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Something scary for thought

by Jen Rollins / Vancouver Canucks
For some people, Halloween is all about candy, costumes and creepy critters.

For the Canucks this year, Halloween means another day at the rink. Though the boys in blue will be spending the holiday in sunny California, the spirit of Halloween hasn’t been lost on them.

Typically the horrors of Halloween come out in the form of haunted houses and fake cobwebs, but for the Canucks the scariest parts of Halloween come out on-ice.

Take the Canucks red-hot power play of late. With the man advantage, the Canucks have been clicking at a frightening pace. Going 6/21 for 28.6 per cent in the last three games, the Canucks power play has moved to 13th overall in the League. The penalty kill has been even scarier with a perfect success rate, killing 23 of the last 23 penalties.

Much of it starts from the back-end with Canucks Captain, Roberto Luongo. While he’ll be donning the visiting colours for tonight’s match-up in Anaheim, teammate Jason Krog thinks Superman’s red and blue might be more fitting. When asked who in the League would do best to wear the suit and cape for Halloween, Krog was quick to point out the star netminder.

“I have to go with Roberto because he can throw the team on his shoulders some nights. He’s the difference in a lot of games,” said Krog.

Case in point, Luongo kept the Kings off the scoreboard last night, stopping all 28 shots to give his team the win and collect his 40th career shutout. A solid outing for the forwards didn’t hurt either. Mason Raymond showed once again that he’s a force to be reckoned with. His even-strength tally would strike fear in most defencemen in the League. He showed a giant slap shot before dancing around Kings rookie defender, Oscar Moller, and snapping the puck past Jason LaBarbera.

Raymond’s output already has him on-pace to top his career highs in points by a country mile. He’s not the only one. The checking line of Ryan Kesler, Alex Burrows and Jannik Hansen is on pace for a huge year. The same could be said for most of the Canucks forwards.

Balanced scoring has the Canucks with an imposing 3.20 goals per game through 10 games played. While many critics knocked the Canucks for a lack of offence coming into the season, their output so far has them sitting near the top of the League in goals scored. Only six other teams have scored more goals per game.

That’s scary.

And while they’re burying their chances offensively, the Canucks haven’t forgotten their own end. The team carried a frightening road stat into Anaheim on Halloween. With 92 blocked shots in seven road games, the Canucks are third in the League in blocked shots. Their hitting on the road should strike fear in their host teams too. With 136 hits on the road so far, only three other teams lay out more abuse to the home team. Canucks hitting leader, Steve Bernier has a lot to do with the feat. His 26 hits in ten games have him 27th overall in the League in hitting.

The boys might be short on candy and costumes this Halloween, but with the combination of a deadly penalty kill, blazing power play and hard-hitting forecheck, the Canucks will be tough enough to strike fear in any opponent.

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