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Best of the Best: October 2017

...the best plays from the opening month of the season

by Brady Trettenero @BradyTrett / Canucks freelance writer

From a Bo Horvat power move to a Jake Virtanen reverse hit, the Canucks kicked off the 2017-18 season with a bang. Here's the best of the best from October.

Best Goal

Horvat scores Canucks' first goal vs. Oilers (10/07/17)

The Canucks were the last team to drop the puck on the 2017-18 NHL season. Bo Horvat made sure they got off to a proper start by netting a pair of goals in a 3-2 season-opening victory over the Oilers. The two-way center, who led the team in scoring last season, took matters into his own hands after the visitors jumped out to a 1-0 lead. With the Oilers leading midway through the first period, Horvat took a nice breakout pass from Alex Edler before driving hard to the outside and cutting to the net to beat goaltender Cam Talbot for the team's first goal of 2017-18. Horvat's terrific speed and strength was on display, as he accelerated to the outside, before displaying some great agility to fend off an Oilers' blueliner and bring the puck to the goal mouth. Not a bad season debut.

Video: EDM@VAN: Horvat drives to the net for PPG

Best Assist

Baertschi sets up Horvat with slick between-the-legs dish vs. Capitals (10/26/17)

Sven Baertschi and Bo Horvat have developed some great chemistry since joining each other on a line and it was on full display at Rogers Arena in one of Vancouver's final games of October. With the Canucks on a first-period power play and leading 1-0 against the Capitals, the lethal duo went to work. After goaltender Philipp Grubauer turned away a point shot from Brock Boeser, Baertschi made quick work at the side of the net to track the rebound and send a between-the-legs no-look backhand feed to a wide-open Horvat in the slot. Baertschi showcased his tremendous hockey awareness on the play, as he somehow knew exactly where Horvat would be. The Former Flame continues to take steps forward with the Canucks and sits tied for second in team scoring after one month. 

Video: WSH@VAN: Horvat finishes Baertschi's dish for PPG

Best Save

Markstrom robs Sens' Burrows in Vancouver return (10/10/17)

It certainly was an emotional night on Oct. 10 when ex-Canuck Alex Burrows returned to Vancouver for the first time since becoming a Senator. The veteran spent 12 seasons with the Canucks and developed into a heart and soul player before becoming a fan favorite. Ottawa did emerge victorious in a shootout, but it was Canucks' Jacob Markstrom who robbed Burrows of what would've been a special moment. With the Senators leading 1-0 in the first frame, a turnover enabled Tom Pyatt and Alex Burrows to break in on a 2-0 against Markstrom. Pyatt feathered a pass over to the former Canuck, who had a lethal snap shot snatched up by the glove of the Swedish netminder. Markstrom started seven games for the Canucks in October and finished the month strong, stopping 47 of 50 shots to help the Canucks earn three of a possible four points in outings against Detroit and Dallas. 

Watch: Youtube Video

Best Fight

Stecher takes on Oilers' Strome for first NHL fight (10/07/17)

Blueliner Troy Stecher may be one of the smallest guys on the Canucks' roster, but he certainly didn't show it in the season opener. After laying out Oilers' forward Ryan Strome with a massive hit in the corner during the second period, Stecher answered the bell when Strome challenged him to a fight. The 5-foot-10 Stecher held his own against Strome despite giving up three inches and five pounds. The defenseman landed a few hard rights and appeared to win the tussle. The Canucks were leading 3-1 at the time, as the scrap injected even more energy into Rogers Arena. The 23-year-old plays his heart out every game and has emerged as a vital piece on Vancouver's blueline.

Watch: Youtube Video

Best Hit

Virtanen stands up Red Wings' Kronwall (10/22/17)

Niklas Kronwall has developed a reputation for being one of the deadliest hitters in the NHL, as players of opposing teams always know they have to watch for him whenever they play the Red Wings. 21-year-old Canucks' forward Jake Virtanen wasn't about to be the next victim. With Vancouver holding a 4-1 lead during the third period at Little Ceasers Arena, Virtanen picked up the puck along the boards and skated out of the Canucks' zone. Kronwall had his eyes set on the Abbottsford product and went to lay him out at the blueline. Virtanen exemplified great awareness and strength as he looked up to see the blueliner coming, before fending him off with a great reverse hit. The 6'1" 229lbs winger scored twice and dished out a punishing 13 hits in the month of October. 

Tweet from @Canucks: Heads up, @Jake_Virtanen coming through! pic.twitter.com/MJavX1GL4e

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