Canucks dominate Leafs in gritty affair

Gord McIntyre, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella joked Saturday night that the brawls at Rangers-Islanders games in New York happen in the stands, not on the ice, when he coached in Manhattan.
That is usually the case at Rogers Arena, as well, when the Toronto Maple Leafs come to town.
Saturday's chippy, hard-fought affair, ended with the Canucks coming out on top 4-0 over the Leafs.
The tone was set in the first period, with the hard-charging Canucks all over the visitors.
"I thought that was one of the better periods we've played," Tortorella said. "It was a hard period, a lot of stuff was going on and we backed each other up.
"Toronto is a good team and we played the way we need to play."
Vancouver outshot the visitors 47-21.
"We wanted to come out hard," Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa said. "We didn't play well our last home game and we wanted a gritty start against Toronto.
"We haven't been good at that lately."
Roberto Luongo, a favorite to start in goal for Canada at the 2014 Winter Olympics, stopped 18 shots for his second shutout of the season.
The Canucks power play ranked second-worst in the league heading in and was just 2 of 31 the previous 13 games. It wasn't much better Saturday, going 1 of 9, but it did produce the opening goal.
Daniel Sedin got credit eight seconds into a power play after his brother Henrik put a high shot at Toronto goaltender James Reimer at 6:03 of the first period with Toronto's Nazem Kadri in the penalty box for hooking.
The Canucks took advantage of a Leafs turnover to go up 2-0 just 2:07 into the second period. Canucks winger Zack Kassian's skate made hard contact in the corner with Leafs center Dave Bolland, who fell to the ice and would need help getting off. Kassian took advantage to move to the slot and buried a pass from Brad Richardson behind the Leafs net.
Bolland was wheeled out of Rogers Arena on a stretcher, his lower left leg wrapped. He is scheduled to have surgery Sunday.
"I never saw it," Toronto coach Randy Carlyle said when asked if it was a clean play. "I know Kassian went into the corner to finish his check. I can't comment any further."
Carlyle said it was the Leafs' worst performance of the season.
For the third straight game, Toronto gave up 40-plus shots. The Leafs held the opposition to under 35 shots just once in their past nine games.
"That's a theme for us and we're not happy about it," Carlyle said.
Vancouver went up 3-0 just over five minutes into the second period by turning a faceoff in their own zone into a 2-on-1 break.
Chris Higgins beat Reimer with a wrist shot from the faceoff dot.
"They came at us hard," Reimer said. "For us, it was not our sharpest game."
Luongo did not have much work, but he had to be sharp a couple of times when the game was still close.
Toronto sniper Phil Kessel, who had nine goals in his previous 14 games, had a chance to put the Leafs on the scoreboard at 14:21 of the second with a quick shot from the center hash marks, but was stoned by Luongo's right pad.
The goalie also made a superb glove stab of a James van Riemsdyk shot from in close and to the side of the net.
The Canucks registered the game's first 11 shots before the Leafs finally got a puck to Luongo. Vancouver finished with a 46-19 shot advantage.
The Leafs wrapped up a road trip through Western Canada by going 2-1. The loss ended Toronto's win streak at three, while the Canucks won for the fifth time in six games.
NOTES: The start of the game was delayed 25 minutes while the Canucks raised Hall of Famer Pavel Bure's No. 10 to the rafters. Bure had 254 goals and 478 points in 428 games as a Canucks winger. Until RW Alex Ovechkin recently scored 30 goals in 30 games, Bure had been the last player to achieve that feat, in 2001 with the Florida Panthers. ... C Henrik Sedin recorded a point in his 11th straight game, the longest points streak in the NHL so far this season. It was also Sedin's 645th straight game, one off the longest active ironman streak. ... Entering the game, RW Ryan Kesler, RW Henrik Sedin and LW Daniel Sedin were first, second and fourth in ice time among forwards. ... Maple Leafs rookie D Morgan Rielly made his hometown NHL debut. The 19-year-old from West Vancouver, drafted fifth overall in 2012, was a healthy scratch for the first two games this season, but has since dressed for 13 straight games. Heading into the game, Rielly was averaging 18:07 of ice time. ... It was also LW Mason Raymond's first visit to Rogers Arena since the Canucks let him depart as a free agent this summer. The forward had 178 points in 374 games as a Canuck.

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