After a long, grueling 42 days on the road, the Boys in Blue are back at home — and loving it. They were dubbed “the comeback kids” during their 14-game road trip due to their fall-behind-early-come-back-late play which saw them come from behind and win in games they had no business even being a part of. Such heroics were not needed in their back-to-back games VS both the Ottawa Senators and the Calgary Flames as they took it hard to their opponents and played a full 60 minutes in both match-ups.
The Canucks managed to score first in both affairs, a rarity in most games for Vancouver to say the least. Although, vs Ottawa, the Senators did manage to tie it up midway through the 2nd period, but Vancouver kept their composure and coasted to a 5-1 victory which saw Mikael Samuelsson, who is currently on a 5 game points-streak with 11 (7 G, 4 A), notch his 29th and 30th goals and Alex Burrows get his 31st goal of the season (his 5th shorthanded marker). Goaltender Roberto Luongo was back in form and managed to stop 13 of 14 Senators shots, posting his 35th win of the season.
Calgary didn’t have any more luck as Vancouver once again pulled out in front, Daniel Sedin scoring the opening marker with his 19th of the season 1:13 into the first period. They then proceeded to add to that lead, cushioning it well with two more goals in the same period, one by Ryan Kesler (20th goal) and one by Henrik Sedin (28th of the season). The Canucks played a great defensively sound game in front of Roberto Luongo, who stopped 32 of 33 Flames shots and recorded his 36th win this season.
They now sit a-top the North-West Division standings with a 5 point cushion between them and second place Colorado, and are currently 3rd overall in Western Conference standings. With 13 games left in the season, the Vancouver Canucks can boast 5 different 20-or-more goal scorers who helped achieve this success so far in Alex Burrows (31 G), Mikael Samuelsson (30 G), Henrik Sedin (28 G), Mason Raymond (22 G), and Ryan Kesler (20 G). Should Daniel Sedin notch another goal, it would make 6 players with 20 goals or more as he currently sits with 19 tallies of his own. And with 13 games left to be played, that achievement is looking very possible. It isn’t any wonder that all 5 players are having career years as the lines have gelled in a big way and the team’s chemistry has risen to heights no one thought possible. It also doesn’t hurt that these particular players have played in all 69 games of the season thus far (Daniel Sedin has played in just 51 games due to an injury sustained early on in the season). Henrik, who just recently broke Trevor Linden’s all-time assists record with his 416th (his 65th of the season), currently sits first in the league with 65 assists and second with 93 points (Alexander Ovechkin is first with 96 points). If Henrik can manage to tally 6 more helpers he will match his career high in assists; 7 will put him over the top with 72.
Their next game will be on Tuesday March 16th vs the lowly New York Islanders, who currently sit 13th in Eastern Conference standings. The Vancouver Canucks can continue their success into the playoffs if they stay focused and consistent in their play as the have thus far in the team’s much anticipated return home. If anyone doubted what the Canucks and their stars could accomplish this season, they are most certainly taking notice now.
With Luongo back in form and their star players finally taking their proper place as the superstars they are, there is no doubt in this reporter’s mind: for this city’s beloved Canucks, the sky is definitely the limit.