Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Canucks top five plays of the month - April 2013 edition

With the exception of one chill-inducing win in particular, Canucks fans should be content to leave the team's 7-5-1 April in the rear-view mirror -- though that goes without saying with playoff puck drop set for tomorrow night.  Nonetheless, BTD is here to put a damper on your post-season anticipation with a quick look back at the best of April.  Aforementioned win well-represented.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Henrik's records 605th career assist, continues to climb the all-time list

A week after recording his 600th career assist in a game against the Flames, Henrik Sedin has continued his climb among the league's best playmakers of all-time.  Assisting on Ryan Kesler's powerplay goal less than two minutes into the game, Henrik passed Nordique Hall of Famer Michel Goulet as the 73rd most prolific playmaker in NHL history.  And at 606 assists, the Canucks captain stands nine helpers behind yet another Hall member, Rod Gilbert, who represents the next rung on the NHL's all-time assists ladder.

Henrik eclipsed the former Nordique and Blackhawk forward's
604 assists in 155 fewer games. 

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

On Kesler's return and the hope for ensuing dominance

The last time Ryan Kesler made a triumphant return from long-term injury, the Canucks dropped a 4-3 game to the Dallas Stars and went on to lose five of seven games with the Selke-winner in the lineup.  This time around, the initial omens are far more encouraging.  Kesler's presence catalyzed a team performance that the final score failed to do proper justice.  Despite solving the Coyotes' irritable netminder just once, the Canucks outshot Smith and co. in excess of a two-to-one ratio. 

Currently averaging in the bottom-half of the league in shots on goal (28.3 per game), their 41-shot effort represents the Canucks' highest output thus far in 2013.  The only other time they hit 40 was February 4 against the Oilers, thanks to a seven-shot overtime.  (None sweeter than the last, mind you.)

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Derek Roy and the Canucks' March in review [with top five plays of the month]

As seemingly always, the Canucks have been a team of many faces this season – as capable of a six-game win streak as they are of losing to the worst team in their conference.  A 3-4-2 start to the month of March meant losing their divisional cushion on the Minnesota Wild.  Consequently, even an 6-1-0 run to finish the team's busiest month of the campaign (16 games in 28 days) wasn't enough to regain their lead atop the Northwest.  But that has as much to do with the Canucks' early-month struggles as it does Zach Parise and Ryan Suter finally paying dividends for the Wild.  Time will only tell how the respective Sabre-fying (yes, that's a word now) of either team will tip the Northwest scales.

While Derek Roy's capacity to jump start this team into consistency remains to be seen, one can imagine that the mere presence of a healthy, veteran centre in the lineup will do wonders in relieving pressure off the Sedins.  Taking nothing away from the trio of Jannik Hansen, Jordan Schroeder and Mason Raymond – easily the Canucks' most successful second line combination thus far in 2013 – Henrik and Daniel's best years have very neatly corresponded with the legitimate distraction that Ryan Kesler's 70-point pace represented.

Needless to say, a player like Roy has been sorely needed in Kesler's absence, but credit is nonetheless due to several from the supporting cast for filling in the secondary scoring quotient.  Among the most deserving has undoubtedly been Hansen, whose March exploits were summarized in BTD's previous article.  It takes a lot for a Canuck to outscore either of the Sedins, but for a nine-game stretch in which Hansen recorded two goals and five assists, he nearly outscored the two of them combined.  And over the entire 16-game March schedule, his 12 points were second only to Henrik's 13.

But what his aforementioned linemates have lacked in sheer will-power and overall production (Schroeder and Raymond had 4- and 9-point efforts in March), they have made up in far more BTD-friendly dangles and spin-o-ramas.  As such, Hansen's fellow speedsters are featured rather prominently in the latest installment of the top five plays of the month.  Honey Badger may often get what he wants these days, but apparently not if it involves any sort of highlight reel dangle.

See the top five plays of the month for March 2013 below.