Sedin provided the only goal Vancouver would need and the Canucks clinched first place overall in the NHL with a 3-0 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night.
“It’s been a long 82 games for sure,” Sedin said. “Even though it’s gone by fast, it’s been tough to go through it. But we knew coming in the regular season was not what people would be talking about. Being there last year we knew it was going to be tough to get back to—but now we’re here again and it’s going to be enjoyable.”
The Canucks won the President’s Trophy with 111 points and a 51-22-9 record. They caught a break earlier Saturday when the New York Rangers lost to the Washington Capitals, opening the door for Vancouver to take top spot overall. New York held the advantage on tiebreakers.
“It means we’ve had a good year,” said coach Alain Vigneault. “This group has played some real solid hockey, and been consistent, and for us to win the Presidents’ Trophy again says a lot about the group of people and the equality of the people we have.”
The Canucks assured themselves of home-ice advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs and the Stanley Cup finals—if they get that far.
Edmonton, eliminated from the playoffs weeks ago, finished 32-40-10.
Sedin finally opened the scoring on a power play with 4:13 to go in the second. Burrows passed a rebound to him after Ryan Kesler deflected Alex Edler’s point shot into Dubnyk. It was Sedin’s first goal in 23 games. His last also came against the Oilers in Edmonton on Feb. 19.
Sammy Pahlsson, with his first goal in 14 games, and David Booth, with his first in 11, also scored for the Canucks. Roberto Luongo made 17 saves for his fifth shutout of the season as the Canucks outshot the Oilers 42-17.
The loss spoiled an outstanding effort from Edmonton goaltender Devan Dubnyk.
“I really wanted to win tonight,” Dubnyk said. “I think everybody did. I just wanted to continue to work on the things that have been working for me and make sure I felt good going into the offseason.”
The Canucks needed to get at least a point after St. Louis beat Dallas earlier Saturday, but the outcome remained in doubt until the last 27 minutes.
Luongo, known to struggle when facing few shots, had little activity most of the night, but he still made timely key saves to preserve the win.
With about 2 1/2 minutes left in the second, Luongo denied Ryan Jones on a breakaway, kicking out his left pad.
“The boys played the system to perfection tonight,” said Luongo, who stopped Ryan Jones on a breakaway late in the second. “Barely any scoring chances. We had a ton of shots, great way to finish off the regular season. Now it’s time to move on to the most exciting time of year.”
Pahlsson put the Canucks ahead 2-0 early in the third period, beating Dubnyk with a low slapshot. Booth increased Vancouver’s lead to 3-0 on a power play midway through the third as he broke in alone and deked Dubnyk.
Booth, acquired in October in a trade from Florida, had never reached the playoffs before.
“I’m really excited,” he said. “Now, it’s finally here. My first postseason. I’m really looking forward to it.”
By going pointless, Nugent-Hopkins finished in a tie for top rookie scoring honors with Colorado’s Gabriel Landeskog, who was also blanked Saturday. Landeskog finished with four more goals, but Nugent-Hopkins played 20 fewer games due to injury.
Notes: Vancouver F Daniel Sedin missed his ninth game with a concussion. … Canucks F Zack Kassian remained out with an undisclosed upper-body injury. … Canucks F Mason Raymond missed the game to be with his wife as she delivered their first child. … Nugent-Hopkins would like to play for Canada at the upcoming world championships, if he gets an invitation. Unlike in past seasons, Dubnyk is not sure if he’ll go, because his contract is up for renewal and he is getting married this summer. … Manny Malhotra returned to the Vancouver lineup after being scratched against Calgary on Thursday.