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Hats All Around For Vrbata

Man was it sure great seeing Mo, Bert, and Nazzy back together as the Vancouver Canucks celebrated the West Coast Express as part of their #20in20 celebration.

The trio of Brendan Morrison, Markus Naslund, and Todd Bertuzzi electrified the Vancouver fans night in and night out from 2002 to 2006, and absolutely struck fear in the heart off opposing players, coaches, and fans.

On Monday night Radim Vrbata scored his first hat trick since joining the Vancouver Canucks as a free agent before last season to help end a five-game losing streak with a 5-2 win against the Buffalo Sabres at Rogers Arena.

Ryan Miller was slotted in net against his former team, and had a strong outing posting a 32 save effort to deliver the win.

The Buffalo Sabres opened the scoring first as captain Brian Gionta scored his third goal of the season at the 6:48 mark of the first period to give the road team a 1-0 lead.

The Canucks had only three wins in their previous sixteen games (3-9-4) prior to Monday night and when asked before the game what their issue was Willie Desjardin said it comes down to confidence.

“It comes to confidence,” Desjardins said. “You get a heavy schedule and things don’t go quite right and then you start second guessing and you just want to make sure. And as soon as you take that half a second to make sure, you’ve lost it.”

With the trio of Morrison, Naslund, and Bertuzzi in the building, Desjardin was hoping his team could feed off the energy, and it definitely seemed like they did.

Down 1-0 the Canucks stormed back courtesy of Radim Vrbata.

Vrbata tied it 80 seconds after Gionta’s goal when the Sabres failed to clear a puck at their blue line. It ended up bouncing to Chris Higgins in the slot, and his shot from Linus Ullmark’s left went off the right pad and straight to Vrbata in the slot for his first goal in six games.

He followed that goal up with his eighth goal of the year after he deflected a Dan Hamhuis shot at the 16:42 mark of the first period.

In the second period Brandon Prust made it 3-1 at 4:34 of the second period after a nice spin move and pass from Derek Dorsett behind the net. Prust one-timed it between Linus Ullmark’s legs. He would end up making 26 on the night.

Before the end of the second period, Henrik Sedin would make it 4-1 at 17:18 getting his ninth on the year on the power play.

In the third Sam Reinhart would close the gap to 4-2, 1:51 into the third period after receiving the pass from Ryan O’Reilly.

To complete the scoring for the home side Vrbata took a pass from Adam Cracknell out of the corner and quickly put a low shot past Linus Ullmark’s blocker from the right faceoff circle with 5:32 remaining in the game for his first hat trick as a Vancouver Canuck.

In their previous three games, the Canucks were limited to 20 shots on goal or less while tonight they will able to successfully get 31.

Up Next: The Canucks host the New York Rangers Wednesday night.

Image via: Vancouver Canucks

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