7TH Heaven

The Vancouver Canucks have now won 7 straight games. Hard to believe that just last month they couldn’t string together two wins in a row isn’t it? Let alone to think that since their loss to Chicago (Nov.23), the team has posted an impressive 8-1-1 record.

In their last 7 games, the Canucks have won road games and home games, posted back to back shutouts (1 by EACH goalie) and outscored their opponents 24-8. Let that sink in…the fact they have outscored their opponents by a 3-1 margin and only allowed 8 goals against during this 7-game stretch is impressive. Remember that power-play that everyone has complained about all year long…well don’t look now BUT in their last 15 games the Canucks have scored 12 power-play goals (yes you read that right…12!).

Here is the goal from Mr. Beast Mode himself Ryan Kesler that began the 7-game win streak:

Who would step to help the lead team to victory for their 2nd straight victory & 3rd in 4 games? Ryan Kesler steps up again with another 2-goal performance:

The trip finished with 3/4 victories and momentum that the team was determined to translate on home ice. After a disappointing result from their last home stand where they finished 1-2-3 in 6 games, the team made sure that this one had different results picking up 10/10 points in 5 games. That’s a pretty impressive feat considering that this latest home stand featured not ONE back to back games in back to back nights situation, but TWO. The second of those back to back scenarios included closing out the home stand with a game with the pesky Boston Bruins.

Who would be the team’s first challenge be in the 5-game saga? The Phoenix Coyotes presented a challenge for a team that was looking to take 2 points from a division rival. The home team looked great as they jumped out to a 2-goal lead that they carried into the 3rd period….BUT again the lead did not last as Phoenix came back to the tie the game forcing extra time. Over time at home had not been kind to the Canucks on their last home stand and they were determined to start this one off on a different tone.

Cue one very determined Chris Higgins with the OT winner as every Canuck fan breathed a sigh of relief.

Next up on the docket was the ever challenging Colorado Avalanche. Say what you will about Patrick Roy but the guy has succeeded at every level of the game he has played and coached at. The Avalanche brought a great challenge for the Canucks with their young talented core.

The Canucks would need someone to step up and step up Mike SANTA Santorelli did scoring TWICE and setting up Kesler’s game winning goal to help lead the team to a 3-1 victory.

Was it disappointing that the team gave up a goal to the Avs with 7.1 seconds left to ruin Luongo’s shutout bid or perhaps like many you believe John Garrett is too blame for saying the “S” word ON AIR before the final buzzer? Sure the shutout would have been nice, BUT despite those last 7 seconds, the team played a heck of a game to win their 4th straight game and earning an important 2 points.

Speaking of shutouts…Sweet Carolina came calling just one week after their previous tilt with the Canucks. The Hurricanes had been playing some great hockey leading up to their re-match with the Canucks. Eddie Lack made his home debut in front of a home crowd and dazzled them with his maturity in the game.

Chris Tanev scored the opening goal in this one as the Canucks did something in this game that they had not been able to do in previous games…maintain a 1-goal lead.

The team worked in hard in this one as they made sure as the clock was winding down to not let this one slip away, Jannik Hansen scored an empty net goal to seal this victory. Congratulations Eddie Lack, on posting your first career NHL shutout!

The Canucks had 3 days following the Carolina game before they would close out their 5-game home stand with 2 very different but equally important to the standings games against Edmonton and Boston.

How would Luongo respond after Lack’s shutout you ask? Why by posting his very own shutout of course. The entire team was solid from the first puck drop to the final puck drop. The team out shot the Oilers 40-19 and every line contributed a goal.

The game winning goal from a very nice #sedinery play on that suddenly revived power play:

Luongo has been solid all season long and after that debacle closing out the Colorado game, it was the nice that the team closed this game out for him. This was a game that the Canucks could have lost focus as they had a much bigger opponent coming in the next day BUT they never lost focus in this one.

The Vancouver Canucks closed out their home stand with a game against the Boston Bruins. It was just another game…OR so they said leading up to this game. It was not just any other game. The home crowd was the most electric and loudest they have been all season long, and very vocal in their dislike of the away team.

