Talk about getting hot at the right time. The Vancouver Canucks have been on fire since the beginning of February, ripping off 15 wins in a 19-game stretch.

That includes a 11-game winning streak at home, a franchise record that comes as a bit of a surprise considering the Canucks were an underwhelming 11-11-4 at home as recently as Jan. 31.

The improved play of late has to be a huge relief for GM Mike Gillis, who watched Vancouver win one of 11 games in January (1-5-5) despite the addition of Mats Sundin and return of Roberto Luongo.

It gets a little tougher as the Canucks stare down the final dozen games of the regular season. After the Blues leave town, the Canucks do, too, for a six-game road trip; in all, eight of Vancouver’s final 12 games are away from GM Place.

There is a silver lining, though. Eight of those 12 games are also against teams in a non-playoff position, clubs like Colorado (three times), Los Angeles and Phoenix.

The Canucks face Northwest Division-leader Calgary one more time on April 7, but they don’t have to worry about Detroit or San Jose until the playoffs. And even then, it won’t be until the second round as Vancouver is looking good for the No. 4 seed — which means home-ice advantage in the first round — and maybe even No. 3, if they can catch Calgary.

If you eliminate that rough patch in January, when the Canucks had to adapt to Sundin’s arrival and Luongo’s return midway through the month, Vancouver is 36-18-4 this year. Over 82 games, that projects to a 107-point season, the type of total that would mark Vancouver as a top-flight contender for the Stanley Cup.

Question marks remain, of course. The defence corps is many things, but it isn’t overly blessed with depth. A significant injury to Willie Mitchell or Kevin Bieksa or Matthias Ohlund would be a big blow. (We won’t even get into the goaltending situation as we all know the team’s Cup hopes rise and fall with Luongo.) And while scoring hasn’t been an issue, the proof is in the playoffs and that’s where Ryan Kesler has to show he’s a legitimate sniping winger and the likes of Alex Burrows, Steve Bernier, Taylor Pyatt and Mason Raymond have to be enough of a threat to take the heat off of the Sedins and the Sundin-Pavol Demitra unit.

They might not have a true game-breaker on offence, but the Canucks do have the NHL’s best game-saver at the most important position on the ice. And when that happens, sometimes that’s all you need.

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