VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — A miserable season for the Vancouver Canucks ended with a scary incident.
Daniel Sedin scored twice before leaving the game on a stretcher after taking a hit from behind as the Canucks wrapped up a disastrous 2013-14 campaign with a 5-1 victory over the Calgary Flames on Sunday night.
The result of a game that meant very little was overshadowed by the nasty incident late in the second period when Sedin was checked in the numbers by Calgary’s Paul Byron and stayed flat on his back. The Canucks confirmed that Sedin, who was moving his fingers immediately after the hit, was taken to a hospital as a precaution and later released.
“I believe he’s OK. He did go to the hospital, precautionary, and the last report I got is he is OK,” Canucks coach John Tortorella said. “You are concerned about the guy. I’m glad he’s OK. When I saw him first go down, it scared me a little bit. That’s the most important thing, it’s not about the damn game, it’s about the kid, but we’ve gotten really good reports.”
Henrik Sedin said he knew something was wrong as soon as his twin brother went down.
“He’s not a guy that stays down or acts hurt,” the Canucks’ captain said. “Especially when you see him lay still and he’s just moving his fingers – then I know he’s concerned so that was when I started feeling worried.”
Byron, who was assessed a major for boarding and a game misconduct, said there was no intent to injure on his part.
“I just saw the puck in the corner. I was trying to finish my check. I saw the replay again. I didn’t think it was a dirty hit,” said Byron, who had just 12 penalty minutes coming in. “It wasn’t my intention. I just hope he’s OK.
“The game is so fast. You have split seconds to make decisions. When you see a guy laying on the ice it’s really scary. You never want to see that.”
Flames coach Bob Hartley had no problem with Byron’s hit.
“In the last game of the season you don’t want anyone injured,” Hartley said. “We all feel it was a hockey play that you see maybe 10 or 15 times a game. Whether he fell awkward in the boards or something like this. Hopefully he is all right.”
As for the game itself, Frank Corrado got his first NHL goal, and Ryan Kesler and Yannick Weber also scored for Vancouver. Jacob Markstrom made 21 saves for his first victory with the Canucks.
Henrik Sedin added two assists for Vancouver, which missed the playoffs for the first time in six years.
“It’s better than getting blown out at home,” Kesler said. “I thought we played hard for the guys in the room and finished on a high note.”
Johnny Gaudreau scored in his first NHL game and Karri Ramo stopped 18 shots for Calgary, which is out of the postseason for the fifth straight year.
Vancouver scored twice in the first period and stretched its lead to 3-0 at 9:12 of the second on Corrado’s first career goal on a shot from the top of the faceoff circle through traffic past Ramo.
“The game was an emotional roller coaster,” Corrado said. “It’s a dream come true and a nice weight lifted off my shoulders.”
Kesler then ripped his 25th of the season at 13:49 to make it 4-0 before Gaudreau scored his first in the NHL at 15:22, when a deflection in front went off his stick and past Markstrom to get Calgary on the board.
The 20-year-old Gaudreau won the Hobey Baker award earlier this week as the top player in U.S. college hockey after the native of Salem, N.J., recorded 35 goals and 42 assists in 39 games this season with Boston College.
“It was good experience to have before next season before I come back to training camp,” he said. “It was fun experience and will help me.”
After Sedin was taken off the ice before the hushed Rogers Arena crowd, Weber scored on the ensuing power play to make it 5-1 at 18:55, with Vancouver rookie Michael Zalewski picking up an assist for his first point in the NHL.
Markstrom, who came over as part of the Roberto Luongo trade with the Florida Panthers last month, made a nice save on Sean Monahan’s breakaway early in the third but had a relatively quiet night.
The Canucks gave up two separate 2-on-1 breaks to the Flames’ fourth line early in the first period but survived that scare to score the opening goal at 7:14. Vancouver’s David Booth, while falling to the ice, swatted at a rebound in front that bounced off Daniel Sedin and past a surprised Ramo.
Markstrom then made a couple of nice saves on a Calgary power play midway through the period before the Canucks doubled their lead at 13:57 on a power play of their own when Sedin chipped home his 16th of the season.It marked Sedin’s first two-goal game of the season and first since Feb. 24, 2013 – a span of 101 games.
NOTES: The Canucks inducted former head coach and general manager Pat Quinn into the Ring of Honor high above the ice surface prior to the game. Quinn led the Canucks’ team that lost in Game 7 of the 1995 Stanley Cup final to the New York Rangers. … Canucks players are scheduled to meet the media on Monday morning.