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Best of the Best: November

by Brady Trettenero / Vancouver Canucks
From Daniel Sedin batting a puck out of mid-air to Jake Virtanen scoring his first NHL goal, the Canucks made some remarkable plays in the month of November. Here is the best of the best from the past 30 days.


BEST GOAL

Sutter drives to net to score beauty vs. Blue Jackets (11/10/15)

Having suffered three straight losses, the Canucks were looking to turn things around when they visited Nationwide Arena to take on the Blue Jackets in game three of a seven-game road trip. Tied 3-3 at the end of the third period, Brandon Sutter delivered in the clutch to help the Canucks end their losing streak. With just over five minutes remaining in regulation, Jannik Hansen made a fantastic play in the defensive zone, fighting off the check of Jackets’ forward Boone Jenner and getting the puck up to Sutter. The two-way forward utilized his 6’3” frame as he drove hard down the left side of the ice, taking the puck to the net on his backhand. With goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky already down on the ice, Sutter used his strength and speed to quickly shift to the forehand and take the puck around the outstretched goaltender. Sutter exhibited tremendous precision as he held onto the puck before outwaiting Bobrovsky and tucking it past his toe. Sutter’s fourth goal of the season held up as the game winner, giving the Canucks a much-needed victory on the road. The play was set up by the red-hot Hansen, who set a career high with a four-point game and finished the month of November with six goals and 11 points in 14 games.

BEST ASSIST

Daniel sets up Henrik with blind backhand pass vs. Stars (11/27/15)

Down 2-1 with less than five minutes remaining in a crucial road battle against a Pacific Division rival, the Canucks needed a goal. Who better to provide it than the Sedins? With Stars’ captain Jamie Benn in the penalty box for tripping and the Canucks trailing by a goal, their power play went to work. Radim Vrbata kicked off the play, feeding a pass to Daniel down low in front of the goal. The left-winger, who had his back facing Stars’ goaltender Antti Niemi, didn’t even have to look for where his brother was before sending a wicked cross-ice pass to the Canucks’ captain. Niemi, who had previously committed to Daniel in tight, stood no chance as Henrik roofed it over him to tie the game 2-2 with 4:10 remaining in regulation. While the Canucks would go on to lose in a shootout, Daniel’s fantastic no-look pass helped the Canucks earn a much-needed point against a Dallas team that came into action having won eight of their last 10 games.

BEST SAVE

Miller robs O’Reilly in return to Buffalo (11/07/15)

It was an emotional night for goaltender Ryan Miller when he returned to Buffalo in early-November to face the team he had spent 11 seasons playing for. Miller, who is the winningest netminder to ever suit up in Buffalo, was honoured with a video tribute and got an ovation from the fans and players on the benches. The veteran goaltender was forced to make a superb save just four minutes into the game after Matt Moulson and Ryan O’Reilly broke in 2-on-1. Moulson fired a puck across the ice to O’Reilly, who launched a shot towards the goal. Miller was able to slide over and just get a toe on the shot, keeping the game scoreless. The Canucks would fall to the Sabres thanks to a late goal, but the game against Buffalo marked the 11th time in 13 games Miller had allowed three or fewer goals.

BEST FIRST CAREER GOAL

Virtanen strikes against Flyers (11/02/15)

With the Canucks leading the Flyers 2-1 nearing the midpoint of the period, 19-year-old rookie Jake Virtanen added some insurance. After fighting off the check of Scott Laughton in the defensive zone, Virtanen chipped the puck off the boards and flew past Flyers’ defenseman Brandon Manning. The youngster picked up the puck and carried it into the Flyers zone 2-on-1 with forward Alex Burrows. Virtanen used his hockey sense to determine blueliner Radko Gudas was taking Burrows, so this gave Virtanen the opportunity to cut right to the net with the puck. Virtanen drove to the net down the right wing, before cutting to the backhand and chipping the puck past Flyers’ netminder Steve Mason. It was the first career NHL goal for Virtanen, who had found out 36 hours earlier he had made the team. The goal was Virtanen’s third point in four games and helped the Canucks pick up a second consecutive victory.

BEST HAND-EYE COORDINATION

Daniel bats pass out of mid-air vs. Blackhawks (11/21/15)

It was vintage Sedinery. With the Canucks clinging to a one-goal lead in a game against the Chicago Blackhawks at Rogers Arena, the Sedins continued their phenomenal evening with an impressive goal in the final four minutes of regulation. The play started with Jannik Hansen, who dished out a nice feed to Daniel Sedin as the Canucks entered the zone. Daniel dropped the puck for Henrik, who almost immediately sauced a pass back to his brother. The brilliant dish from Henrik went over the stick of Michael Rozsival and got to Daniel. Unfortunately, it was still in the air when it got to his stick, but that wasn’t a problem for the veteran. Daniel batted Henrik’s saucer pass right out of the air and past the arm of goaltender Corey Crawford, completing a hat trick and putting the Canucks up 5-3. It was Daniel’s fourth point of the game, as he and his brother combined for nine points in a big win over the Blackhawks. The Sedin twin’s outstanding effort helped the Canucks snap a four-game losing streak and handed the Blackhawks their first regulation loss in five games. For Daniel, it was his 22nd goal in 53 career games against Chicago.

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