The Vancouver Canucks’ win over the Boston Bruins is a legitimate sign of good to come.
There were too many good storylines to choose from the Vancouver Canucks’ 4-2 win over the Boston Bruins. Of course, the fact that no penalties were called might cause some to think that the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals rivalry has cooled down: it has.
Nevertheless, the win means something more than just two points in the standings. Here are the five reasons Thursday’s win over the Bruins is more important than you think.
Reason One: Milestones feel good
With his first goal of the night, Daniel Sedin passed Markus Naslund for the Canucks’ all-time scoring leader. Daniel now has 21 goals and 43 points this season, on pace for 36 goals and 73 points. That would be the most number of goals the younger Sedin has scored in a single season since the 2010-11 season that yielded the Canucks a President’s Trophy and three wins in the Stanley Cup Finals.
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But like Alex Ovechkin‘s milestone goal number 500, the milestone is not just a number. The team looks forward to the milestone to be broken and wants to get the puck to him. And when your top forward has the puck, good things happen.
That is part of the reason the Washington Capitals are standing at the top of the NHL and also why the Canucks are 6-2-2 in their last 10 games.
You can also guess that the goal fuels Henrik and Daniel to grind out the rest of the season and continue to lead this young Vancouver squad.
Reason Two: Youth can Win
Mike Zalewski’s debut is one thing. His 5-for-7 in the faceoff circle is something better. His 52.4 percent relative Corsi For is simply terrific. His right winger Jake Virtanen earned second-star honours for three hits and a post while recording 54.2 percent relative Corsi For.
Which forward do you think recorded the most time on ice?
Vey led all forwards with 17:37 TOI. His third line was reliable once again, and Vey replaced Jared McCann on the top line when the Bruins had pulled their netminder. He got an assist on Daniel’s empty net tally. He deserved it.
Of course, 25-year-old Jacob Markstrom also stood tall. You couldn’t fault him on either one of the Bruins’ goals. The future is bright.
Reason Three: A Team Win
The Canucks outshot the Bruins 23-19 in the last 40 minutes of play. Finally. When was the last time that happened?
The team did not lean on Markstrom to have a spectacular night. When the Bruins scored late in the period after hitting Chris Tanev on a dirty play, the Canucks did not cave in. This was a true team win from mentally zoning in the arena they were ridiculed thrice in 2011.
Reason Four: Disciplined play
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This goes a long way against the league-leading powerplay of the Bruins’. The team stayed disciplined and did not let any old rivalry get in the way of playing good hockey.
That is why the Canucks need to score first and dominate possession. Outshooting the opposition and controlling the play diminishes the need to be frustrated and take penalties.
Perhaps it was the fact that Daniel was the only Sedin on the ice. Perhaps it was that Brandon Prust wasn’t on the ice. Perhaps it was that the Canucks were consciously trying not to be penalized. Whichever way, the Canucks played hard without taking any penalties.
Reason Five: Chemistry is showing
Captain Henrik is out. The next-in-line, Brandon Sutter, is out. There is a new centre on the fourth line. Who steps up at a time of need? The line of Baertschi, Horvat, and Vrbata. The line’s chemistry is oozing out production.
The in-zone passing work from the line has been magnificent. The two youngsters especially know where each other are. If there is one factor that stops Vrbata from getting traded, it is the chemistry and leadership he has provided on that second line.
Next up? The Pittsburgh Penguins without Nick Bonino (out with hand injury) and Adam Clendening (traded to Anaheim). It will be a good test for Horvat, Vey, McCann, and Zalewski (yes he is playing!) against some of the bests of the league in Sydney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.