Taking a moment to think back about that incredibly passionate affair against Detroit on Saturday night, it becomes clear that this Canucks team is capable of besting the toughest opponents in the league. This comes after the Canucks had already been on a five-game winning streak. We can only hope that the sudden influx of secondary scoring will not shut off as quickly as it began.
Since early last season, the Canucks have been relying on the Sedin twins, to an almost unbelievable degree, to win most of their games. It’s gotten to the point where Daniel can open the scoring in the Detroit game, and later call it an off-night. The Canucks have been dying to start getting more secondary scoring, though, to not only give themselves a better chance of winning, but also to take some of the opposition’s focus away from the Sedins. Judging by the recent Raffi Torres and Manny Malhotra explosions, we’re making progress. Besides his faceoff and penalty-killing skills, Malhotra has already had several multiple-goal games. He is now just behind the Sedins in points; meanwhile, Torres was named the “NHL’s First Star of the Week” as he led the league, scoring five goals last week. He did so while also landing some of the hardest, most satisfying hits this season. Not only did he finish his hat trick against the Oilers with a huge body check, but he set the mood with a massive hit on Brad Stuart behind the Wings net.
Going into the Detroit game on a winning streak, it was an important challenge for the Canucks. They had the opportunity to really see how they measured up against the “New York Yankees of the NHL” – a test they aced with three third period goals.
Many Canucks teams in the past may have crumbled under the pressure of going down by a goal early in the third period against a top team like Detroit, but, instead, these Canucks fought harder. It felt like a playoff game; the battles got more intense and the passionate desire to overcome the Wings became tangible. It was the Canucks’ best game of the season so far.
Prepare to spend more exciting Saturday nights in front of the TV set, as November has three Hockey Night in Canada CBC games that promise to be spectacular. After that Detroit game, the other two are against the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Chicago Blackhawks. The Leafs game starts at 4 p.m. though, which is even more annoying than the 4:30 starts in the recent games against Montreal and Ottawa. The Hawks game marks the end of the two-week Eastern road trip, as the Canucks return home to take on their biggest rivals.
Perhaps more annoying than the early start against the Senators is the fact it is on Sportsnet Vancouver. Sure, it might be alright for those who actually have the specialty channel, but to the rest of us, it is like Pay-Per-View, but with the stupid ads instead of the awesome special features that are used to fill the period intermissions. Ugh.