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Best of the Best: February

by Brady Trettenero / Vancouver Canucks
The Canucks went 8-6-0 in the month of February, taking down some of the league's top powerhouses in the process. From a few clutch overtime performances to Zack Kassian's toothless smile, here is the best of the best from February.


BEST GOAL

Sedins Bury Blackhawks in Overtime (02/11/15)

After blowing a 4-1 lead to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Windy City, the Canucks were looking to salvage the game in overtime. Just a minute into the extra period, the Sedin twins put their cycle game on display down low in the Blackhawks’ zone. Henrik dished out a nifty backhand pass to his brother Daniel, who immediately gave the puck back. Instead of continuing to cycle, Daniel slowly drifted backwards to the right circle, where he received a sweet saucer pass from Henrik. One he got the pass, Daniel immediately turned forward and snapped a shot past the blocker of Blackhawks’ goaltender Corey Crawford, giving the Canucks a 5-4 win. It was D.Sedin’s second goal of the night and his third overtime-winning goal of the season.

BEST ASSIST

Higgins Sets Up Vrbata with No-Look Backhand Pass vs. Bruins (02/13/15)

With the Canucks leading the Boston Bruins 2-1 midway through the second period at Rogers Arena, Chris Higgins and Radim Vrbata went to work. After Linden Vey cycled the puck down low, Higgins won a battle against Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid along and boards and came up with the puck. Facing the stands, Higgins dished out a beautiful no-look backhand pass through his legs to Vrbata out front. Vrbata faked the shot and then went forehand to backhand, deking out an outstretched Tuukka Rask to put the Canucks up 3-1. Vrbata’s 21st goal of the season was the eventual game-winner, giving the 33-year-old four game-winning goals on the season. For Higgins, it was his fourth assist in three games. His 19 helpers this season are just three shy of the 22 he posted last season. The Canucks defeated the Bruins in each of their two meetings in the month of February.

BEST SAVE

Lack Robs Wild’s Dumba to Preserve Win (02/16/15)

With the Canucks holding on to a 3-2 lead at Rogers Arena against the Minnesota Wild, goaltender Eddie Lack delivered a clutch performance to preserve the win. Trailing by one late in regulation, the Wild pulled their goalie and were applying tremendous pressure in the Vancouver zone. With just 10 seconds remaining, Thomas Vanek won a puck battle down low and dished out a beautiful pass to defenseman Mathew Dumba in the high-slot. Dumba, who had crept in from his point, had a clear shooting lane against Eddie Lack. Dumba wired a shot, but he was turned away by the glove of Lack, allowing the Canucks to hold on for a 3-2 victory. Lack made 20 save on 22 shots in the win, helping the Canucks to their third win in four games. Lack put up an impressive 4-2-0 record in the month of February, stopping 205 of 222 shots (.923 save percentage).

BEST FIGHT

Dorsett Sparks Canucks in Return vs. Wild (02/01/15)

The Canucks were looking to kick off February on the right note when they took on the Minnesota Wild at Rogers Arena in their first game of the month. Who better to provide a spark than feisty forward Derek Dorsett? With the game scoreless through the opening period, Dorsett engaged in a round of fisticuffs with Wild forward Ryan Carter. In just his first game back from injury, Dorsett landed some good punches to Carter, eventually wrestling the Minnesota forward to the ice. The fight seemed to inject some life into the Canucks, as they would outshoot the Wild 11-5 in the first period. While Vancouver would fall 4-2 to Minnesota on the night, Dorsett’s effort would not go unnoticed. The 28-year-old stuck up for his teammates throughout this past month, dropping the gloves on three separate occasions. At 6' 0", 192 pounds, he may be a small guy, but he plays big.

