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Best of the Best: December 2017

...the five best plays from a month of outstanding plays

by Brady Trettenero @BradyTrett / Canucks freelance writer

From Vanek's filthy drop pass to Boeser's snipe on Carey Price, the Canucks made some jaw-dropping plays in the final month of 2017. Here is the best of the best.

Best Goal

Boeser snipes vs. Habs (12/19/17)

Carey Price is one of the best goaltenders in the world, but that didn't stop 20-year-old rookie sensation Brock Boeser from beating him with a perfectly placed shot on the power play in a December matchup. With Vancouver trailing Montreal 5-3 in the third period, Daniel Sedin emerged with the puck down low and found Boeser in the high slot. With the Canadian netminder creeping out of his crease to challenge the youngster, Boeser placed a perfect shot over his glove to cut the deficit to one. Boeser's lethal shooting precision and accuracy was on full display, as Price was out of the blue paint and giving the forward nowhere to shoot. At the end of 2017, Boeser sits first in team scoring with a whopping 17 goals and 38 points in 36 games.

Video: MTL@VAN: Boeser cashes in on the power play

Best Assist

Vanek sets up Boeser with filthy drop pass vs. Blackhawks (12/28/17)

Thomas Vanek and Brock Boeser were electric in a late-month matchup against the Blackhawks, combining for nine points in a dominant victory. Their best moment came within the final two minutes of regulation. With Vanek already sitting on four points, the former Sabre took the puck down the left wing and made his way towards the goal mouth. Vanek made a tremendous move to undress Blackhawks' blueliner Jan Rutta and cut in, before dropping the puck back through the defender's legs to a wide-open Boeser. The rookie made no mistake to net his fourth point of the night and give the Canucks a 5-1 lead. At the end of the year, Boeser and Vanek were sitting 1-2 in team scoring with 38 and 28 points respectively. 

Video: CHI@VAN: Boeser scores off Vanek's perfect drop pass

Best Save

Nilsson robs Habs' Pacioretty with the glove (12/19/17)

The Canucks came up short in their December matchup against Montreal, but that doesn't mean there weren't some sensational plays. Goaltender Anders Nilsson made four starts in the final month of 2017, with his best save coming against Max Pacioretty of the Canadiens on Dec. 19. The Canucks and Habs were barely a minute into action before forward Jonathan Drouin dished the puck off to Paul Byron down low. Bryon then made a cross-ice pass to Pacioretty, who wired a shot towards a seemingly empty goal cage. It looked like the Montreal captain would be opening the scoring, before Nilsson lunged across to absolutely rob him with the glove. The Swedish netminder showed off great awareness and flexibility on the play, as he read where the puck was going and lunged across to stymie Pacioretty.

Video: MTL@VAN: Nilsson stretches to rob Pacioretty

Best Fight

Gagner drops the glove with Sharks' Hansen (12/21/17)

Sharks' forward Jannik Hansen is quite well-known by most players on the current Canucks' roster, but newcomer Sam Gagner isn't one of them. With some frustration mounting in a 1-1 tie during the first period of a December matchup at SAP Center, the ex-Canuck and one of the newest Canucks dropped the gloves. After Hansen took a run at Gagner near the Sharks bench, the two decided to engage in a round of fisticuffs. Both players landed a couple blows, with the tussle appearing to end in a draw. The Canucks were able to earn a point against the Sharks and Gagner played a key role, also assisting on Brock Boeser's game-tying goal in the second period. The ex-Oiler had an impactful month of December, racking up two goals and eight points in the final five games. 

Watch: Youtube Video

Best Moment

D.Sedin receives tribute before game vs. Maple Leafs (12/02/17)

The first game of December for the Canucks was an emotional one. Veteran Daniel Sedin reached the coveted 1,000 NHL point milestone against the Nashville Predators at the end of November and received a special tribute before the Canucks faced off against the Maple Leafs at the beginning of December. It had already been an emotional week in Vancouver, as it had been announced that forward Derek Dorsett would not return to the Canucks active roster due to health reasons and risks associated with playing. The heart-and-soul forward was brought out to give Daniel a silver puck from the team and Markus Naslund narrated a fitting video tribute that made the pre-game ceremony one to remember. The inspiring tribute helped propel the Canucks to a 2-1 victory, as they kicked off the month on a winning note.

Watch: Youtube Video

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