Demitra, Luongo help Canucks finish successful homestand - The Hockey News on Sports Illustrated

Demitra, Luongo help Canucks finish successful homestand

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Ticker) -- Pavol Demitra's return

could not have gone better.

Demitra recorded three assists and Robert Luongo stopped 28

shots as the Vancouver Canucks posted a 4-2 victory over the

Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.

Kyle Wellwood, Ryan Kesler, defenseman Willie Mitchell and

Daniel Sedin all tallied for the Canucks, who finished their

season-high six-game homestand at 4-1-1 despite being outshot,


They got a big boost from Demitra, who returned after missing 10

games with a rib cartilage injury.

"It's always nice to get a couple of points and win the game and

build your confidence right away," Demitra said.

"For a player that had missed 10 games, obviously he really

helped us offensively," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said.

Luongo, who had his franchise-record shutout streak snapped at

242 minutes, 36 seconds on Wednesday, looked as though he would

record his fourth blanking in five games until he was beaten

twice late.

"We've got the best goalie in the league, and that always

helps," Demitra said. "I think it's so frustrating for every

single team to go against Louie. He's unbelievable, and he gave

us a chance to win the game."

Luongo turned the focus toward Demitra, however.

"He is one of the most skilled players I have seen," the captain

said. "He sees the ice well and he's got a good shot, and he's

got a full package."

Blue-liner Ian White and Matt Stajan scored less than three

minutes apart in the latter stages of the third period for

Toronto, which has lost five of seven.

"They played really tight," White said. "There wasn't a whole

lot of room to maneuver out there. They probably loosened up a

bit once they were comfortable with the lead, and that probably

helped us, but we were fighting it pretty bad."

Vancouver jumped all over goaltender Vesa Toskala and led, 4-0,

after two periods.

Wellwood and Kesler staked the Canucks to a 2-0 lead in the

first. Wellwood scored his seventh of the season at 7:13, and

Kesler doubled the advantage during a power play with 1:58


Mitchell one-timed a pass from Alex Burrows past Toskala at 3:35

of the second to make it 3-0, and Sedin tipped in a feed from

defenseman Lawrence Nycholat at 8:31 for a four-goal bulge.

That spelled the end of the night for Toskala, who stopped just

five shots. Curtis Joseph came on and turned away all six shots

he faced.

"I actually felt really good, that might be what (stinks) most,"

Toskala said. "I wasn't able to help the team more than that.

They got a good scoring chance and they just put the puck in."

The Maple Leafs rallied late, as White beat Luongo between the

pads with 5:07 left and Stajan scored a power-play goal 2:37


"Obviously, we know (Luongo's) there, but I think you just focus

more on getting more traffic," Stajan said. "But we've been

doing that all year, that's why we've been scoring goals -

getting traffic, getting rebounds. We know we have to do that.

It's too bad we didn't get one earlier there because it could

have been a different game."