Canucks Review and Preview: December 26, 2011 to January 1, 2012

[Every week, Caylie King looks at the Canucks week that was and the Canucks week ahead.  You can follow Caylie on Twitter (@CayKing).]

All is right in Northwest Division again. With last night’s win, the Canucks are finally atop of the NW standings. The Canucks ended their four-game homestand with an entertaining and physical battle against the Edmonton Oilers on Boxing Day; Andrew Ebbett lead the team with his first career multi-goal game, while the bromance of Burrows and Kesler combined for two goals, including the game winner.

The three games prior to Christmas break included a clinic put on by the Sedins against the Minnesota Wild, a furious start against the Detroit Red Wings that ended 4-2 for the boys in blue, and then a lackluster effort in a 3-1 loss against the Calgary Flames.

Vancouver now heads out to California for a three-game road trip.

Canucks Record

36 GP, 22-12-2, 46 points (1st in Northwest Division, 2nd in Western Conference)

Who’s Hot

Cody Hodgson might not be AV’s favourite player but he deserves to be recognized for his play as of late. He is currently on a four-game point streak (1G-3A).

CoHo spends most of his time between the 3rd and 4th lines, and if that isn’t happening he is most probably being benched by Alain for some unknown reason. Through all of that he has been a professional and makes the most of ice-time when he gets it. When he’s rolling, Canucks Nation sees glimpses of what made him a top-10 pick. He is very effective along the boards or in close quarters, he has great hockey sense and he has been doing a better job of coming back and taking care of his defensive responsibilities.

Who’s Hotter

Alex Burrows seems to be everywhere on the ice. He always seems to be in the right place when playing with the Sedins. He is constantly a beast on the penalty-kill; he not only sacrifices the body but he is also able to be an offensive threat while being shorthanded.

Burr has 8 points (5G-3A) in his last six games while going a plus-5 in that stretch. He is tied with Daniel Sedin for the most goals on the team (14) and is tied for 5th in team scoring (23 points). He also boasts a team-best plus-16 rating.

Who’s Next

Wednesday December 28, 2011 vs. San Jose Sharks (7:30 PM start, away)

In their first meeting of the season, the Canucks went into the Shark Tank and stole two points from San Jose. Andrew Alberts was the unexpected hero in the game, recording the GWG, while Cory Schneider stopped 43 out of 45 shots to get the victory.

San Jose has had some success against the Northwest division this season going 4-2-1; while outscoring their opponents 21-17.

Logan Couture is tied with Joe Pavelski for the team lead in goals with 15. Couture has 6 points (4G-2A) in his last 6 games and is tied for 3rd in team scoring with 26 points.

Thursday December 29, 2011 vs. Anaheim Ducks (7:00 PM start, away)

At the start of the season, not many people would have guessed that the Anahiem Ducks would have 10 wins in 35 games and be in 14th place in the Western Conference. The Ducks fired head coach, Randy Carlyle, and brought in Bruce Boudreau hoping that he would provide the lift that they needed. So far that move hasn’t paid off. They have just 3 regulation wins in their last 11 games (3-6-2) under the former Caps coach.

Although the Ducks are not playing well, this is a team that the Canucks cannot take for granted especially since Anahiem won the first meeting 4-3 back in November. In that game, Andrew Cogliano led the Ducks with 2 points (1G-1A); while Jannik Hansen had two goals for the Canucks.

The ageless Teemu Selanne leads the Ducks with 35 points (11G-24A) and is always deemed a “Canucks-Killer” because he always seems to find the score sheet when the two clubs meet. He hasn’t scored in his last two games, but just prior to that, he was on a 9-game point streak (3G-10A-13P).

Saturday December 31, 2011 vs. Los Angles Kings (7:00 PM start, away)

The Canucks look to end 2011 with a win against Drew Doughty and company. The Kings are still fighting for a playoff position in the tough Western Conference; they currently sit in 10th place.

Aaron Rome got the game winning goal against the Kings in their meeting back in November. Talented defenseman Drew Doughty led the Kings with 1 goal, 1 assist and a plus-1 rating in that game; while also having the most ice time with over 26 minutes.

Anze Kopitar is currently riding a four-game point streak; he has 5 assists in that stretch. Kopitar leads the team in assists (24) and points (34).

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