[Every Sunday, Caylie King looks at the Canucks week that was and the Canucks week ahead. You can follow Caylie on Twitter (@cayking).]
60 GP, 38-13-9, 85 points (1st in Northwest Division, 1st in Western Conference)
After going 7 games without recording a point, Raffi Torres has 2 goals and 1 assist in his last 4 games. Baby Beluga hasn’t been consistent this year, but he is showing signs of life in his last few games. Although he doesn’t put up huge numbers, he works hard every shift and gets the team going, when needed, with bruising hits on the opposition. Raffi’s two big goals on Saturday night helped the Canucks get the W against the Stars.
After being recalled from the Manitoba Moose, late last year, Jeff Tambellini had a lot of offensive success. Unfortunately Jeff has been struggling as of late. He has just 2 assists in his last 23 games played and he hasn’t played more than 8 minutes per game in his last 4 games. AV has noticeably been benching Tamby in the 3rd period these last few games, stating that he wanted more “defensive” players on the ice. This is definitely not what any player wants to hear, especially someone who has not been playing well and is low in confidence.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011 vs. Montreal Canadiens (7:00 PM start, home)
Carey Price and Les Habs shutout the Canucks 2-0 in their first meeting of the season in Montreal.
Despite winning only 1 of their last 7 games, the Canadiens are still in the thick of the playoff race and currently sit 6th in the Eastern Conference.
Tomas Plekanec has 14 points (7G-7A) in his last 17 games. He’s been one of the most consistent forwards this season for the Habs and leads the team with 19 goals and 46 points, He is also a plus-10 for the season, which is tops on the team.
The Canucks’ top-ranked powerplay (25.0% PP) will get tested by Montreal’s penalty kill, which is ranked 3rd on the road (85.3% road PK rate) and 6th overall (84.8% PK rate).
Thursday, February 24, 2011 vs. St. Louis (7:00 PM start, home)
Although the Canucks and Blues met just five nights ago, they are a completely different team. The Blues were busy on Friday, trading away captain Eric Brewer, franchise defenseman Erik Johnson and forward Jay McClement. In return, Chris Stewart and Kevin Shattenkirk came over from the Avalanche. The changes didn’t seem to effect the Blues considering they won decisively, 9-3 against the Ducks on Saturday night, and are now on a 3-game win streak.
Alex Pietrangelo is on fire; he has 7 assists in his last 5 games, including 2 against the Canucks last week. So far, in his first full NHL season, he has 6 goals, 25 assists and is a plus-14.
Saturday, February 26, 2011 vs Boston Bruins (7:00 PM start, home)
The Boston Bruins roll into Rogers Arena for their first and only meeting with the Canucks, this season. The Bruins are 6-4-0 in their last 10 games and sit 3rd in the Eastern Conference.
Boston was also busy on Friday, acquiring Tomas Kaberle from the Leafs, as well as Rich Peverly and Boris Valabik from the Atlanta Thrashers.
Milan Lucic, who played junior hockey for the Vancouver Giants, is having a productive season. Not only can he drop the mitts, provide a game changing hit he can also put up big points. He has 8 points (5G-3A) in his last 10 games. He is 4th in team scoring (40 points) and his 24 goals is already a career-high. He is also an impressive plus-16 this season.
Most Deserving of a Shoutout: Manitoba Moose
It’s no secret that the Canucks have suffered major injuries on the defensive end. With that being said, I can only commend the Moose coaching staff, for the work they are doing down in Manitoba. Chris Tanev, Yann Sauve and Evan Oberg have come up to the big club and fit in seamlessly. That is no coincidence. These 3 young defensemen have shown how important a farm team is to a NHL club. Although we would all love to see #2, #3, #4 and #23 back in blue, for now #18, #47 and #64 are doing a good job of fitting in and not being noticed in a negative light.