Vancouver Canucks triumph in home opener
The Vancouver Canucks beat Edmonton 6-2 in their home opener.
The Associated Press and The Vancouver Sun
VANCOUVER, B.C. – Dan Hamhuis and Jannik Hansen scored 18 seconds apart late in the first period Saturday night and the Vancouver Canucks cruised to a 6-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers.
Daniel Sedin, with a goal and an assist, Brad Richardson and Ryan Kesler also scored for the Canucks, who got 21 saves from Roberto Luongo in their home opener.
Jason Garrison added a goal into an empty net, while Henrik Sedin picked up three assists as Vancouver rebounded from Thursday’s season-opening 4-1 road loss to the San Jose Sharks.
Fast, aggressive forechecking and relentless puck pressure in all three zones are hallmarks of first-year Canucks coach John Tortorella, and it was all on display against the Oilers.
“That’s the way we want to play,” Kesler said. “That’s the way we want to continue to play and we want to enforce that on other teams. We want to do that every night. We want to win that way.”
Henrik Sedin added, “We were aggressive, we put a lot of pressure on their defensemen. We didn’t really play this way for the last couple of years. We were sitting back a little bit more and played a little more on the safe side.”
Jeff Petry and Boyd Gordon scored for Edmonton. Devan Dubnyk allowed five goals on 31 shots before being replaced in the second period by Jason LaBarbera. The Oilers backup finished with 12 saves.
After the teams exchanged goals in the first four minutes, the Canucks carried the play for the rest of the period, with Hamhuis and Hansen beating Dubnyk in quick succession to give Vancouver a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes.
Hamhuis made the score 2-1 with a shot from just inside the Edmonton blue line that took a deflection off Petry’s stick with 1:33 left.
The fans at Rogers Arena had barely sat down from celebrating that goal when Hansen, who took the spot of the injured Alexandre Burrows on Vancouver’s top line, beat Dubnyk from the slot to give his team a 3-1 edge at 18:45 as Vancouver closed out the period with a 22-8 shots advantage.
Late in the first period, there was a verbal exchange between Tortorella and Oilers assistant coach Keith Acton.
“I just think that a coach shouldn’t be yelling at an opposing team’s players, and that’s what was happening,” Tortorella was quoted as saying in The Vancouver Sun.
“He’s yapping at my players and I can’t sit there and watch that.”
The Canucks made the score 4-1 on the power play at 7:21 of the second on a picture-perfect passing play. Vancouver defenseman Alexander Edler fed Henrik Sedin, who in turn found his twin Daniel with a no-look spin-o-rama pass in front of Dubnyk.
Vancouver continued its offensive run at 13:56 when Kesler ripped a shot past Dubnyk from the top of the faceoff circle. That spelled the end of the night for the Edmonton goaltender.
The move gave the Oilers some life and Gordon made the score 5-2 off an odd-man rush at 15:23, but Edmonton — with first-year coach Dallas Eakins — still trailed by three goals after two periods.