Sedin’s three points leads Canucks
Daniel Sedin teamed up with his twin brother, Henrik, to take over the NHL scoring lead.
Vancouver teammate Raffi Torres ended a long slump by trying not to imitate him.
Sedin scored twice and added an assist, and Torres ended a 23-game goal drought with a pair of goals to lead the Canucks to a 5-2 win over the slumping Dallas Stars on Saturday night.
Torres, who hadn’t scored since New Year’s Eve, credited a simplified approach for busting his slump, which isn’t easy when you watch the Sedins play.
”Just squeezing the stick a little too tight, but since the (All-Star) break, it’s been focus on trying to get pucks on net, straight lines and don’t make that extra play,” he said. ”It’s tough when you see the twins and what they do, and they make it look so easy. Sometimes you think you got that in your bag, but I’ve got to have a little reality check and just get back to basics.”
Daniel Sedin opened the scoring on a simple play 2:46 in, a sharp-angle shot that caught Andrew Raycroft by surprise and went in off his skates. He added his 32nd of the season 7:39 into the third period to give the Canucks a 3-1 lead in more typical fashion, corralling a long pass from his brother for a partial breakaway and wiring a perfect far-side shot over Raycroft’s shoulder.
”Best players in the league,” Raycroft, who finished with 33 saves, said of the Sedins.
Dallas captain Brenden Morrow cut into the lead with 6:27 left, but Daniel set up Henrik on a three-on-one just over two minutes later.
”You know what they are going to do and they still do it,” Morrow said. ”They are not physical guys, they’re not bigger or faster or stronger, they just think the game. It’s pretty frustrating, but you’ve got to tip the hat to them.”
Henrik’s goal gave Daniel 77 points, two more than Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos for the NHL lead. Henrik, who won the scoring title last season, also had two assists to move into third place in the scoring race with 72 points.
”It would be neat, but it’s nothing you think about,” Henrik said of finishing 1-2 in scoring. ”It’s 20 games (remaining) and a lot of things can happen.”
Daniel echoed those sentiments.
”Right now, it doesn’t mean much,” he said. ”It’s nothing I skate around thinking about. Of course it was would be nice, but there’s a lot of games to go.”
Torres ended his slump early in the second period, and scored again with 3:34 left as the Canucks opened a six-game homestand with a win despite missing five regulars and dressing three rookies on defense. Vancouver moved seven points ahead of Detroit atop the Western Conference, four up on Philadelphia atop the NHL.
”Given our injuries, I thought our guys played pretty well both offensively and defensively,” said Roberto Luongo, who finished with 22 saves.
James Neil also scored and Raycroft made 33 saves for the Stars, who have only one win in nine games to fall into a four-way tie for the final three spots in the Western Conference. Playing without top center Brad Richards (concussion) for a third game and missing forward Jamie Benn for 10, Dallas has fallen five points out of the Pacific Division lead they held most of the season.
”Guys are feeling the pressure of being in a race and not being at your best,” said coach Marc Crawford, who singled out only Morrow and Jamie Langenbrunner for good play. ”When you go through tough times, you can’t just have four or five guys play hard and well.”
Raycroft, who spent last season as Vancouver’s backup, got the start after starter Kari Lehtonen played in all three earlier losses to the Canucks this season — by a combined 15-3 score. The goaltending switch didn’t appear to help early as Sedin opened the scoring on a shot from just about the goal line that somehow went in through Raycroft’s skates.
The Stars, sparked by Morrow’s fight with Torres, tied it at 4:36 with a long wrist shot by Neil. But after Dallas failed to convert a 52-second 5-on-3 advantage midway through the first period, Torres blasted a slap shot past Raycroft from the top of the faceoff circle.
”You can’t give up two bad goals in this league,” Crawford said. ”It’s not acceptable.
NOTES: Daniel Sedin has seven game-winning goals this season, and a franchise-record 51 overall. … It’s the first time the Canucks have swept a season series against Dallas. … Canucks D Dan Hamhuis (concussion) and Keith Ballard (knee sprain) both skated Saturday morning and could return next week.