Thought No.3: The Defence Steps Up
The Canucks’ defence showed up for the game. The entire top-six. When was the last time Vancouver could say that, eh?
Let’s take it from the top down.
Chris Tanev played the number one role when Alex Edler left the game after taking a shot off his foot. Tanev still managed to log almost 25 minutes of ice time without his partner, picking up a team-high two takeaways and no giveaways. He also played more than four minutes shorthanded.
Guess who played number two. Dan Hamhuis.
Just the second game back from his devastating injury, the veteran pending unrestricted free agent played almost 23 minutes in what was the best game that I remember him play in recent history.
Hamhuis’s box score isn’t much. But his ability to backcheck and to disrupt plays in his own back end was spectacular last night. He definitely is upping his value, perhaps making a case to stay with the Canucks.
Ben Hutton had the best box score of all the defencemen. The rookie logged two assists and now has 15 points in 46 games. That is good for fourth place in the rookie defenceman scoring race.
Sbisa also led all Canucks in hits with three and had the third-highest ice time after Tanev and Hamhuis. He had no giveaways and even had a takeaway!
Doesn’t that remind you of Edler in his prime?
Not saying Edler will not be missed or that Sbisa will turn into the next Edler. Just saying that if Sbisa plays like this every day, we might be happy with a Hutton-Sbisa pairing next year on our top-four.
Lastly, don’t forget about Matt Bartkowski. His mom might be a little disappointed if you do.
Nice fake slap, lucky to have the puck go through the netminder. A goal is a goal, though!
Next: Thought No.4: Time to Cave to the Injury Gods?