The Canucks knocked off the top-ranked team in the league, and at the same time picked up their season-high fourth straight win of the season. The Canucks hadn’t won four games in a row since March 15-21 of 2007.
“Obviously it’s good getting rewarded for our hard play, and again tonight we had a real solid effort from our whole group,” said coach Alain Vigneault. “I think our four lines have got specific roles, and they’re contributing. We’re getting some offense from our defense.”
The Canucks exploded for an offensive burst and even scored something called “insurance goals,” a term Canucks fans might have forgotten over the previous 12 games, spanning all the way back to January 23.
In that stretch, the Canucks played extremely tight games, with 10 of those 12 games being decided by just one goal, and seven being decided by a shootout or overtime.
It’s been a nail-biting stretch that probably prompted many fans to invite their cardiologists over to watch the game with them.
But there was little stress for fans in the third period of the Canucks’ 4-1 victory over Detroit on Saturday night, as the home team monopolized the play. It was the first three-goal victory since a 3-0 January 3 win over the New York Rangers.
The wide margin of victory came courtesy of Ryan Kesler
, who notched both insurance goals in the third period.
The shut-down forward, who did an admirable job of stopping the Wings’ top line of Tomas Holmstrom, Henrik Zetterberg, and Pavel Datsyuk, chipped in a pair of goals for the third time this season, securing the game.
“Right now I’m playing with some confidence,” said Kesler. “I know first and foremost my job’s to shut down the other team’s top offensive guys, and being able to score a couple is just a bonus.”
The highlight reels might make this game look like an individual effort by Kesler, but the game showed a well-oiled machine with all cylinders firing.
The game featured a solid 28 save effort from Roberto Luongo
, a strong defensive night with all skaters playing well positionally, a pair of goals from defensemen, a pair of goals from the checking line, and sustained pressure from the other three lines. Not to mention a kill on a lengthy Detroit two-man advantage in the second period with the outcome still very much in doubt.
“We have four lines going,” said Kesler. “And we have most of our defense back, which is huge.”
It’s that type of effort that the captain wants to see from his squad from here on out. Markus Naslund noted that despite a win in their last game against Nashville, it wasn’t exactly a team effort, and it’s something he wanted changed. “We didn’t play well, but Louie stood on his head.”
Saturday night, he got what he was looking for. “Today we got a great team effort. I think that’s the way we have to win from now on, and hopefully we can keep the roll rolling.”