Everyone got into the action in last night’s 7-1 victory over the Dallas Stars; 14 of the Canucks 18 skaters registered points in a ruthless victory that solidified the Canucks place atop the Western Conference.
Most notably, former 30 goal scorer Mikael Samuelsson scored his ninth goal of the season, his first in 15 games. He finished with a game-high 5 shots and was a +2 in 13 minutes of ice time.
"It feels good to score goals, I'm not going to lie to you about that," said Samuelsson. "But this may sound cocky but I knew that if I kept doing the right things, being strong on the puck and moving it, it was just a matter of time”.
Fellow slumper Mason Raymond also potted his first in 12.
“It’s always good to get the monkey off the back, from there I have to work harder and continue to do the things that make you successful,” said Mason Raymond.
During the course of a season there will be ups and downs and slumps and streaks but it’s not something Coach Alain Vigneault worries about.
“At one point or another this happens to players,” said Vigneault. “Nobody made excuses, nobody was looking to blame anybody and they worked really hard to stick with the process and get on the right track”.
Throughout the secondary scoring drought the Canucks have demonstrated their maturity, battling hard, and finding ways to get points. For a supposedly slumping team, the Canucks are remarkably hot, having picked up points in 22 of their last 24 games.
The power play was the deciding factor last night, going 3/7, scoring two important goals in the first period when the game was still in doubt.
“Our special teams were huge and that made a big difference helping us get off to a good start,” said Mason Raymond.
The Canucks 3rd ranked power play has had trouble at home this season, ranking an anomalous 16th at Rogers Arena and 1st on the road.
“I thought last night the guys moved the puck better and were able to get into lanes where they could get pucks to the net and we had people there,” said Vigneault. “That’s the best way to make a power play work”.
The Sedin twins, buoyed by their power play contributions, continue their climb up the NHL scoring charts. Henrik Sedin had a goal and two assists last night, while brother Daniel added two helpers. Daniel is now third in NHL scoring, three points behind Sydney Crosby and four behind leader Steven Stamkos. Henrik registered his 50th assist of the season last night and sits ten assists above his nearest challenger.
As a final illustration of the team’s willingness to do whatever it takes to win, Canucks fourth liner Aaron Volpatti punctuated the dominating victory by diving to block a shot when the score was 7-1. His effort did not go unnoticed by the Rogers Arena faithful.
The Canucks are 2-0 against the Stars this season, outscoring them 11-2. Vancouver now hold a five point lead over the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference.
Vancouver hosts Nashville tomorrow night at Rogers Arena.
TANEV GETS HIS FIRST POINT
Chris Tanev has been keeping it simple, demonstrating poise and maturity well beyond his age and experience, making a smart first pass out of the defensive zone, and rarely getting caught out of position.
Yesterday, Tanev was rewarded with some late power play time, that resulted in his first NHL point on a goal by Dan Hamhuis.
"Putting me on the power play showed the coach had a little confidence in me," said Tanev. "It was sort of a shot-pass to Tamby, and it went straight out to Hammer. It was exciting, I’ve got the puck in my locker, I’m not sure who I am going to give it to yet, maybe my dad, maybe my brother”.
Tanev’s defensive partner and current NHL mentor, Keith Ballard, was equally pleased.
“I’m happy for him, he’s a really good kid, he plays a steady smart game and it’s nice to see him rewarded,” said Ballard.
Tanev will likely get a few more games under his belt before returning to Manitoba, as ailing defensemen Andrew Alberts and Aaron Rome are expected back shortly after the All-star break.
“I don’t know how long my time here is gonna last, but as long as it does I am going to keep enjoying myself,” said Tanev.