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Vancouver at St. Louis

Canucks sink Blues to take commanding 3-0 series lead

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ST. LOUIS -- Roberto Luongo carried the Vancouver Canucks for two games. Their special teams helped them take a 3-0 series lead against the St. Louis Blues.

The Canucks scored three power-play goals, including Steve Bernier's go-ahead score early in the third period, while again stifling the Blues' chances with the man advantage in a 3-2 victory Sunday night.

  Series: Canucks 3, Blues 0 | Goldstein: Vancouver pours it on

"It was a huge difference," Luongo said. "We got some big goals and we killed some big ones off."

Vancouver, the third seed in the Western Conference, silenced a standing-room crowd of 19,500 for the Blues' first home playoff game in five seasons. The Canucks can finish off the sixth-seeded Blues in Game 4 on Tuesday night in St. Louis, but were far from cocky about the possibility of a sweep.

"It's 3-0 and I think we still have to get to four," Luongo said. "So we've got a big one left to win and by no means are we going to think it's over.

"Those guys are not going to quit and we've got to make sure we bear down."

Coach Alain Vigneault said the Canucks got to this point by turning the other cheek instead of retaliating.

"Our guys have been taking a lot of cheap shots so far during this series," Vigneault said. "To respond with three goals on the power play is pretty satisfying."

Andy McDonald, frequently frustrated by Luongo the first two games, finally broke through to tie it at 2 in the second period for the Blues, and added an assist. But St. Louis was shut out on six power plays, especially squandering early chances to seize control, and is 1-for-17 in the series.

"We look tight and nervous on the power play," coach Andy Murray said. "We've had over five minutes of 5-on-3 in this series and really have not been the threat that we want to be. We probably had four or five good chances on the 5-on-3, but that's not good enough against this goaltender."

Mattias Ohlund and Daniel Sedin also scored power-play goals for the Canucks, who were strong the last two periods after mustering five shots and trailing 1-0 after the first. And Luongo, who allowed one goal on 56 shots the first two games, made 24 saves and was good enough even if he wasn't the star that prompted a fans' "LuonGO Home" sign.

The go-ahead goal was a bit of a fluke, keyed by Sami Salo's wide shot from the point that took a lively bounce off the end boards and right to Henrik Sedin, who redirected the puck to Bernier alone in front of the net for an easy tap-in at 41 seconds of the third. Bernier scored his second career playoff goal in 26 games.

"I just had to put it in," Bernier said. "A great feeling. It was nice execution by everybody."

The Blues' B.J. Crombeen was whistled for roughing at the end of the second period after charging into a scrum, putting his team at a disadvantage when play resumed.

"It's my own stupidity that put us down and ended up costing us the game," Crombeen said. "I didn't control my emotions enough."

The Canucks also capitalized on the Blues' lack of discipline at the start of the second period, scoring a pair of power-play goals in a span of 2:25 to take their first lead.

Murray used his timeout after Ohlund's shot from the right point squirted between Chris Mason's pads at 7:53. But Jay McClement was whistled for holding the stick about a half-minute later, his second straight trip to the penalty box, and Daniel Sedin poked in the go-ahead goal just before a flailing Mason could glove the puck at 10:18.

The Blues were outshot 11-3 the first 12-plus minutes of the period before rallying on McDonald's tying goal at 16:13. McDonald banged three shots off the goal post or crossbar in the Canucks' 3-0 Game 2 victory, also Luongo's first career playoff shutout, before finally beating the goalie off a blistering cross-ice feed from David Perron to tie it at 16:13.

David Backes' first goal in six games gave the Blues their first lead of the series. McDonald got the puck in deep after passing off the boards to himself, and Backes scored off Brad Boyes' feed from behind the net at 3:11 of the first.

St. Louis missed many more chances, though, totaling just three shots in 6:34 of power play time while rarely getting a chance to set up shop in the offensive zone. That included 1:26 with a two-man advantage after Willie Mitchell was whistled for a double minor midway through the period.

"To get that lead, to keep the crowd energized, was huge," Backes said. "A few other chances that we don't throw in the back of the net, and it ends up biting us in the butt."

Notes

  • Blues F Yan Stastny skated in the pregame after being recalled from Peoria (AHL) earlier in the day, but was among the scratches.
  • The Canucks scratched C Mats Sundin, who got the first goal in Vancouver's 3-0 Game 2 victory but has been nursing a groin injury. Sundin practiced Saturday before the flight to St. Louis. Vigneault said Sundin's status is "day to day" heading into Game 4.
  • Backes had five goals in two games earlier this month, including four against the Red Wings on April 2, but had been limited to one assist in his previous five games.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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The Canucks' Mattias Ohlund is all fired up after scoring a power-play goal in the second period.  (AP)
The Canucks' Mattias Ohlund is all fired up after scoring a power-play goal in the second period. (AP)

Scoreboard
Vancouver  (3-0) «0213
St. Louis (0-3)1102
Three Stars
D. Sedin
VAN


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
A. McDonald
STL


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1
S. Bernier
VAN


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
03:11David Backes (1), Wrist Shot. Assist: Boyes, McDonald
2ND PERIOD
07:57Power Play - Mattias Ohlund (1), Wrist Shot. Assist: Edler, Wellwood
10:18Power Play - Daniel Sedin (2), Wrist Shot. Assist: Salo, Bieksa
16:13Andy McDonald (1), Snap Shot. Assist: Perron, Backes
3RD PERIOD
01:41Power Play - Steve Bernier (1), Slap Shot. Assist: Sedin, Salo
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
05:29Ohlund, 2 min, Cross-Checking
10:33Sedin, 2 min, High-Sticking
11:07Backes, 2 min, Roughing
11:07Mitchell, 2 min, Roughing
11:07Mitchell, 4 min, High-Sticking
16:03Crombeen, 2 min, Roughing
16:03Bieksa, 2 min, Slashing
2ND PERIOD
07:22McClement, 2 min, Slashing
08:30Crombeen, 2 min, Slashing
09:21McClement, 2 min, Holding the Stick
20:00Crombeen, 2 min, Roughing
3RD PERIOD
06:47Kesler, 2 min, Tripping
07:44Mitchell, 2 min, High-Sticking
19:53Backes, 2 min, Cross-Checking
19:53Backes, 2 min, Roughing
Shots On Goal
 123T
Vancouver513826
St. Louis127726
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Roberto Luongo60:00242
Chris Mason58:36233
Power Play Conversions
Power Play
Vancouver3-for-5
St. Louis0-for-6
Game Information
Attendance - 19500
Referees - Bill McCreary, Brad Meier
Linesmen - Scott Driscoll, Mark Wheler
 
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