VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Zac Dalpe did a double take when his coach told him to jump over the boards and join the Sedin twins on Vancouver's top line.
It was a move that helped the Canucks to their first win of the new year.
Dalpe scored after being promoted to the first line and Mike Santorelli added the winner following his demotion to the fourth unit Friday night as the Canucks snapped a five-game losing streak with a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues.
With his team playing a tentative first period, Canucks coach John Tortorella moved Dalpe up with Henrik and Daniel Sedin and left him there for the rest of the game.
"I didn't think he was serious to start," said Dalpe, who usually plays on the fourth line.
So what was going through his head once he hit the ice with the two Swedish superstars?
"Don't screw up and rise to the occasion a little bit and see where it takes you," Dalpe said.
The line juggling only tells part of the story, though, as a Canucks team that has surrendered plenty of late goals this season — including two against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Tuesday's 5-4 shootout loss — hung on for dear life in the final minute.
"It was pretty much like a dogfight at the end," said Santorelli. "We were happy that we finally closed one out and now we just need to build off that."
The Canucks have been scored on six times with opponents' goalies pulled for an extra attacker this season, but Eddie Lack and some desperate defending shut the door this time for Vancouver.
"I think my heart was pounding a little bit and it feels like we've been talking about this 6-on-5 for a while now," said Lack, who finished with 30 saves. "I think everyone focused a little bit extra and it felt good closing it out."
Alex Pietrangelo had the only goal for St. Louis, which snapped its seven-game winning streak.
Brian Elliott made 20 saves in the loss as the Blues failed to pick up at least a point on the road for the first time in nine games.
"They're a good team, we knew they were kind of struggling," Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester. "I don't really care how things have been going for them, but you know coming in here they are a good team. We just didn't create enough."
Santorelli snapped a 1-1 tie at 5:56 of the third after linemate Dale Weise — a healthy scratch last game — drove hard to the net. The puck popped out to Canucks defenseman Jason Garrison in the high slot and his shot through traffic was deflected in by Santorelli for his 10th goal of the season.
"I wasn't good enough early on," said Santorelli. "Too many turnovers, so (the demotion to the fourth line) was deserving."
Lack then made a huge pad stop on Blues captain David Backes midway through the third to keep Vancouver ahead. The Swedish goalie has started eight of the last nine games in place of the injured Roberto Luongo.
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