Canucks 5, Senators 1

Home never felt so good for the Canucks.

Mikael Samuelsson scored twice and added an assist, and the

Vancouver Canucks returned home to GM Place after playing an

NHL-record 14 straight on the road to beat the Ottawa Senators 5-1

on Saturday night.

“We were just excited to get back,” Roberto Luongo said after

making 13 saves. “It’s been such a long time that we haven’t

played here and guys were just excited to play in front of the home

fans.”

Samuelsson picked up where he left off at the end of a six-week

road trip made necessary because Vancouver hosted the 2010

Olympics. He extended his scoring streak to six games with a power

play goal late in the first period, and added his ninth goal of the

run – and 30th of the season – on a partial breakaway midway

through the second to make it 3-1.

“When you score some goals, you see a lot of net and I do right

now,” Samuelsson said. “I’ve scored five in a row (before), but

nothing like this.”

Samuelsson, who was left off Sweden’s Olympic team despite

playing well with Daniel and Henrik Sedin en route to the 2006 gold

medal, now has seven goals in 10 periods since being moved onto the

Canucks’ top line with the identical twins.

“No secret those two guys are really good, they find each other

really good and right now I try to stay open and get the puck once

in a while,” Samuelsson said of playing with the Sedins. “We

think the game in the same way.”

Alex Burrows broke a 1-1 tie on a short-handed breakaway 9:12

into the second period, and Daniel Sedin made it 4-1 on a power

play with 3:53 left.

Sami Salo rounded out the scoring on a delayed penalty in the

third and Vancouver improved to 5-1-1 in its last seven games and

24-7-1 at home.

“Probably one of our best games of the year tonight,” Luongo

said.

Jason Spezza scored, and Pascal Leclaire made 30 saves for

Ottawa, which has lost five of six since the Olympic break after

winning 14 of 16 going into it.

“I don’t know what to say about that effort,” coach Cory

Clouston said. “They played like it was a playoff game and we

weren’t ready to step our game up.”

Playing at home for the first time since Jan. 27, the Canucks

didn’t look at all road weary, outshooting the Senators 17-2 in the

opening period and taking the lead on Samuelsson’s power play goal

with 2:14 left.

It could have been a lot worse if not for Leclaire.

He made several great saves, including a stellar sliding right

pad stop on Ryan Kesler’s one-timer after a 2-on-1 feed with 6:21

left in the period.

“We knew they were going to come out hard,” Leclaire said.

“They’ve been away from home for such a long time with all the

Olympic stuff and they are a pretty good team when they get

going.”

Samuelsson finally beat Leclaire with a wrist shot over the

glove from the slot, but Leclaire robbed Daniel Sedin from the same

spot on another power play in the final minute and somehow gloved

Henrik Sedin’s screen shot at the buzzer.

It seemed to give the Senators life early in the second

period.

Ottawa had the first eight shots, and Spezza walked around

defenseman Andrew Alberts off the rush and snapped a quick shot

past Luongo to tie it 3 minutes in.

The Senators, whose only two shots of the first period were on a

power play, had a chance to go ahead on their first advantage of

the second. Instead Burrows scored his fifth short-handed goal of

the season – tying him for the NHL lead – on the Canucks’ first

shot of the period.

“After that, we’re not even in the game,” Spezza said.

Samuelsson’s second goal came 2 minutes later, and he had a

chance for his second hat trick in three games, but was turned away

on a 3-on-2 before setting up Salo’s goal on the rebound.

“He’s scoring in bunches right now,” Henrik Sedin said about

Samuelsson. “We knew each other from before and he’s not a tough

guy to play with.”

NOTES: Kesler extended his points streak to 12 games (5 goals, 9

assists) by setting up Burrows’ breakaway. Daniel Sedin has two

goals and 12 assists in a nine-game streak. … Spezza’s goal was

his first in six games since the Olympics after going into the

break with 10 in 11 games. … Canucks D Kevin Bieksa returned

after missing 25 games with lacerated ankle tendons that required

surgery.