Though the players and fans would have appreciated some breathing room, the manner in which the Canucks snapped their lengthy losing skid may be more beneficial in the long run.
Alex Burrows’ breakaway backhand provided the drama required of most memorable games, but more importantly, it allowed the Canucks to win a contest in which they were less than perfect. The penalty kill is still a major point of concern; opposition power plays have converted on eleven of their last twenty-six opportunities after a pair of goals by the Hurricanes on Tuesday night.
Roberto Luongo looked razor sharp during the first twenty minutes only to allow a pair of goals that he stops with his eyes closed most days.
And once again the Canucks turned the puck over far too often, with many of the fourteen turnovers leading to chances for Carolina. This isn’t a case of focussing on the negative; it’s driving home the point that there is still plenty of room for improvement, which will be crucial to the Canucks making the cut in the Western Conference.
If Vancouver can cut down on the aforementioned mistakes, there is reason for optimism.
Mats Sundin is coming off his best game in Canucks’ colours, chalking up two points and dominating the face off circle in proving he still has the skills to be a difference maker at nearly 38 years old.
The power play has goals in three straight games and looks far more dangerous than it did a couple of weeks ago.
Most importantly, Luongo looks like he is getting close to going on one of the dominant runs he’s become known for. However, if the past month has taught Vancouverites anything, it’s that caution is as much a virtue as patience.
• The Canucks could be posturing to make a move in the near future. Vancouver reacquired defenceman Nathan McIver yesterday, sending tough guy Mike Brown to an Anaheim club that plucked McIver off waivers a few months back.
Shane O’Brien made it clear earlier this week that the Canucks are looking for a consistent physical presence on the back end, and McIver may be able to fill that role.
McIver will begin in Manitoba, but could soon wind up in Vancity if Mike Gillis decides to shake up the blue-line. TSN’s Pierre McGuire said teams have been inquiring about O’Brien’s availability for a few weeks, and his recent decision to air his grievances won’t help his job security in Vancouver.
• It will be interesting to see if Dave Dickenson goes into the CFL Hall of Fame as a Stampeder or a Lion when the honour inevitably bestowed upon him. He won two Grey Cups in Calgary as a backup and one in Vancouver as a starter.
Though Dickenson won his Most Oustanding Player award as a Stamp in 2000, he was the face of the Lions’ return to prominence in recent years.
Dickenson, who retired in Calgary yesterday, was 33-14 as a starter in BC and set CFL single-season records for highest completion percentage and quarterback rating.
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