Sedin, Canucks open homestand in style
Daniel Sedin scored a hat trick to help the Vancouver Canucks open a key stretch of home games with a convincing 4-2 win over the Atlanta Thrashers on Thursday night.
Sedin's three goals doubled his output on the season. The Canucks' leader in that department each of the last three years, Sedin missed 18 games with a broken foot suffered in Vancouver's fourth game.
Looks like he's back at full health — the hat trick extended the slick winger's points streak to five games, a span in which he has five goals and nine points.
Sedin's big performance came at a great time for Vancouver (17-14-0), which desperately wanted to begin its season-high eight-game homestand on a high note.
The Canucks were coming off consecutive losses in Carolina and Nashville that dropped them to 10th in the Western Conference — a troubling position considering they won't play at home from Jan. 30 to March 10, a span that includes 14 consecutive road contests wrapped around the Olympic break.
Mason Raymond had the fourth Canucks goal, and Roberto Luongo made 22 saves to help Vancouver improve to 11-4-0 at GM Place, site of the men's hockey tournament for February's Winter Games.
Henrik Sedin assisted on two of his twin brother's goals to reach 38 points. That's the third-most in the NHL, and just four off Joe Thornton's league-leading total.
"Every time they're on the ice, you have to be careful because those two guys are [two] of the best players in the NHL," said Thrashers goalie Ondrej Pavelec, who gave up four goals on the first 12 shots before stopping the final 27.
Atlanta's Nik Antropov scored in the first period to tie the game at 1-1, but Sedin answered near the end of the frame and again early in the second to complete the hat trick. Those goals weren't pretty — Sedin barely tipped one through netminder Andrej Pavelec, and got credit for the other when his attempted pass to Henrik hit Antropov's stick and went in — but they put Vancouver ahead for good.
"Sometimes you have open nets and you don't score and sometimes these pucks go in, so it evens out, I guess," said Sedin, who wasn't sure if he touched the puck on his second goal before it trickled over the line.
That goal was originally credited to Henrik, but officials corrected it during the intermission. The crowd didn't catch on, so they were slow to toss their hats onto the ice after Daniel's third goal.
"I didn't know what to think," Sedin said. "I was a little unsure there, but it's nice."
Raymond extended the lead to 4-1 just a few minutes before the Thrashers' Colby Armstrong made it a two-goal game with 5:35 left in the second.
Atlanta (15-11-3) was outshot badly over the final two periods en route to finishing its four-game road trip with a third consecutive loss, all in regulation.
With files from The Associated Press