Hunger Games: Canucks Beginning to Catch Fire
Are the Canucks ready to break out after this latest swing of positive results? We sure hope so and we’re confident that they’ll catch fire again tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes. Here are five reasons why:
Santorelli on fire!
Last night Mike Santorelli showed another sparkling performance with two goals and an assist and was a whisker away from completing his hat trick in that 3rd period. Whether he’s the second line centre or working on the wing with the Ryan Kesler and Chris Higgins line, Santorelli has been a welcome surprise in the season so far. Already on pace to reach 20 goals and 50 points this season.
Canucks drive for five
Turning over the Avalanche extended the current win streak to four games and improved the season record to 17-10-5. The Canucks are beginning to learn lessons and not repeating the same mistakes from previous games. It was a strong performance, turning a 1-0 lead heading into the 3rd period into a 3-1 win. Albeit the late, late goal which John Garrett jinxed with 7.1 seconds to go, the Canucks were strong in the third period, adding a couple of goals from Santorelli and Kesler.
Learning their lessons
After throwing away a 2-goal lead against the Phoenix Coyotes in the previous game, you could forgive the Rogers Arena crowd for being a little nervous last night heading into the third period. On Team 1040, they were calling for the Canucks to be positive, to not sit back, and instead, to look for that next goal and not let the Avs back into the game. The Canucks are even beginning to find points up and down the lineup with Chris Higgins, Dale Weise, Jannik Hansen and David Booth combining for 9 points between them in the last 5 games.
“If you want to be successful in this league, you’ve got to be able to hold on to leads. Tonight, I think we did it the right way.” -Mike Santorelli
Don’t repeat at home what happened on the road in Carolina
Only a week ago, the Canucks faced the Hurricanes in the second game of a road back-to-back. We don’t want a repeat of their efforts in the early part of the second period of that game when they Canucks surrendered 2 goals and squandered a 2-0 lead just 49 seconds out of the break. Thankfully, Kesler hit back almost immediately to re-establish the lead. (Kesler had also opened the scoring only 3:24 into that game.) Much like they did against the Avs last night, the Canucks do need to come out hard and continue to put teams away.
Special teams getting special again
After a terrible early season slump, the powerplay has scored in 7 of the past 8 games and is now a source of strength. Maybe it’s no coincidence that the power is back in the powerplay now now that Jason Garrison has hit his stride with 6 powerplay points in his last 8 games.
Against the Canes last week, the penalty-killing units got the Canucks through the game, killing off all 6 Carolina powerplays – 11:33 worth of penalty time – and since then, the Canucks have killed 11 straight penalties. Even without Alex Burrows, they still look good.