Bo Horvat scored for the first time in forever, the Canucks cashed in on the power play AND they won a coach’s challenge. What a night. What more could a team ask for?
Okay, sure, a few more goals would be a good place to start. And someday they may score more than two in a hockey game. But as they fell 3-2 to the Arizona Coyotes to drop to 15-16-9 at the 40-game mark, the Canucks once again sputtered on offense. This is not a news flash.
Last night was the 25th time in their 40 outings so far this season that the Canucks have been held to two or fewer (they’ve scored twice in a game 15 times, once in five other games and they’ve been shutout five times, as well). It’s interesting that the Canucks exploded for three or more in seven of their first 12 games which means they’ve generated more than two goals in a game just eight times in their past 28 outings. Ouch.
The Canucks have managed just five goals through the first four games of this current seven-game homestand. And if you’re a regular visitor to this site, you know that I have been charting the goal-support the Canucks have given Jacob Markstrom since December 1st. Tack on the two they scored against the Desert Dogs and that brings the total to eight goals in the poor guy’s last eight starts. In order, it looks like this: 1, 0, 0, 2, 2, 0, 1, 2. One day, Jacob. One day they’ll pick you up.
Daniel Sedin scored again last night. He’s now up to 17 on the season. He’s scored in lots of different ways over his 15 years in the NHL, but I think that was the first time he’s done so while looking like something out of a Hollywood horror flick. That mouth was nasty after he ate a puck in the first period. But it’s going to take more than a little blood (okay it was a lot of blood) and the loss of a few teeth to keep Daniel down. We saw that in Montreal earlier in the season when he took a Brendan Gallagher stick to the face and barely flinched.
It’s been said many times already this season, but Daniel has found his goal-scoring touch again and it’s been fun to watch. This is a guy who had two goals in his first 10 games this season and showed no signs of catching fire. But since October 30th, Daniel has 15 goals in his last 30 games. Yep, the guy’s been a goal-every-other-game scorer for the past 30 games.
Look around the league — it’s not easy to score goals. Only 10 players in the NHL have more goals this season than Daniel Sedin. He’s 35. Of those ahead of him on that list, Joe Pavelski is 31 and Alex Ovechkin is 30. The other eight are in their twenties. So Daniel’s doing things that no one else in his age group is doing. And at his age, he’s scoring at a pace that would put him in ultra elite company if he’s able to continue to put pucks in the net over the second half of the season.
The following is the short list of the 35-at-35 club — guys in the past 10 years who have scored 35 (or more goals) at the age of 35 or older:
Sakic, Selanne, Shanahan, Guerin and Alfredsson? Yes please. I’ll take a seat at that table anytime. That’s the company Daniel Sedin is keeping with the kind of season he’s having so far. Now much will have to fall his way to continue at that pace over the final 42 games. But there are two things I like most about Daniel’s season: the way he’s shooting the puck like a goal-scorer again and his remarkable consistency. He hasn’t gone more than three games without a goal since the beginning of November. And if he doesn’t fall into any kind of lengthy drought, then a 35-goal season remains a distinct possibility.
Daniel’s grit was on full display last night against the Coyotes. It’s too bad more of his teammates can’t or won’t follow his lead. However there were a couple of individual performances worth singling out in the loss. It’s taken him far too long — to the point he may be on borrowed time with healthy bodies set to return to the line-up — but Ronalds Kenins resembled the player who made an immediate impact upon his arrival in the NHL 11 months ago. Kenins had four shots and four hits and played with a purpose we hadn’t seen during his latest stint with the big club. If he gets another shot, he has to use Monday’s game as the template.
And after being given the night off Friday against Anaheim, rookie Jared McCann looked like a guy who wants to stay in the line-up, too. He registered three shots on goal in his 12:51 of ice, but most notably he went 7 & 4 in the face-off circle against the second best team in the league in that department. Face-offs have been a struggle for the 19-year-old, but whether it was practice, video work or just plain luck, McCann had a strong night on the draw which should provide him some much needed confidence in that area of the game.
*the Canucks are 7-8-3 at home at 8-8-6 on the road. They are the only Western Conference team with single digit victories both home and away. Colorado (7) and San Jose (5) are the other Western teams with single-digit victories on home ice
*the Canucks face former teammate Eddie Lack and the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday. That marks that start of five straight games against opponents from the Southeast Division (CAR, T-B, FLA, at WAS, at CAR). It also kicks off a stretch of nine straight against Eastern Conference foes
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