Canucks return home in fine fashion

HOSEA CHEUNG, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:15 AM ET

Cue Thin Lizzy. The boys are back in town. And oh, they returned in style.

Playing at GM Place for the first time since January 27th, the Canucks hammered the Ottawa Senators 5-1 Saturday and made it look easy.

"We played probably one of our best games of the year tonight," said Roberto Luongo, who made 13 saves for his 35th win of the season. "We're just excited to get back."

Obviously happy to be home, the Canucks came out ready to play.

Vancouver dominated the first period, throwing 17 shots on net while keeping Ottawa to two. But despite the strong showing in the opening frame, Vancouver only turned on the red light once.

Mikael Samuelsson tallied his 29th of the year, extending his goal streak to six games, to give the hosts the first lead.

"Considering that we've been gone so long, we needed something like that," said Alain Vigneault. "Our guys responded with one of our best periods in a long time, took control of the game."

With the amount of chances the Canucks generated in the first, the score could have well been 5-0 if not for Pascal Leclaire, who was stellar early.

And it sparked the Senators - at least briefly.

Jason Spezza scored a highlight-reel goal three minutes into the second to put Ottawa on the scoreboard. He went coast to coast and dangled past Andrew Alberts before going top shelf on Luongo. That 1-1 tie didn't last long.

While killing a Ryan Johnson penalty just over six minutes later, Alex Burrows forced a turnover off Erik Karlsson at the Canucks blueline and scored on the ensuing breakaway for his 31st of the year. It was also his fifth shorthander of the season, tying him with Chicago's Marian Hossa.

Vancouver added two more goals in the second from Samuelsson, who has nine goals in the last six, and Daniel Sedin, who extends his point streak to nine games.

Sami Salo scored the lone goal in the third and the Canucks finished with 35 shots on Leclaire.

With an assist on Burrows' goal, Ryan Kesler extends his point streak to 12 games. Henrik Sedin's helper on his brother's goal puts him in a tie with Trevor Linden for the Canucks' all-time assist record and moves him in fourth on the franchise scoring list.

He also ties the record for most points by a centre in a season.

Kevin Bieksa, who returned to the lineup for the first time since being sidelined at the end of December, played 17:06 and had one shot on net.

Meanwhile, the Canucks play the second leg of their back-to-back Sunday night against division rivals Calgary Flames at GM Place.


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