In the most hyped game of the season, Mats Sundin had a triumphant return to the Air Canada Centre and scored the shootout winner and the Vancouver Canucks simply did again what they’ve been doing for the last 3 weeks. It was the Canucks’ 8th win in 9 games; in 5 of those 8 wins, they either scored the game-winning goal in the 3rd period or tied the game in the 3rd period before winning it in the shootout.
Funny what difference a month makes. The team that found all sorts of ways to lose in January now can’t lose in February. And it seems that, lately, the Canucks have been saving their best for last, playing their best hockey in the 3rd periods and extra time.
3RD PERIOD STATS (Febr. 1st to 21st, 2009):
But not only have they outscored their opponents 13 (plus 2 shootout winners) to 8, they’ve also done so at critical times.
BREAKDOWN OF 3RD PERIOD GOALS SCORED (Feb. 1st to 21st, 2009):
62% of the Canucks’ 3rd period goals either tied the game or gave them the lead. On the other hand, 43% of the goals they allowed in the 3rd period came when they already had at least a 3-goal lead. And one other noticeable thing – even when they’ve allowed the go-ahead goal in the 3rd period, they never allowed a goal that put them 2 goals down.
I must admit it’s been a treat to watch this team recently. Even last night when they were down 2-1 late in the game, I didn’t get the feeling that it was over. Usually Canucks fans are conditioned to expect the bad, but lately, it’s been hard to expect anything but the good.
Clutch Canucks. It has a nice ring to it.