VANCOUVER -- On the surface, Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin are having another down season as the Vancouver Canucks' top-line duo.
After taking turns as the NHL scoring leaders and taking home the Art Ross Trophy in 2010 and 2011, the Sedin twins are averaging a little less than a point per game for a second straight season.
They still lead the Canucks in scoring by a wide margin. Older (by minutes) brother Henrik has 44 points and Daniel isn't far behind with 40. But in a season when the 32-year-olds moved into first and second all-time in Canucks scoring, they have slipped further down the NHL season leaders.
Dig a little deeper into the statistics, however, and there is a different narrative to be found, one that highlights how much tougher this season really has been for the Sedins. Looking at advanced statistics available on websites including behindthenet.ca, Daniel and Henrik are playing the hardest minutes of their 12-year NHL careers, starting more shifts in their own end and against better opponents.
Ask the Sedins directly and they'll say it's their best defensive season.
"I think so," Henrik said. "I think we are more confident in our own end, getting back, breaking out, and I think that comes with maybe the coaches more putting us out there in those situations, where we need to focus on that. In the past, our only job was to produce, and if your only job is to get goals you might cheat a little more to get in the other end, and that's when it hurts you the other way."