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Canucks win home opener over Oilers

The SportsXchange

VANCOUVER -- Daniel and Henrik Sedin gift-wrapped a win for new Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella in his regular-season home debut Saturday night.

Daniel Sedin scored a goal and added an assist, and his twin brother furnished three helpers as the Canucks beat the Edmonton Oilers 6-2 at Rogers Arena.

"It was a good game overall," said Daniel Sedin. "They didn't really push that hard, but we had a pretty good game defensively there, too."

The Canucks (1-1) posted their first victory while keeping the Oilers winless after two games in the young NHL season.

Brad Richardson, Dan Hamhuis, Jannik Hansen, with the goal that proved to be the winner, Ryan Kesler and Jason Garrison, into an empty net, also scored for the Canucks, who enjoyed a 44-23 edge in shots.

"We want to win that way every night, and it was good to see us get a couple shorthanded and one on the power play," said Kesler, who got off to a good start after two injury-plagued seasons delayed his debuts in 2011-12 and the lockout-shortened 2013 campaign.

The Canucks converted 1 of 6 power plays while the Oilers were blanked on two. Vancouver also scored twice while shorthanded.

Jeff Petry and Boyd Gordon tallied for the Oilers.

"If you're not going to battle, or win battles or compete like every shift is your last one, you're not going to win in this league," said Edmonton coach Dallas Eakins. "That was very evident tonight for our team."

Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo, known for slow starts to the season, picked up the win. Edmonton starting goaltender Devan Dubnyk bore the loss while playing just over half the game before being pulled.

"I thought, as a group, this was probably one of the best games I've seen this team play in a long time," said Luongo. "For 60 minutes, it was hard. We sustained pressure the whole game. So it was really nice to see from my angle that we were able to ride, really take it to them pretty much the whole game."

The game got off to a testy start as Hansen and Edmonton defenseman Brad Ference tussled in the corner before a face-off and drew roughing penalties just 1:02 into the first period. With the teams playing four on four, Petry put in Edmonton's first shot of the game.

But the Canucks replied with Richardson's marker on a shorthanded breakaway just 44 seconds later.

Vancouver dominated play for the rest of the first period, but Dubnyk was unbeatable until the final two minutes. Hamhuis, on a shot that Dubnyk misplayed, and Hansen scored 18 second apart to put the Canucks ahead 3-1 by the 18:45 mark.

Hansen's goal came while playing on Vancouver's top line with the Sedins, who both assisted on the goal. Alex Burrows' foot injury created an opening for Hansen, who had a strong while also playing on other lines later.

Daniel Sedin ended what little doubt was left about the outcome as he extended Vancouver's lead to 4-1 on a power play at 7:21 of the second period. He put in a nifty backhand pass from his twin brother.

Kesler's goal at 13:56 of the middle frame, with the teams playing four on four with Hansen in the penalty box again for another scuffle, this time with David Peron, spelled the end of Dubnyk's night. The Edmonton starting goaltender finished with 26 saves on 31 shots.

Jason LaBarbera, a former Canuck, replaced Dubnyk and stopped all 12 shots he faced.

Tortorella was "pretty satisfied" with his club's consistent attack. Although Tortorella has tried to present a new, more gentle image after being fired by the New York Rangers at the end of last season, he displayed some of his famous temper. He and Oilers assistant coach Keith Acton waged a war of words after Kesler fought Will Acton.

Acton the player is the Edmonton assistant's son.

"I just think a coach shouldn't be yelling at opposing team players," said Tortorella. "That's what was happening. He was yapping at my players. I can't sit there and watch that."

NOTES: The Canucks lost Burrows for at least two weeks. He was hurt while blocking a shot in their season opener Thursday in San Jose. Burrows was spotted wearing a walking boot Saturday. ... The Canucks do not plan to call anyone up from the minors to fill Burrows' roster spot. ... Canucks RW Zack Kassian served the second of a five-game suspension for a reckless high stick on Oilers C Sam Gagner during the pre-season. Gagner remains out with a broken jaw. ... The game marked the third time in 43 seasons the Canucks have played a home opener against Edmonton. The last one was in 1992. ... Edmonton C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, recuperating from shoulder surgery that he underwent in April, is slated to play his first game Monday against New Jersey.
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