Sports Canucks

Canucks finding ways to win 0

By Hosea Cheung, 24 hours Vancouver

Dec 9, 2013; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks forward Daniel Sedin (22) moves the puck in front of Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Justin Peters (35) and defenseman Andrej Sekera (4) and defenseman Justin Faulk (27) during the second period at Rogers Arena. (Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports)

Dec 9, 2013; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks forward Daniel Sedin (22) moves the puck in front of Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Justin Peters (35) and defenseman Andrej Sekera (4) and defenseman Justin Faulk (27) during the second period at Rogers Arena. (Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports)

All of a sudden, everything's going the right way for the Vancouver Canucks.

For some time there, the players and the coach were trying to convince anyone who would listen that the team was playing the right way. They just weren't getting the results.

While that may be the case, the wins were and still are what actually matters and in November, it was coming few and far between for Vancouver.

That's all changed.

The Canucks are finding ways to win — most recently coming off back-to-back games where they managed to actually hang onto a third period lead. They have strung together five victories, their longest streak this season, and get three days between games — including two practice days off Tuesday and Wednesday — before the Edmonton Oilers come into town Friday. But there's still room to improve.

"We're not as aggressive as maybe we want to, but we're still playing within our system and keeping them to the outside," Canucks captain Henrik Sedin said. "I think the last two games have been really good that way."

It's not just the last two games where things have been going good for the Canucks.

Their penalty kill remains tops in the league while their power play put together a run of scoring in seven straight games.

Their 2-0 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday was just the first time this season they won when held to fewer than three goals.

And the Canucks have also scored first in their last five games — a nice trend as well, considering they found themselves trailing early so many times this season.

"It makes it easier," Henrik said. "The first few games of the season felt like we were coming back from behind each and every night. It wears on you.

"It's been huge for us."

The best line going for Vancouver these days is the trio of Chris Higgins, Ryan Kesler and Mike Santorelli — the latter continuing to receive rave reviews from head coach John Tortorella.

The three have combined for 15 points in the last five games, and have been in on 10 of the last 14 goals.

"The line is going well right now," said Higgins, who had two assists against the Canes. "We're playing a lot of time in the offensive end which makes it a fun game. We're reading well off each other. It's been a lot of fun."

However, while the team's so-called second line has been finding ways to score, the top line hasn't been exactly clicking on a consistent basis.

"It's not good enough," Henrik said of himself and his brother, along with whatever winger gets thrown onto the trio. "We're in there, we're creating a lot of puck possession down low, but if you look at our game overall, I don't think we're getting enough grade-A chances.

"It doesn't matter who plays on our wing, it's up to us to get better. It's going to come."

Adds Tortorella on the Sedins: "I'm not worried about them. I'm not letting them off the hook either. They need to be better.

"I still think they are still involved in the offence, they are a little snake bitten at times, and I think they need to shoot a little bit more when they have the opportunities."

 

 

 

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