Canucks honour Bourdon with win
The Vancouver Canucks paid tribute to Luc Bourdon the best way they could: with a victory in their first game of the season.
Vancouver skated to a convincing 6-0 win on home ice over the Calgary Flames Thursday on an emotional evening when the Canucks remembered their former teammate.
Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo made 25 saves to earn his 39th career shutout, Alex Burrows scored two goals, and Swedish twins Henrik and Daniel Sedin combined for five points.
Before the game, the Canucks honoured Bourdon, the 21-year-old defenceman whose life ended shortly after he began his promising NHL career.
Bourdon was killed on May 29 when the motorcycle he was driving collided with a transport truck on a road in New Brunswick between the communities of Lameque and Shippagan, his hometown.
The Canucks flew Bourdon's mother, grandmother, uncle, aunt and girlfriend to Vancouver so that they could attend Thursday's pre-game ceremony, which included a heartwarming video (with highlights of Bourdon's junior and NHL career) played on the big screen while musicians Tom Cochrane and Ken Greer of the band Red Rider played their hit song Big League.
Bourdon's last game-worn jersey was also presented to his family, and the Canucks will wear the letters LB on their helmets this season to remember their former teammate.
Earlier in the day, the Canucks unveiled a wall of tribute honouring Bourdon inside the entrance to GM Place.
Bourdon was selected 10th overall by Vancouver in the 2005 NHL draft and played 36 games with the Canucks over two seasons. He helped Canada win back-to-back gold medals at the world junior hockey championships in 2007 and 2008.
Tough to focus on the game
Burrows, Bourdon's best friend on the Canucks, said he felt the presence of his former teammate during the game
"Luc really helped me to get through this tough challenge. He was helping us out tonight, that's for sure," Burrows told Hockey Night in Canada.
Burrows admitted that the first few minutes were pretty hard and that he almost cried while watching the pre-game video tribute.
Canucks defenceman Willie Mitchell said it was tough to focus on the game after the emotional tribute.
"Obviously it hit home. He was a teammate of mine and it was an awful tragedy. It was good to see the fans celebrate his life … how everyone got together and cheered those great moments [of Bourdon's career] that we were all a part of was great," Mitchell said.
The Flames outshot the Canucks in the opening 20 minutes, but it was Vancouver who opened the scoring. Henrik Sedin beat Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff with a wrist shot at 16:25 after collecting a pass from brother Daniel.
Vancouver came out flying at the start of the second period, scoring a pair of goals within two minutes of the start of the frame.
First, Steve Bernier converted a feed pass from Henrik Sedin just 23 seconds into the period, and then Burrows scored on a rebound off a Ryan Kesler shot at 1:57 to stake the Canucks a 3-0 lead.
Burrows sealed the win for Vancouver early in the third period, beating Kiprusoff between the pads with a quick shot from inside the face-off circle.
Matthias Ohlund scored on the power play at 10:27 and Rick Rypien added a shorthanded marker with five minutes left in regulation time to complete the Vancouver rout.
Former Canuck Todd Bertuzzi, who signed with Calgary in the off-season, made his debut in a Flames uniform and was booed by the Vancouver crowd every time he touched the puck.
Flames defenceman Robyn Regehr left the team before the game after his wife went into labour back in Calgary. Regehr and his wife Christina are expecting their first child.
The Flames blue-liner is expected to rejoin the team for Saturday's rematch with the Canucks in Calgary (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 10 p.m. ET).