Fans and media are calling last night’s 6-2 win against the Philadelphia Flyers a statement win. The Canucks themselves are calling it just another win.
Let’s call it both.
The Canucks now have 49 points (22-8-5) in 35 games – that’s an incredible 0.700 points percentage through almost half a season. To put this into perspective, the Canucks are on pace to reach 115 points. Not only is this President’s Trophy territory, but it’s a level only four teams have achieved since the lockout (Capitals, Bruins, Sharks and Red Wings, twice).
With one game left against the Dallas Stars on Friday, the Canucks won’t soon forget the month of December. In 13 games, they have a 10-1-2 record. They’ve outscored the opposition by a combined score of 52-31 – a 4.00 G/game average vs. a 2.38 GA/game average. They’re 14-for-62 on the powerplay (22.6%) and have killed 37 of 45 penalties (82.2%).
Not surprisingly, their statistics in various categories for the season are now among the league’s best.
- Goals per game: 3.43, 1st in NHL
- Goals against per game: 2.51, 7th in NHL
- Powerplay: 24.1% (34-for-141), 2nd in NHL
- Penalty-kill: 85.3% (110-for-129), 5th in NHL
- Faceoff percentage: 57.3%, 1st in NHL
The Canucks are also tied for 5th in even-strength goals (81) and tied for 4th in powerplay goals (34).
And the kicker?
They’re the only team in the NHL in the top-10 in all of these categories.
No, the Canucks haven’t won anything yet, and as Jason Botchford said in this morning’s Vancouver Province, fans will enjoy this regular season roll more than the team.
“We haven’t won anything yet,” Daniel Sedin said. “We haven’t been anywhere. Most of us have been here for a long time and we know we can’t get big because we are winning in the regular season. That’s the bottom line.
“The win was good and shows we are up there and that’s good. But Philadelphia has been to the dance before and we haven’t. It’s the regular season and we have to prove this all year — that in the spring we belong amongst the best teams.
“People will talk about this being a measuring stick, but it’s Game 35. Now we have to go to Dallas. We haven’t done a thing, really.”
Nevertheless, the ride’s been fun. If this is a teaser to how the team can play in the postseason, then those high expectations at the beginning of the season may have just got higher.