Finally! The Vancouver Canucks played a complete team game and 60 minutes, defeating the Columbus Blue Jackets to register their first win of 2018. We look at three key takeaways from the 4-1 victory.
The Vancouver Canucks haven’t been the same since the forgetful 2013-14 season under former head coach, John Tortorella. But it was only fitting that this team picked up its first win of 2018 over ‘Torts’ and his Columbus Blue Jackets — an easy 5-2 victory.
Now, this win doesn’t mean the Canucks are going to surge again and re-enter the playoff race. Five-straight losses and a slide that saw them lose 13 of 15 will ensure they miss the playoffs for the fourth time in five years.
But really, you can’t help but be pleased for this group. They worked their tails off on Friday night, and caught a powerhouse Blue Jackets team napping all game long. This team finally got a win, and there’ll be plenty of smiles all around.
Here are three takeaways from Vancouver’s first win of 2018.
Slump busters galore!
I’ve said many times on here how somebody not named Brock Boeser has to start scoring. Well, the Canucks got goals from five different players on Friday night.
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That included Erik Gudbranson — who scored his first of the season. Hopefully it increases his trade value. I mean, one goal is better than no goals.
Sven Baertschi also scored his first goal since returning from injury. Brendan Gaunce and Alexander Edler potted their second goals on the season. And finally, Jake Virtanen scored his first goal since Jan. 21.
You see what happens when a guy not named Brock can chip in with offence? A handful of Canucks broke long goalless droughts, and it led to a victory.
Now, if the Canucks could just get a bit more of that. They’d be winning more games, and it would take the pressure off the rookie and his flow.
Thomas Vanek’s driving up the price tag
Thomas Vanek knows he’s going to be trade bait at the deadline. The pending UFA has had an excellent season in Vancouver, and tore it up again on Friday. Vanek potted two assists, and is now up to 12 goals and 31 points on the season.
Vanek will come very close to 20-goal, 60-point season. He’s resetting his value on the trade market, after being given away by the New York Islanders and Detroit Red Wings in 2014 and 2017, respectively.
Of course, the Canucks may feel enticed to giving Vanek an extension. He’s been an excellent fit for head coach Travis Green, and has been a great mentor to the young players. But in an ideal world, the Canucks trade him at the deadline then bring him back in the offseason.
But with his consistency, Vanek’s market at the trade deadline will only continue to go off. It’s music to the ears of president Trevor Linden and general manager, Jim Benning.
Sedins stay hot
Daniel and Henrik Sedin have been stepping up over the last few games, begging me to ask “Where was this before?” The captain finished with two assists on the night, while Daniel picked up one assist.
Don’t look now, but that’s four points for Daniel in his last four games. Meanwhile, brother Henrik is on a four-game point streak — registering five assists. The Sedin twins have began to play like true top-six forwards, which has been necessary with Bo Horvat and Brandon Sutter sidelined.
It’s encouraging to see that the Sedins can play like their vintage selves every-so-often. They’re true warriors who refuse to go silently each and every night. Just another reminder why the twins are the two best players this franchise has ever had.