By me, Dee
The Vancouver Canucks clinched their fifth straight North West Division title Monday night with a 3-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. While the Canucks have been criticized for their lackluster play as of late, last night’s dominant effort against the Cup contending, conference rival, Blackhawks showed that Vancouver is indeed playoff ready.
The Canucks personifed playoff intensity Monday night, playing physical and outhitting the Blackhawks 37-23, with Maxim Lapierre leading the way with nine hits. All four lines were at their best, getting pucks deep and forechecking hard, something Daniel Sedin said the team set out to do early: “[f]rom the first shift we were focused on getting pucks deep and we were…forechecking the right way, which is a key for our team” (x). The energy they brought early, set the tone for the game, opening the scoring with Jannik Hansen’s first career powerplay goal in the first period, followed by second period goals by Zack Kassian and Daniel Sedin.
After the game, Captain Henrik Sedin noted that it was one of the Canucks’ strongest complete games this year, “[t]here was no hesitation, the [defence] was pinching, [and] the forwards were covering for them,” (x) their full team effort was clearly too much for the Blackhawks to handle. After the loss, Blackhawks Head Coach Joel Quenneville commented that the game “was the worst game of the year” for his club, which suffered their first regulation loss in 12 games (x).
Zack Kassian’s second period goal proved to be especially noteworthy because the assist Daniel Sedin drew on the goal moved Daniel past Markus Naslund as second on the Canucks’ all-time leading scorer list. The Rogers Arena crowd showed their appreciation of his milestone with a standing ovation. “It was a little surprising” says the humble Swede, “second place, I don’t know how big a deal that is…But it was nice for both me and Henrik. It’s a big thing for us” (x).
It took Daniel 905 career games to surpass Markus Naslund as the Canucks’ second leading scorer, not surprisingly that number is identical to the number of games it took Henrik to accomplish the same feat. Daniel, with 758 career points, now only trails his brother Henrik, who stands as the Canucks’ all time leading scorer with 791 career points.
With the playoffs starting in just a week, the Canucks are set to make a long run for the Stanley Cup this year. Henrik Sedin feels confident about his team’s chances stressing, “[t]his year, in this room, we know we have a good team. If we play like this, we’ve got as good of a team as anyone else” (x).
The Canucks have just two regular season games remaining, they face the Anaheim Ducks at home on Thursday, then hit the road to close out the regular season against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.
Also posted on Aerys Sports
He brings a lot of energy to the game. I know he’s known for his fiery nature on the ice, but he also brings a lot of heart. He’s always trying his best to improve himself, like putting on 20lbs of muscle this summer. I think his feet still have to catch up to his body, but hes never been the fastest. Given the opportunity, Lappy is able to step up, pitch in, and do whatever he can do to help the team win. He’s the kind of player that can up his game when it’s needed most. The Stanley Cup Finals were a prime example of that.