VANCOUVER, B.C. --Chris Higgins has been on four teams in two years, but he knew when he got traded to the Canucks at the deadline this year that his career could get the jolt of energy it needed in Vancouver.
Has it ever.
Higgins has risen from the underachiever status he picked up in New York and brought with him to Calgary and Florida to become a major contributor in this playoff run for the Canucks. He had 3 points on a goal and a pair of assists in Wednesday's 7-3 win against San Jose that lifted the Canucks to a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference Finals.
Higgins first assisted on Kevin Bieksa's go-ahead goal in the second period with a sharp crossing pass that hit the defenseman in stride. His power-play goal 7:56 into the third period turned into the game-winner, Higgins's third of the playoffs, and he also added the primary assist on Mason Raymond's goal late in the third.
He now has 8 points in 15 playoff games while playing mostly on Vancouver's second line with Ryan Kesler and Raymond. Higgins spoke about his big night and his team's dominant win late Wednesday in the Canucks' dressing room. Here is some of what he had to say:
Q: Is it important for you guys not to get too high despite the big win and a 2-0 lead?
A: We learned that lesson (against Chicago) and we saw Detroit teach these guys that lesson, too, so I don't think anyone is jumping ahead of themselves. We're just focusing on the next game. I know it's cliché, but that's what it is.
Q: Can you explain what this ride in the playoffs has been like for you?
A: It's been fun. It's a good team to play with -- a lot of skill and a lot of hard work. I'm just enjoying the ride right now.
Q: What is it about you and Max (Lapierre) that has allowed you guys to fit in so well with this team so fast?
A: I think it's just the group we have here. It's a competitive group. They want to win and they're focused. For two guys that want to come in and challenge for minutes, it was a good fit for us and we're trying to make it continue to be so.
Q: How about that pass to Bieksa there, what did you see?
A: I was on the ice for like two seconds and I didn't really expect to see “Juice” up there, but he was flying so I just gave him the puck.
Q: That was a very similar goal to how he scored in Game 1, beating the defensemen up the ice. When he's flying like that, how big is that for you guys?
A: He's a huge part of this team. I continue to be impressed by him every game. He's just a really good hockey player. He can jump to the holes when he needs to and he plays really good defense. We need him going like that for the rest of the playoffs.
Q: The way you guys were able to take it to them in the third period, was there a little bit of a message going on there?
A: I think it's the same story in the playoffs, when you get up a couple of goals they try to run around a bit to create momentum for the next game. We did a pretty good job of staying smart, but we're going to see some physical play carry over to the next game and we've got to be ready.
Q: Was that your team's most complete game of the playoffs?
A: It was up there, that's for sure. It got a little carried away at the end, there so I don't think we're getting ahead of ourselves.