The Vancouver Canucks kept it close, then pounced.
Daniel Sedin scored a power-play goal 46 seconds into overtime to give the Canucks a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night in a matchup for first place in the Western Conference.
The Canucks prevailed despite getting outshot 33-21 by the upstart Blues, who have missed the playoffs five of the past six seasons. The shot total matched a season low for Vancouver, second in the NHL with 33 road points.
”It’s a sign of a good team when you can have so-so games and still come out on the right side,” Sedin said.
Alexandre Burrows had two goals and drew the decisive penalty for the Canucks, who have an NHL-best 59 points – three more than St. Louis. David Backes was whistled for boarding with 19.9 seconds to go in regulation, and the Blues were in disarray in overtime after defenseman Roman Polak broke his stick shortly before Sedin beat Brian Elliott from the right faceoff dot.
”Their guy went to get his stick, and it opened up a passing lane from Hank (Sedin) to me,” Sedin said. ”It wasn’t the best shot, but we’ll take it.”
Forward T.J. Oshie gave his stick to Polak but stayed on the ice for several seconds before responding to calls from the bench waving him over. Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said it was the wrong move, but didn’t blame Oshie.
”We don’t want to do it 4-on-3,” Hitchcock said. ”He shouldn’t have been called off.”
Jason Arnott scored both goals for the Blues, who lead the Central Division by a point, despite the end of a four-game winning streak. Hitchcock thought Burrows was a fine actor, and added from his viewpoint Burrows had turned so hadn’t been checked from behind.
”I didn’t agree with the penalty at all, not one bit,” Hitchcock said. ”I saw what I saw. A hockey play.”
Snow and icy conditions likely prevented a sellout with attendance of 18,231 less than 1,000 shy of capacity.
The goal was the 700th career NHL point for Daniel Sedin, who assisted on the Canucks’ first goal.
Henrik Sedin had two assists, including one on his twin brother’s game-winner. Alex Edler also had two assists for Vancouver, which wrapped up a 3-1 trip with the next six at home. It was a grueling stretch, with four games in six days.
Arnott and Burrows both posted their first two-goal game of the season. Arnott has scored in three straight games, and Burrows has four goals in five games.
All of the Blues thought they should have scored a lot more.
”We’ve got to learn to play with a lead,” Arnott said. ”It hasn’t been our positive suit this year, but we’re getting better at it. Hopefully it continues, we learn from this and move on.”
Early pressure by the Canucks led to Burrows’ first goal off assists from both Sedins, which snapped St. Louis’ shutout streak at 148 minutes, 54 seconds. The Blues beat Montreal 3-0 and Colorado 4-0 in their two previous games, with Elliott and Jaroslav Halak both having shutouts.
The Blues tied it a minute later when Arnott tapped the puck into an empty net off a pass from Jamie Langenbrunner. St. Louis then took the lead early in the second after Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo made a mistake. After stopping Arnott’s drive, Luongo whirled as if uncertain of the puck’s location, and dropped it into the net.
”As I turned around to try to find it I saw it behind the goal line,” Luongo said. ”I think it might have gotten caught in my jersey or trickled down my back, I’m not sure exactly.”
Burrows scored his 18th goal on a deflection of Edler’s shot from the point at 17:52, and Luongo kept it tied, stopping short-handed breakaways by Backes and T.J. Oshie near the end of the second.
NOTES: Wayne Gretzky, who played for the Blues at the end of the 1995-96 season, watched the first period from the third row just behind the St. Louis net. He was in town to visit family. … Blues D Alex Pietrangelo has eight points during a career-best, five-game point streak. … Blues F Alex Steen missed his seventh game because of concussion-like symptoms but is expected back in the lineup Saturday against Minnesota. … The Canucks lead the NHL with 50 first-period goals.