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Best of the Best: October

by Brady Trettenero / Vancouver Canucks
For once, October was kind to the Vancouver Canucks. The team is off to a 7-3-0 start and as you'll see, there have been some sensational plays thus far.

Edler Joins Rush and Beats Bolts’ Bishop (10/18/14)

Vancouver scored their fair share of highlight-reel goals in October, with Radim Vrbata netting a few beautiful tallies off some great Sedin passing plays. It’s always good, however, to see a defenseman jump into the play and create offense. With the Canucks trailing 2-1 to the Tampa Bay Lightning at Rogers Arena, Alexander Edler brought the crowd to its feet with his first goal of the season. Just as a Dan Hamhuis penalty was expiring, the Canucks took off with the puck towards the opposing goal. Daniel Sedin carried it into the zone, before dishing off a beautiful pass to Edler, who had joined the rush. Edler fought off a backchecking Ryan Callahan and fired a shot past 2014 Vezina Trophy nominee Ben Bishop, knotting the game 2-2. Although the Canucks would end up dropping a 4-2 decision to the Lightning, Edler’s game-tying goal was one to remember.

Daniel Sedin Dishes Out No-look Backhand Pass vs. Oilers (10/11/14)

The Sedins have been looking like vintage Daniel and Henrik this season, and here’s why. Trailing by a pair of goals in their second game of the season, the Canucks were looking to capitalize on an important second-period power play. After Henrik and Daniel exchanged a few passes, the captain cycled it back one last time to his brother, who sent a nasty no-look backhand pass to Radim Vrbata. The former Coyotes forward took the cross-crease pass from Sedin and wired it past goalie Viktor Fasth, cutting the Oilers’ lead to one. The pass was so slick, Fasth had barely gotten cross-crease before the puck was already in the goal. The power-play tally made it 4-3 Oilers, helping the Canucks eventually crawl back and win 5-4 win a shootout.

Miller Robs Blues’ Lehtera with the Toe (10/23/14)

Ryan Miller is off to a great start with Vancouver, posting a 7-1-0 record in the month of October. The 2010 Vezina Trophy Winner makes everything looks easy, relying on solid positioning and stability to be a brick wall in the Canucks’ crease. He was, however, forced to make some spectacular saves during the first month of the season. One of his best came in a road victory over the St. Louis Blues, where he used his toe to rob forward Jori Lehtera. With the game tied 1-1, Lehtera took a beautiful cross-ice pass from Vladimir Tarasenko in the slot, before rifling the puck towards the goal. Miller utilized his excellent flexibility to stretch out his leg and deny Lehtera with the toe of his skate. The save led to a Canucks’ rush the other way, where newcomer Nick Bonino would beat Jake Allen for the eventual game-winning goal. Millers’ key third-period save helped the Canucks defeat one of the biggest threats in the Western Conference by a 4-1 score.

Hamhuis Drops the Mitts with Oilers’ Nugent-Hopkins (10/11/14)

After Dan Hamhuis dished out a body check on 21-year-old Oilers’ forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the Burnaby, BC native took exception. The two started jostling near the glass, before Nugent-Hopkins dropped the mitts, with Hamhuis instantly following. Hamhuis, who hadn’t fought since 2010 when he was with the Nashville Predators, landed some great right-hand punches on Nugent-Hopkins, eventually wrestling him to the ground. The young Oilers’ forward, who was dropping the mitts for the first time in his career, landed a couple good hooks on Hamhuis before beating brought to the ice by the veteran blueliner. The fight brought the Rogers Arena crowd to its feet, with many giving Hamhuis a standing ovation. The tussle appeared to energize the Canucks, who scored a power-play goal not even 50 seconds later.

Vey Fist Pumps After Scoring First NHL Goal (10/11/14)

After the Canucks fell behind 4-2 to the Edmonton Oilers in their second game of the season, Vancouver put their resiliency on display. Radim Vrbata made it 4-3 in the second period, before Linden Vey struck in the third period. On a power play, Vey took a pass from Daniel Sedin in the slot, before rifling the puck through the pads of Oilers’ netminder Viktor Fasth, knotting the game at four. Following his goal, Vey got down on one knee and cranked out a first pump, showcasing his energy and excitement. Vey’s first NHL goal completed the comeback and helped the Canucks later get to the shootout, where they would go on to defeat the Oilers for a 5-4 victory. In just his second game with Vancouver, Vey already had recorded more goals than he did in 18 games with the Los Angeles Kings last season. That’s reason for excitement.

Tanev Shows Off Goaltending Skills vs. Blues (10/23/14)

Just when we thought we were past this, we get another goaltending controversy. Ryan Miller was spectacular against his former team, making 31 saves, but when he needed help, defenseman Chris Tanev provided it. With the Canucks leading 1-0, the Blues were pressing on a power play. Alex Steen fired a shot from the point that redirected in front and went to sniper Vladimir Tarasenko at the side of the goal. With Miller down and out, the Russian youngster fired the puck towards the net, but Tanev dove across, stopping the puck with his glove. The block was a pivotal moment in a game the Canucks would go on to win 4-1.

Henrik Sedin Fights Off Flames to Score a Beauty (10/08/14)

With the Canucks leading the Calgary Flames 3-2 late in the third period of the season opener, captain Henrik Sedin put forth a magnificent effort to secure Vancouver’s first victory of the season. Already with an assist on the night, Hank wasn’t done just yet. With the Flames pressing and trailing by a goal, Henrik collected the puck at Vancouver’s blueline and dashed up-ice, his sights set on an empty Flames’ goal cage. The 33-year-old centre fought off Flames’ defenseman Mark Giordano, but was then knocked down by his partner Kris Russell. That didn’t stop Henrik, as he managed to guide the puck into the goal with one hand while sliding on the ice. What terrific strength from Sedin, whose empty-netter helped the Canucks defeat the Flames 4-2 for their first win of the season.

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