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Best of the Best: February 2020

...best goal, assist, save, fight & moment from February

by Brady Trettenero @BradyTrett / Freelance writer

The Canucks remain in the hunt for the Pacific Division title after a month of February that saw them go 5-6-2. From Jake Virtanen sticking up for a teammate to a nifty assist by Quinn Hughes, the Canucks made some memorable plays this past month. Here's the best of the best from February.

Best Goal

Toffoli and Horvat execute give-and-go in OT vs. Habs (02/25/20)

It didn't take long for Tyler Toffoli to make an impact in Vancouver. Acquired from the Kings ahead of the NHL Trade Deadline, Toffoli has racked up four goals and six points in his first five games with his new team. After failing to pot an OT winner in his first 58 games with the Kings this season, it took just three contests for him to play hero for Vancouver. With the Canucks and Habs tied 3-3 in extra time at Bell Centre, Toffoli and Horvat executed a brilliant give-and-go play to give the Canucks the victory. Toffoli showcased his natural goal-scoring ability in this sequence, dishing the puck to Horvat before immediately going to the net. The former 30-goal-scorer made no mistake when he received the return pass, beating an outstretched Carey Price with a perfectly elevated wrist shot to end the game.

Video: VAN@MTL: Toffoli roofs game-winning goal in OT

Best Assist

Hughes sets up Gaudette with nifty pass vs. Bruins (02/22/20)

Quinn Hughes continues to make a convincing case for the Calder Trophy. The Canucks' elusive rookie blueliner was back at it in February, racking up two goals and 15 points in 13 games to help Vancouver keep pace in the playoff race. One of Hughes' best plays came in a highly-anticipated game against the Bruins at Rogers Arena. With the Canucks leading Boston 2-1 in the second period, Hughes teamed up with Massachusetts native Adam Gaudette to give Vancouver a two-goal lead. The play started with Hughes intercepting a clearing attempt by David Pastrnak at the blueline and then using his speed to walk in and maneuver around the Czech forward at the sidewall. Instead of taking the puck all the way around the net, Hughes made a nifty centering pass to Gaudette, who deflected the puck past Tuukka Rask to make it 3-1 Canucks.

Video: BOS@VAN: Hughes, Gaudette team up to double lead

Best Save

Markstrom lays out to rob Blackhawks' Dach (02/12/20)

Jacob Markstrom matched a career high with an incredible 49-save shutout against the Blackhawks on Sedin Night in February. The Swedish goaltender made several incredible stops in the game, but his best may have come in the second period against Chicago rookie Kirby Dach. With Chicago controlling play in the offensive zone, defenseman Duncan Keith unloaded a shot from the point that was turned away by the pad of Markstrom. The rebound went to a wide-open Dach, who deked to the backhand and appeared to have a wide open net to put the puck into. Markstrom showcased great awareness and flexibility to do a snow angel and reach back with his stick to prevent Dach's bid from crossing the line. It was another heroic effort from Markstrom, who has made 30-plus saves on 20 different occasions this season.

Video: CHI@VAN: Markstrom lays out to deny Dach in front

Best Fight

Virtanen fights Wild's Zucker after hit on Roussel (02/06/20)

Jake Virtanen isn't afraid to stick up for his teammates. After Antoine Roussel was rocked by Jason Zucker in the early goings of a game against the Wild, Virtanen stood up for his teammate and immediately dropped the gloves with the American forward. Virtanen got the better of Zucker in the scrap, knocking the helmet off the Minnesota player and feeding him with rights. It was the third career NHL fight for Virtanen, who is enjoying a career season with 18 goals and 35 points through 65 games. Virtanen has taken big strides offensively this season, but it's his physical prowess and willingness to go to bat for his teammates that has made him a fan favourite. The Langley native is once again one of the Canucks' hits leaders, ranking fourth on the team with 95 on the season.

Watch: Youtube Video

Best Moment

Sedin Twins have jerseys retired vs. Blackhawks (02/12/20)

It will forever be a special night in Vancouver Canucks history. The Canucks paid tribute to the Sedin twins with a jersey retirement ceremony ahead of the team's game with the Blackhawks this past month. The night began with Canucks players wearing Sedin jerseys with the numbers 22 and 33 on them during warm-ups before an almost hour-long ceremony took place. Many Canucks legends were on hand for the ceremony, including Trevor Linden, Markus Naslund, Mattias Ohlund and prominent members of the 2011 team such as Alex Burrows, Ryan Kesler and Roberto Luongo. Kevin Bieksa ultimately stole the show with an incredible speech that mixed humour with sincere and heartfelt words. Daniel and Henrik then gave their own speeches before watching their jerseys get raised to the rafters, becoming forever entrenched in Canucks history.

Watch: Youtube Video

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