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Best of the Best: March

by Brady Trettenero / Vancouver Canucks
From Horvat's sweet hands to a rookie answering the bell, the Canucks made some terrific plays over the past month. Here is the best of the best from March.


BEST GOAL

Horvat strips Donskoi and scores beauty vs. Sharks (03/31/16)

The Canucks were looking to snap a nine-game losing skid when they took on the San Jose Sharks in the second half of a home-and-home at the end of the month. After Daniel Sedin opened the scoring at the SAP Center, youngster Bo Horvat added to the lead. Sharks’ forward Joonas Donskoi chased a loose puck to center ice, but had his attempted pass intercepted by Horvat, who darted towards the San Jose goal. The 20-year-old went forehand-to-backhand, before slipping the puck through the five-hole of netminder Martin Jones for his 13th goal of the season. Horvat’s quick hands gave the Canucks a 2-0 lead and paved the way for an eventual 4-2 victory. Horvat found twine three times in the month of March, matching his goal total from last season.

BEST ASSIST

Horvat sets up Dorsett with sweet backhand dish vs. Preds (03/12/16)

Just over a minute after Sven Baertschi opened the scoring in the first period against the Predators, Bo Horvat made a sweet play to give the Canucks a 2-0 lead. Alex Burrows got the action started after he fired a shot from the circle on Pekka Rinne with Horvat in front. The Nashville goaltender made the save, but the rebound went around the goal cage. Rinne quickly slid across to meet Horvat on the other side, but instead of trying to jam it in, Horvat made a nifty backhand pass to Derek Dorsett out front. Dorsett put a perfectly placed shot through the five-hole of Rinne to put the Canucks up 2-0. Horvat would also strike in the second period with a goal of his own -- which held up as the game winner in a 4-2 Vancouver victory. Horvat’s multi-point performance earned him first star honours and helped the Canucks end the Predators’ franchise-record 14-game point streak.

BEST SAVE

Miller preserves win over Preds with unreal toe save (03/12/16)

After jumping to an early 2-0 lead against Nashville, the Canucks found themselves clinging to a 3-2 lead in the final period. Vancouver was able to hang on for the victory, thanks large in part to the play of netminder Ryan Miller, who stopped 35 of 37 shots. Miller’s best save came early in the third period off Nashville sniper James Neal. With the visitors pressuring, Ryan Johansen made a move to get around a Canucks forward and then fired a shot from the high slot. Miller kicked the shot out, but the rebound landed right on the stick of Neal, who was staring at an empty net. Miller was able to come over with the right pad and rob Neal with the toe, helping the Canucks keep the 3-2 lead. Miller stopped all 16 shots he faced in the final period to help Vancouver defeat the Predators for the first time this season.

BEST FIGHT

Virtanen answers the call against Preds’ Forsberg (03/12/16)

The Canucks were looking to keep the winning going after taking down the Coyotes to start a four-game homestand. Jake Virtanen provided just the right spark in the team’s following game against the Predators. After the rookie took down Nashville playmaker Mike Ribeiro with a big hit in the opening minute, Ribeiro’s teammate Filip Forsberg immediately challenged Virtanen. The 19-year-old rookie was up for the task, landing several solid rights and getting the better of Nashville’s leading scorer. Virtanen’s fight energized the crowed and helped the Canucks jump out to a 2-0 lead. Vancouver would go on to pick up their second straight win, with Virtanen’s early fight having a big impact on the team’s energy levels. Virtanen also contributed on offense this past month, scoring twice to give him seven goals on the season.

BEST TOUGHNESS

Markstrom makes save with bare hand vs. Jets (03/14/16)

Never give up on the play. After a mad scramble in front of his goal against Winnipeg, Jacob Markstrom was left without his blocker. That didn’t stop the Swedish netminder from continuing to man the crease. After some chances in tight, Alexander Burmistrov eventually made a centering pass from the corner to Marko Dano in front. Markstrom was able to reach back with his bare hand and grab the puck before it crossed the goal line. Markstrom’s dedication and guts kept Vancouver in the game and prevented them from falling into a three-goal deficit on home ice. While the Canucks eventually lost the game 5-2, Markstrom showed off what he is willing to do to win. The former Panther rebounded against Winnipeg later in the month with an unreal 47-save performance. Markstrom picked up two victories in the month of March and made 30-plus saves on four different occasions.

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