Make that four in a row for the Vancouver Canucks.
The team came into Rogers Arena on Sunday night, hoping to continue their winning ways against the red-hot Carolina Hurricanes. Ever since cleaning house last week, the Canucks have been on a roll, outscoring their opponents by a margin of 10-4 over three contests, while also securing all six possible points during that span.
However, Sunday’s match-up was gearing up to be the most difficult one of their current homestand, facing off against a Carolina team that was looking to extend their win streak to five games to keep them atop the Metropolitan Division.
Similar to Wednesday night’s contest against Boston, the Canucks put up a hard-fought, gritty battle against the Canes, eventually pulling away with a 2-1 victory.
With the win, new head coach Bruce Boudreau was able to improve his record to 4-0-0 with his new club, while also putting them just two points back of the sixth-place Los Angeles Kings in the Pacific Division.
Without further ado, here are the three takeaways from Sunday’s victory over Carolina:
Lots of shots, but not many high danger scoring chances against
It’s been no surprise that one of the Canucks’ weakest spots this season has been their blueline, and that was once again put to the test on Sunday night.
For the second consecutive outing, Boudreau was without the services of Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Travis Hamonic in the top-four rotation, forcing him and his coaching staff to rearrange their defensive pairings.
Poolman logged a season-high TOI of 23:50, which also stood as the third-highest ice time in his career, while notching a career-high for blocked shots with seven, including a key one near the end of the third period.
There’s no doubt that the former Winnipeg Jet has played well below his four-year, $10 million contract, but he has definitely stepped up as of late in the absence of Hamonic, which we’re all hoping he’ll continue to do moving forward.
There should also be big praise for Luke Schenn.
The big-bodied, 32-year-old blueliner was once again paired up with Quinn Hughes on the second pairing, and he didn’t look at all out of place. Schenn logged just under 20 minutes of ice time on Sunday, the second highest of his season just behind Wednesday’s game against Boston, including some penalty kill time in the third period.
Despite being outshot by a margin of 29-26 after 60 minutes of play, the team was still able to limit Carolina to very few high-danger scoring chances throughout the contest, large in part to how the entire defence core performed.
Yes, it wasn’t a perfect defensive game for the Canucks but, given the personnel that they’re currently working with, as well as Carolina’s 11th-ranked powerplay and goals for per games played rate, the pairings should be applauded for keeping Carolina to the outside for majority of the game on Sunday.
Quality over quantity, right?