BEST CELEBRATION

Kassian Showcases Emotion after Scoring vs. Bruins (02/24/15)

Zack Kassian did a lot of scoring in the month of February, which also means he did a lot of celebrating. With the game in Boston tied in the third period, Kassian scored his fourth goal in three games in clutch fashion. The play started when Daniel Sedin came down the left wing, firing a shot towards goaltender Tuukka Rask. The Bruins’ netminder made the save, redirecting the puck to the opposite corner. As the puck made its way up the boards towards the circle, Kassian raced cross-ice to meet it. Upon arrival, Kassian blasted the loose puck past the glove of Rask and into the net, giving the Canucks a 2-1 lead. The shot went just under the crossbar and Kassian celebrating by letting out an exclamation of joy. The goal would hold up as the game-winner, giving the Canucks their second win of the month over Boston. In the two victories over the Bruins, Kassian recorded three points and a plus-4 rating. Kassian, who led the Canucks in second-half scoring in 2013-14, scored seven goals in 10 games in the month of February.

BEST CLUTCH PERFORMANCE

Sbisa Joins Rush, Finishes Jets in Overtime (02/03/15)

After dropping a 4-2 decision to the Wild, the Canucks were still looking for their first win of the month when they took on the Winnipeg Jets at Rogers Arena in early-February. After rallying from a 2-1 deficit and tying the game in the third period, the Canucks were able to force overtime. Just 36 seconds into the extra frame, the home team went to work. Lucas Sbisa started the play, breaking out of the Canucks’ zone with speed. Sbisa dished the puck to Radim Vrbata before jolting up the right side to try and make it a 2-on-1. Instead of staying in the corner along the boards, Sbisa used his great speed to bolt cross-ice and get on the left of Vrbata. Sbisa shook off the backcheking Mark Scheifele and became wide-open in the slot. Sbisa took a pass from Vrbata and wired a shot past the blocker of an outstretched Ondrej Pavelec, giving the Canucks a 3-2 win. The Canucks were 3-0-0 in games that went past regulation in February, with Sbisa playing a big role. While he was the overtime hero against Winnipeg, Sbisa also picked up an assist on Daniel Sedin’s game-winner against Chicago later in the month.

BEST FIRST CAREER GOAL

Kenins Gets Canucks on the Board vs. Wild (02/01/15)

With the Canucks trailing the Minnesota Wild in the third period at Rogers Arena, rookie Ronald Kenins would get the Canucks on the board. Just as a Vancouver penalty expired, Alex Edler started a breakout from his own end. Edler sent the puck up to Bo Horvat, who made his way into the Minnesota zone alongside Kenins. Horvat dished a backhand pass to Kenins, who fired a shot past the glove of goaltender Devan Dubnyk. It was the first career NHL goal for Kenins, who couldn’t have picked a better goalie to score on. Dubnyk had allowed just one goal in his previous two games and would go on to post shutouts in each of his next two games after defeating Vancouver. While the Canucks would go on to lose to the red-hot Dubnyk and the Wild, Kenins kicked off February with a bang. The 23-year-old recorded three goals and eight points in the month, while Alex Biega would also score his first NHL goal in February, potting the game winner in his NHL debut February, 16th against Minnesota.

BEST SHOOTOUT GOAL

Burrows Gives it the “Little Magic Wand” vs. Rangers (02/19/15)

After the Rangers missed on their first shootout attempt, Alex Burrows was called upon for the Canucks to try and give them the lead. Burrows skated in on Rangers’ netminder Cam Talbot, waving his stick over the puck and firing a quick shot through the legs of the goaltender. As narrated by commentator John Garret, “Burrows gives it the little magic wand - the Harry Potter". Radim Vrbata also scored in the skills competition, propelling the Canucks to a 5-4 win over the Rangers. It was Vancouver’s second straight victory and fourth win in five games.

BEST DOMINATION

Matthias Nets a Hat Trick to lead Canucks Past Bruins (02/13/15)

The Canucks took on the Bruins twice in the month of February and were searching for a spark in their first meeting at Rogers Arena. It came in the form of Shaw Matthias. Matthias scored twice in the first five minutes of the game and added an insurance marker in the third period, helping Vancouver to a commanding 5-2 win over Boston. It was Matthias’ first hat trick of his career and just the second hat trick scored by a Canuck this season. The dominating outing from Matthias was huge for the Canucks, as they would go on to win four of their next six games. Matthias put together an impressive month of February, recording seven goals in 14 games. In just 59 games this season, the 27-year-old has already scored a career-high 15 goals.

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