It was the just the second time the Canucks have met the Bruins since June 2011. Sure the rosters have changed slightly since that heated playoff battle, BUT the rivalry definitely still there.

Luongo faced the Bruins for the first time since the heartbreak of game 7. He was looking to help the team continue their winning ways, steal two points and end the Bruins win streak.

The Canucks opened the scoring on a Jannik Hansen goal from centre ice that took Rask by surprise and it was a lead they would take to the first intermission. Did I mention that Kesler and Jarome Iginla threw the gloves to help set the tone in this pesky affair? the The Bruins came out in the middle frame with determination to come back in this game…and come back they did as they controlled the first 5 minutes of play in the 2nd to tie the game.

Not exactly what the Canucks or Torts particularly wanted to do…once a team gives Boston momentum, they will always run away with it UNLESS you take it back. Did I mention Torts was NOT happy with the Canucks giving the momentum to Boston albeit briefly? Torts immediately called a timeout (something AV almost NEVER did)…and made it very clear to the team they needed to be better.

How did the team respond to the rant? David Booth..yes BOOTH put the home team up 2-1 just 1:30 after the TORTS pep talk. Not to be out done, the line of Kes & SANTO set up Higgins for a goal to put the team ahead 3-1 before the end of the 2nd period.

The third period would be interesting to see how the Canucks would carry themselves. The Bruins kept pushing BUT Luongo kept saying NO. Luongo made key saves and allowed the Canucks to keep momentum on their side which was aided by 3 more Canuck goals(yes 3 more goals!) to seal this game to the delight of the home fans. Two of their last three goals were special teams goals(1 power play, & 1 short-handed). The Bruins did get a second goal as they peppered Luongo with 41 shots on the night BUT the Canucks goal keeper was solid making 39 saves on the night.

The Vancouver Canucks defeated the Boston Bruins on this night and won their 7th straight game. Let that sink in…that is their longest win streak in 2 years. The Canucks are winning not just because Luongo has been incredibly solid(he’s been consistent all year long) but because the team is playing well as a TEAM from top to bottom as of late.

With an 8-1-1 record in their last 10 games. the team will be looking to build upon their recent success on the road. They have a tough 3-game road trip coming with stops in Minnesota, Chicago and Dallas that will be another great test for this team. It’s been a great month to watch the Canucks and I look forward to seeing how they close out 2013.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Player Profile: #20 Chris Higgins

20ChrisHiggins

Today’s Profile: Chris Higgins

Chris Higgins NHL career began when he was drafted 14th overall by the Montreal Canadiens in the 2002 NHL draft. Before he made his NHL debut, Higgins was an Ivy League collegiate hockey player as part of the YALE Bulldogs for two seasons before opting to go pro.

His professional hockey career with the Montreal Canadiens began when he played for their AHL affiliate before gaining a roster spot for the start of the 2005-2006 regular season.  He played with the Habs until the end of the 2008-2009 season. He spent the 2009-2010 season split between the New York Rangers and the Calgary Flames. He debuted the 2010-2011 season with the Florida Panthers and finished the season with the Vancouver Canucks.

Higgins was acquired by Vancouver at the 2011 trade deadline in the hopes that he would help give the team an edge down the stretch drive to the playoffs. Higgins quickly became a fan favourite as he scored some timely goals during the team’s extended playoff run in 2011.

Higgins was rewarded for his hard work with being signed to 2-year contract in the 2011 off-season. In the last two seasons he had to battle back from injury and a crazy staph infection BUT when he was healthy, Higgins was a game changer.  Heading into this season, Higgins will be aiming to make an impact each and every game and the key [as is with most players!] will be to stay healthy for the majority of the 82 game schedule.

Prior to last season ending, Chris Higgins signed a 4-year contract extension with the Canucks.

Here are a few #higgywithit highlights to hold you over until October 3rd rolls around!

First game that followed the epic 7 game series with Chicago….& HIGGY strikes first in round 2!

Round 3:

Ties the game & HIGGY WINS it in OT!

