.

Ryan Miller delivered a brilliant performance in his return to St. Louis, stopping 31 shots and allowing just one goal, which came with the Blues on the power play. His play in the third period opened the door for the Canucks to deliver the nails in the coffin.

1st Period

The Canucks wasted no time in opening the scoring with Chris Higgins opening the scoring for the Canucks just 41 seconds into the game. Alex Burrows came in to force a turnover while the Blues defensemen were in the midst of a change. Burrows capitalized and delivered a shot on net which deflected off Jake Allen. Higgins was right there to deliver the rebound goal.

The Blues were the first to go to the power play as Brad Richardson was sent off for hooking. Despite being one of the best teams in the league thus far coming into this game (30%, T-2nd), you wouldn’t know it after their first 5-on-4 advantage. For almost the whole duration of the power play, the Canucks controlled possession of the puck, drawing the boo birds from the stands.

Richardson came out of the box and almost gave the Canucks a 2-0 lead, but Allen stopped the 2-on-1 rush with a miraculous diving save.

Not that it was hard to do in the first place, but the Canucks did improve defensively during the opening period this time around, allowing just three shots during the first fifteen minutes. The bulk of the pressure the Blues were able to apply came late in the period when Higgins and Kevin Bieksa were sent off for roughing. David Backes was also in the sin bin for his role in a scrum that Bieksa got into, giving the Blues some extra space for a 4-on-3 advantage. The Canucks managed to kill off the penalty to go into the first intermission with a 1-0 lead.

2nd Period

Early in the second period, Kevin Bieksa’s offensive decisions almost cost the Canucks a goal. Bieksa came in with an open look at the net, but hesitated and turned the puck over as a result. The Blues charged down the ice with a 2-on-1 chance, but Bieksa was able to hustle back and break up the play.

After pressuring the Canucks to start the second period, the Blues finally beat Miller on the power play with a goal from Kevin Shattenkrik on the 13th shot of the game. But hey, against Dallas, Miller gave up five goals on 13 shots. Progress!
Chris Higgins had an opportunity to strike again as he broke free on a breakaway, but couldn’t get control of the puck well enough to get a clean chance on net as the game remained tied.

The Canucks then had their first power play opportunity and almost took advantage, but had two shots go off the post as the game remained tied. Jake Allen would be bailed out by the post once more before the period came to a close. Meanwhile, Vancouver’s power play woes continued. The Canucks had scored just once in their last 13 power plays coming into tonight.

St. Louis then went right back to the power play as the refs caught the Canucks for too many men on the ice. It wasn’t the first time it happened, but Zack Kassian’s crafty thinking helped avoid the call the first time around. We love our toothless troll.

The Blues had a great chance at a goal when Miller was scrambling to get back and left the wrong side of the net open. Fortunately for the Canucks, Jori Lehtera whiffed on the shot and the game remained tied.

3rd Period

In the third period, Ryan Miller went all sorts of beast mode. With the game tied at 1-1, Miller delivered a miraculous kick save, by far his best stop of the night. On the ensuing rush, Nick Bonino and Alex Burrows rushed up ice as Bonino slipped a shot past Jake Allen to give the Canucks a 2-1 lead. I guess there was nowhere to go but up after the second line’s disastrous night in Dallas, huh?

The Blues would have their fifth power play of the night soon after, but a pair of huge defensive plays helped the Canucks kill off the advantage. First, Chris Higgins got in to break up an opportunity in the slot. Shortly after, Chris Tanev sacrificed his body to block another shot. Ryan Miller earned his paycheck, stopping shot after shot as the Blues kept up the pressure after their power play came to an end.

After surviving an offensive assault from the Blues, it was Vancouver’s turn to go on the power play with eight and a half minutes to go. The Canucks would finally capitalize as Henrik Sedin and Radim Vrbata found Linden Vey in the slot, who snapped a shot by Allen to put the Canucks up 3-1.

HIP HIP…HU-VEY! (Linden Vey puns are the best puns and I will not hesitate to use them for the duration of the season. You’ve been warned.)

The goal took the wind out of the sails for the Blues, who seemed to lose any intensity immediately after. Jannik Hansen added an empty-netter for good measure to ice the game.

Next up for the Canucks

No time for rest as it's off to Denver. The Canucks are right back at it tomorrow night with a matchup against the Colorado Avalanche, who are off to a terrible start with just one win and four points in their first seven games. It's time for the Canucks to smell blood and pounce to pick up two more points before returning home to face the Capitals on Sunday night.