Whether or not they hang on to home ice advantage in the playoffs or win the Northwest Division championship, the Canucks can no longer be considered underdogs. What they’ve accomplished – turning around a record losing streak into a 20-5-1 record in the last 2 months and passing the Calgary Flames in the standings is nothing short of incredible.
It’s really quite impressive how they’ve accomplished this. Last night, they played patient hockey and beat the trapping Minnesota Wild in overtime. In the last week, they played smart and tough hockey against the frustrated Chicago Blackhawks and slumping Dallas Stars. They’ve come from behind and preserved leads. They’ve won playing aggressive, in-your-face hockey and they’ve won playing defensive hockey. They’re healthy and using a balanced attack, and they’re winning games regardless of how opposing teams play them.
Simply, the Canucks have been one of the best teams in the NHL since February 1st.
Read that again – 4th in the NHL in goals per game, 1st in goals against per game, 8th in powerplay efficiency and 8th in penalty-kill. They’re the only team in the top-10 in the league in each of those categories.
The Canucks have officially turned from being the hunter to being the hunted.
The new challenge for them is to keep this momentum going into the postseason. No doubt it was tough to get to the top, but it’s even tougher to stay there. I get goosebumps just thinking of what can happen if they do this.