#higgins #higgywithit #isitoctoberyet #gocanucksgo

Christopher Higgins is the only member of the current roster who has previously been coached by Torts[during his time with the NY Rangers] and can help his teammates adjust the coaching change. Higgins will also be looking to build on the strengths of his game while putting up strong numbers and help the team go deep next spring.

Are you ready for October yet? Can you feel how close the season is?!

Clearly I am ready for this crazy game called hockey to return already…! Here’s to see Higgins return to the team with a vengeance when they hit the ice in San Jose on October 3rd.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

T’was the night before the NHL trade deadline…

T’WAS THE NIGHT BEFORE THE NHL TRADE DEADLINE:

T’was the night before the NHL trade deadline,

when all through the league not a GM was supposed to stir,

when suddenly more than 10 deals were made and the quiet was but an echo

as teams began making deals in the days prior to deadline day.

Hockey fans and media alike thought themselves ready for the circus

while they made dream predictions for their teams and their prospective playoff hopes

and coaches hoped that the difficult decisions would not be theirs to make or break the team

as they prepared for the media storm that would inevitably follow a busy trade deadline.

When all of a sudden one team made a move that shook league to the core,

fans and media sprung to sports centre and social media to share their collective reactions

as the players looked to each other as to what this would mean to their team and their playoff hopes,

and the hours became minutes, and the minutes became seconds as the eve of the trade deadline slipped away as all must now see what will follow each move.

These are but a few thoughts surrounding each team tonight as we all wait to see what tomorrow’s circus shall bring. We do not know what it means just yet, but many teams have begun to make big moves prior to the big day which is slightly out of the norm.

So far the notable moves are these:

Jarome Iginla was traded from the Calgary Flames to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for prospects and a 1st round draft pick.

Brendan Morrow was traded from the Dallas Stars to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for a prospect and a draft pick.

Douglas Murray was traded from the San Jose Sharks to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for two draft picks.

Jaromir Jagr was traded from the Dallas Stars to the Boston Bruins in exchange for prospects & a draft pick.

Kent Huskins was traded from the Detroit Red Wings to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for a draft pick.

Jordan Leopold was traded from the Buffalo Sabres to the St.Louis Blues in exchange for two draft picks.

Michal Handzus was traded from the San Jose Sharks to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for a draft pick.

Jay Bouwmeester was traded from the Calgary Flames to the St.Louis Blues in exchange for two prospects and two draft picks.

Robyn Regehr was traded from the Buffalo Sabres to the LA Kings in exchange two draft picks.

Marc-Andre Bergeron was traded from the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for Adam Hall and a draft pick.

Derek Roy was traded from the Dallas Stars to the VANCOUVER CANUCKS in exchange for a prospect and draft pick.

Ryane Clowe was traded from the San Jose Sharks to the New York Rangers in exchange for three draft picks.

There is bound to be a media storm in the final minutes of the deadline tomorrow as the clock winds down to 12 PM[pacific time]. What will happen? Will your team be improved? Will favourites be moved? Will new favourites emerge? Will one team steal all the thunder with one big move? Will any teams stand pat? All will be revealed and once that clock strikes 12, all rosters will be set until the end of the season. We will have to wait and see what this trade deadline has in store for us!

I would like to say WELCOME to CANUCK NATION, Derek Roy! We look forward to seeing you help the Canucks down the stretch this year! This is a great pick up by the Canucks and will help address a gaping hole in centre and also allow the option of having Kesler play wing when he returns. Rumor has it that MR.RK17 could be slipped back into the line-up this week. Roy is expected to arrive in Vancouver for practice with the team tomorrow. In acquiring Roy, the Canucks gave up defense prospect Kevin Connauton, best of luck in Dallas!

In other Canuck news, today marks Chris Higgins re-signed with the team. He signed a 4-year $10 million contract extension[an annual hit of $2.5 million]. This guy plays with so much heart, great to see him get rewarded.

The Canucks are officially 3/4 through this shortened season. The team sits tied with the Minnesota Wild in points and are locked in a battle for the division title. The stretch drive begins now. #GoCanucksGo!

Keep your eye on the trades tomorrow as you never know what will happen, and the most active time will be in that final hour as some teams may surprise us!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.