Canucks clobber Canadiens to hit win column
The derisive boos heard at General Motors Place this season were replaced Wednesday night by delirious chants of "Lou."
Roberto (Bobby Lou) Luongo kicked aside 27 of 28 shots and Henrik Sedin had two goals and one assist as the Vancouver Canucks cruised to their first victory, 7-1 over the visiting Montreal Canadiens.
"We needed it badly," Sedin said. "It is only four games into the season, but it was a big game for us."
It was a welcome return to form for Luongo, Vancouver's marquee player but a notoriously slow starter who had yielded 11 goals on 68 shots in his first three starts — all losses.
"We spoke before the game [about] just going out there, just having fun playing our game and not worrying about our record," he said.
"The guys kept their heads where it needed to be, which was on the process on the ice," explained Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault.
The Canucks (1-3-0) faced the spectre of opening a season with four straight losses for the first time in franchise history, but the Canadiens (2-2-0) hadn't won in their last seven visits to Vancouver.
It showed, as Ryan Kesler keyed a three-goal outburst for the Canucks in the first period.
"We lost too many battles, we made too many mistakes and we took too many penalties," Canadiens forward Brian Gionta said.
"If we lose a game because of mistakes that is one thing, but if we lose a game on effort like we did tonight that is not acceptable for us," noted Canadiens forward Mike Cammalleri.
Kesler was sprung on a breakaway and scored on a forehand deke 13:50 into the contest, then earned an assist on Raymond's goal less than three minutes later.
Raymond chipped the puck off the side boards and swooped inside of Maxime Lapierre to slip the puck past Canadiens netminder Carey Price.
Bernier then buried Daniel Sedin's blind backhand pass with 86 seconds left in the period to make it 3-0 Canucks.
Kesler contributed one goal and two assists in the win, Mikael Samuelsson and Alex Burrows later rounded out the scoring, and Daniel Sedin had three assists.
"There were a lot of grumpy people in here after the first three games," Kesler said. "I think we're all winners in here.
"We hate losing and it is finally good to get that win. It was a long three games."
'It is nice to get the bounces'
After Andrei Kostitsyn surprised Luongo on a sharp-angled shot for a power-play goal 3:08 into the second period, Henrik Sedin scored twice in less than four minutes.
First, he potted a rebound after twin brother Daniel's initial shot hit Canadiens defenceman Paul Mara on the rump.
Then, Sedin lifted a backhand over Price on a two-man breakaway for his second goal on the night and third of the season with 4:24 left in the period.
"It is nice to get the bounces," Sedin said. "This is what happens when you put a lot of pucks on net.
"We have been waiting for this. It seems easy when pucks are going in, but this is the way we had been playing in the first three games."
Samuelsson and Burrows scored 19 seconds apart in the third period to complete the carnage.
Price was peppered with 32 shots before being replaced with eight minutes remaining by backup netminder Jaroslav Halak, who stopped all three shots he faced.
"I just battled as hard as I could and sometimes they find the back of the net," Price said.
"We gave him no support back there," pointed out Gionta. "He played well again, but we just gave too many second, third, fourth opportunities in front of the net."
With the files from The Canadian Press