Jannik Hansen popped a rebound off his initial shot behind Pekke Rinne of the Nashville Predators to help the Canucks complete a 3rd period comeback and win 4-2 yesterday in the music city. The win was the 9th come from behind victory for the Canucks, a category they lead the NHL in. Is this a reason to be concerned, or is it a sign the Canucks are moving into that upper echelon of teams in the league? More after the jump...
Some will tell you that the fact that the Canucks have to continue to battle back is a sign there are issues with the team and they're not going anywhere. Granted, the fact that the Canucks have been giving up the first goal rather consistently is a trend that could lead to disaster if they don't stop it. But when you factor in the intangibles: Missing two of their top 4 defensemen, and despite the underwhelming names, and seemingly endless 'highlight' reel of mistakes they've made, the wins keep coming. Since losing Mitchell to a concussion in January, the Canucks are 12-5 and are poised to finish no worse than .500 on the Road Trip From Hell (tm). Obviously the Canucks would rather have both Mitchell and Bieksa back, but it's a testament to the depth of the organization that they continue to roll along in spite of the adversity.
Issues aside, the simple fact is, good teams find a way to win. The Canucks reached the 40 win plateau earlier than ever in team history, and have done it through a myriad of injuries, massive controversy and the aforementioned record setting road trip. It certainly fills you with confidence as we head into the stretch drive that this team may finally be ready to make some noise in the post season for the first time since 1994.
Tomorrow night is huge, as they battle the Colorado Avelanche in Denver in one of those ultra important divisional matchups. A Canucks win and they have a 4 point lead, a loss and the Avs will once again be tied in points, with the Canucks owning the tie breaker. My guess is we see Luongo tomorrow, then Andrew Raycroft Wednesday in Phoenix. Raycroft has been a pleasant surprise this year, providing the Canucks with some decent back up goaltending in his limited time. Knowing the Canucks will likely promote Cory Schneider to the back up role next year, Raycroft is making the most of this opportunity.
Around the breakfast nook...
Ridiculous timing aside, one can only hope the GM's meetings in Florida today get some real definitive action on the headshots that are plaguing the game. The trick is in finding the balance between protecting the health of the players, punishing offenders correctly and maintaining the physicality of the game. No easy task for sure, and with fresh evidence provided by Matt Cooke yesterday on Marc Savard they will have the ability to make deliberate headshots a thing of the past. We hope.
After Friday, much of the talk was perhaps the Chicago Blackhawks made the right call by not dealing for a goalie at last week's trade deadline. After witnessing the 2nd period explosion by the struggling Detroit Red Wings yesterday which saw them pound 4 past Cristobal Huet and the eventual game winner past Annti Niemi as they hung on to win 5-4. Now much of the talk is do they really want to face the Red Wings in the first round with the goaltenders they stood pat with.
Calgary got big games from Jarome Iginla and Rene Bourque yesterday as they beat the Minnesota Wild 5-2. It was a win for the first game in a Flames uniform by Vesa Toskala. Maple Leafs fans across Canada are awaiting the eventual collapse that Toskala is known for. The Flames win certainly helped their playoff chances, but are still not gaining ground on 8th place Detroit.