Richardson's 3 points lift Lack, Canucks over Pens
Dec. 05, 2014
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Vancouver Canucks are having fun on their longest road trip of the season.
That is more than can be said right now for the injury-riddled Pittsburgh Penguins.
Brad Richardson scored two goals and added an assist, and backup goalie Eddie Lack posted his fifth NHL shutout to lift the Canucks to another road win, 3-0 over the short-handed Penguins on Thursday night.
"It seems like we've been on the road for a month," Richardson said. "It's definitely nice to have some team bonding here and there, but if you want to be at the top of the standings, you have to play well home and road."
The Canucks have taken care of business on the road.
Vancouver, in the midst of a season-high, seven-game trip, won its league-best 11th road game. The Canucks, who have won five of six overall, beat the Penguins in Pittsburgh for the first time since Nov. 22, 2008.
"I feel like we're coming together as a hockey team," Lack said. "Everything's going good right now. We just have to keep improving."
Richardson scored his fifth and sixth goals, and Shawn Matthias also netted his sixth and added an assist for the Canucks, who hadn't defeated Pittsburgh anywhere in four years.
Lack stopped 21 shots for his first shutout and second win of the season.
"(Lack) has been sitting out a while, so you think about a lot of things," said Canucks' first-year coach Willie Desjardins, who turned down an opportunity to coach the Penguins during the offseason.
"Coming into (Pittsburgh) against (the Penguins) has to be a good confidence booster. More than getting the shutout, is how he played to get it. He was solid."
Thomas Greiss made 28 saves for Pittsburgh and took the loss in his first home start.
Vancouver took advantage of Pittsburgh's patchwork lineup, scoring once in the first period and pulling away with a pair of goals during the second when the Canucks carried the play. The Penguins were held without a shot for the first 12 minutes of the period.
"The game was basically won in the second period," Penguins coach Mike Johnston said. "(Vancouver) had a very good period and took over the game."
The Penguins, already without several regulars, lost another top-line winger when Patric Hornqvist left with an upper-body injury midway through the second after Canucks' D Ryan Stanton hit him with a shoulder at center ice. Hornqvist, second on the team with 11 goals, didn't return. Johnston didn't provide an update on his condition.
It was another setback to a team already without Pascal Dupuis (blood clots) for the season and Chris Kunitz, who is out at least two weeks with a fractured foot. They have a combined 15 goals and 31 points.
Pittsburgh also played without D Kris Letang (groin), Beau Bennett (lower body) and defenseman Robert Bortuzzo, who served the first of a two-game suspension for a hard hit Tuesday on New Jersey Devils forward Jaromir Jagr.
"I just think we need to play better," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. "There's some adversity with injuries, but other than that, we have to make sure we're at our best with whoever is healthy and ready to go."
Richardson opened the scoring at 8:33 of the first, finishing a one-timer from Matthias, who beat defenseman Olli Maatta to a loose puck behind the net.
Pittsburgh nearly tied it on an ensuing power play, but Crosby missed an open net, hitting the post to the far side. Lack later stopped Brandon Sutter on a short-handed partial breakaway.
"It was a momentum shift when (Crosby) missed the back door on the power play," Johnston said. "He had a goal he normally would score."
Instead, Matthias teamed with Richardson again to extend the lead in the second.
Richardson forced Simon Despres into a turnover behind the net and quickly centered to Matthias, who flipped a shot over Greiss' shoulder.
"We had a good forecheck," Matthias said. "We talked about getting pucks behind their defense and pressuring them. That's what we did and we got some goals out of it."
Richardson scored one more two minutes later, taking advantage of Greiss' miscue behind the net. The short-handed goal gave Vancouver a three-goal lead and another road win.
"Everything feels great in the locker room," Lack said. "Everyone's having fun right now."
NOTES: It was the first time in four games the teams didn't play to a shootout. ... Penguins RW Craig Adams played in his 313th consecutive game, tying Ron Schock for the longest streak in team history. ... The Canucks continue their trip Saturday at Toronto, while Pittsburgh will host Ottawa.