Sports

Are these guys for real? 0

By Hosea Cheung, 24 hours Vancouver

With just over a month left in the NHL regular season, playoff fever is starting to spread through Vancouver.

It might be a little too early to guarantee a postseason showing, but the cards are in the Canucks' favour.

Not only should this team make the playoffs, they also have what it takes to make some noise in the second season, thanks to the emergence of two scoring lines.

Who knew that moving Alex Burrows and Ryan Kesler to the top two units would do such wonders for this squad?

Since joining the Sedins on the top line 10 games ago, the newly re-signed Burrows has six goals and 11 points.

Kesler, on the other hand, has complemented Mats Sundin and Pavol Demitra, as the trio has tallied 44 points since their debut to start February.

Adding to the offence too is the defence, as the blueline has combined for 12 goals in the recent 12-3 stretch - with Kevin Bieksa getting five of those.

The biggest factor for Vancouver's recent success though is the play of Roberto Luongo.

Before last night's game against L.A., the goaltender had not allowed more then two goals in the past seven games, while sporting a 1.56 GAA over that span. It's safe to say that the captain is back.

Last week, GM Mike Gillis proved that he was confident with his team by not making any roster changes at the trade deadline.

Whether that was a brilliant or foolish move is yet to be seen, but it has to speak volumes for the team when the management believes in the group.

Calling the Canucks a true Cup contender might be hasty but judging from the past 15 games - in which the team has won 12 - it may seem appropriate.

And after Saturday's convincing win over one of the league's top teams, it's tough not to be optimistic.


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