Talk about a statement win for the Vancouver Canucks.
The team was struggling heading into Sunday night, having only secured two out of a possible ten points in the first five games of their homestand. The Canucks had been playing well at 5-on-5 at home, often looking like the better squad on the ice, but were consistently being burned by their special teams and low offensive output, leading to four one-goal losses at Rogers Arena.
As a result, the Canucks knew that they had to desperately turn the ship around, and were hoping to achieve a better result against Jamie Benn and the Dallas Stars.
It appeared that the Canucks were heading for another loss early on, with the team once again surrendering a goal while down a man, despite their strong start to the contest. Fortunately for the fans watching, the team was able to bounce back in a big way, scoring four goals in the second period before sealing the deal with two tallies in the final frame.
This was the first time the Canucks had scored more than three goals since their 4-2 victory against Seattle on October 23rd, and they’ll definitely be looking to carry that offensive prowess into Tuesday night’s match-up against Anaheim.
Without further adieu, here are three takeaways from Vancouver’s 6-3 victory over Dallas:
Horvat, linemates lead the way
We’ve said it before, and we’ll definitely say it again. Bo Horvat is a damn good leader.
The 26-year-old captain was one of Vancouver’s best players on Friday night against Nashville, and he made sure to carry that dominant play into Sunday’s contest.
As expected, Horvat skated on a line with Tanner Pearson and Nils Höglander, and trio picked up right where they left off, providing energy and physicality from their opening shift. This line has been a revelation for the Canucks this season, carrying most of the offensive weight while Green continues to fiddle with his other combinations, and they made sure to put that on full display on their goal in the second period.
As we’ve seen for most of the season, Horvat, Pearson and Höglander were once again able to successfully transition out of the neutral zone and establish strong offensive zone time in their opponent’s end. On this sequence in particular, the trio were able to use their size and skill to successfully control the play against the boards, allowing them to cycle the puck between one another before eventually attacking the front of the net.
The rebound eventually landed on Horvat’s stick, leading to his fifth goal of the season, but let’s give kudos to Pearson for spearheading this play. The 29-year-old winger, who often doesn’t get as much credit as he deserves compared to his energetic linemates, was able to throw a dangerous shot on net after successfully muscling his way out of the corner, which led to the easy tap in for Horvat.
Pearson now has four points on the year, including two assists in his last two games, while Horvat notched the 14th multi-point performance of his young NHL career on Sunday night. The captain finished the evening with one goal and two assists, and currently sits third in team scoring with five goals and five assists.
Although Höglander didn’t register a point on Sunday, he was able to draw two separate penalties thanks to his high-energy and gritty style of play that perfectly complements Horvat and Pearson.
Let’s hope this line can continue to carry the momentum.