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Best of the Best: December 2019

...the Canucks ended 2019 on a five-game winning streak

by Brady Trettenero @BradyTrett / Freelance writer

The Canucks are closing in on the Pacific Division-leading Vegas Golden Knights thanks to an impressive month of December in which they posted an 8-5-0 record.

From J.T. Miller destroying a water bottle for an overtime winner to Jacob Markstrom's incredible 43-save shutout against Carolina, the Canucks made some sensational plays this past month. Here's the best of the best from December.

Best Goal

J.T. Miller destroys water bottle for OT winner vs. Sabres (12/07/19)

J.T. Miller continues to prove to be a very valuable offseason acquisition for the Canucks. The former Ranger delivered in the clutch with his first overtime goal for the Canucks this past month. With Vancouver on the power play against the Sabres in extra time, Miller took a feed from Quinn Hughes at the point and unloaded a one-timer past goaltender Carter Hutton. Not only did the blast win the game for the Canucks, but it also obliterated the Buffalo goaltender's water bottle. It was an absolute cannon from Miller, who is up to 14 goals in 40 games with his new team. Miller has already surpassed his entire goal output with Tampa Bay last season (13) and is third on the Canucks in team scoring with 36 points heading into 2020.

Video: BUF@VAN: Miller wins it on power play in overtime

Best Assist

Horvat sets up Tanev's OT winner vs. Golden Knights (12/19/19)

The Canucks earned a big win over their Pacific Division rivals the Golden Knights this past month. A big reason for the victory was a clutch play in overtime by two of the team's leaders. With the game tied 4-4 in the 3-on-3 session, the Canucks worked the cycle game down low. Defenseman Chris Tanev sent a pass to Bo Horvat at the circle before making his way to the net. The Vancouver captain demonstrated incredible awareness and precision to spot Tanev cutting the net and feed him with a perfect tape-to-tape pass. Tanev made no mistake deking out netminder Marc-Andre Fleury to give the Canucks the victory. The play was made possible due to a perfect set up up by Horvat, who has now reached the 20-assist plateau in five consecutive seasons for the Canucks.

Video: VGK@VAN: Tanev buries game-winning goal in OT

Best Save

Markstrom robs Canes' Gauthier with the glove (12/12/19)

It was the Jacob Markstrom show when the Canucks played the Hurricanes at Rogers Arena this past month. The Swedish netminder turned in one of the best Canucks goaltending performances in recent memory when he stymied a dangerous Carolina offense for a 43-save shutout. One of Markstrom's best stops in the game came in the opening period on a breakaway. Canes' forward Julien Gauthier won a foot race and broke in alone on Markstrom. Markstrom kept the game scoreless by flashing the leather on a quick release shot by the Hurricanes forward that was labeled for the corner. Markstrom earned the Canucks five victories this past month and continues to be one of the busiest netminders in the league. After being one of only five NHL goaltenders to make over 1,700 saves last year, Markstrom is already up to 808 saves this year - eighth most in the NHL.

Video: CAR@VAN: Markstrom flashes leather on Gauthier

Best Milestone

Pettersson scores GWG vs. Canes to reach 100 career points (12/12/19)

Elias Pettersson's 100th career point in the NHL was also one of his best. The Swedish forward broke a 0-0 scoreless tie against Carolina this month with a beautiful overtime winner on home ice. The play started in the offensive zone when Carolina defensemen Jaccob Slavin lost his stick and Brock Boeser recovered the puck down low. Pettersson was open in the middle, but Slavin's stick laying on the ice was going to present a challenge. Boeser centered the puck but it bounced off the loose stick. Pettersson showed tremendous skill retrieving the puck off the stick, quickly deking to the backhand and unleashing a lethal backhand shot past netminder Petr Mrazek to end the game. The clutch goal was the 100th NHL point in 103 NHL games for Pettersson, who became the second fastest player in Canucks history to reach the milestone.

Video: CAR@VAN: Pettersson wins it in OT for Canucks

Best Moment

Alex Burrows is inducted into Canucks Ring of Honour (12/03/19)

December 3rd, 2019 will be a night ingrained in Canucks history. Feisty left winger Alex Burrows was inducted into the Canucks Ring of Honour during a pre-game ceremony before the team played the Senators. The Canucks wore No. 14 jersey in warmups to honour Burrows, who spent 12 seasons with the Canucks before ending his career with the Senators. He became an all-time fan favorite and scored one of the most iconic goals in franchise history, "slaying the dragon" with the OT winner in Game 7 against Chicago in 2011. Burrows thanked his longtime linemates Henrik and Daniel Sedin among others during an emotional speech that fired up the building before the game. Vancouver went on to beat Ottawa 5-2, getting a goal from Antoine Roussel, who pointed up to Burrows' place in the Ring of Honour during his celebration.

Watch: Youtube Video

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