It didn’t look like the end result would be promising after the Edmonton Oilers opened the scoring in the first period, and then added another eight minutes into the second. You have to give credit to the Canucks for bearing down in the second to out-shoot the Oilers 15-4 and when Jannik Hansen scored in the second to draw within a goal, it looked like they would make a game of it.
Kevin Bieksa tied it up with his first goal of the year with two and a half minutes left, and from there it was to make sure that the Canucks came out of this with a least a point. Maybe that was the Oilers thinking also but in overtime the Canucks were pressing for the extra point. When Chris Tanev jumped into the high slot and took a tape to tape pass from Daniel Sedin and snapped it in, it was a comeback that was worthy of accolades from a team that is starting to find ways to win.
For Chris Tanev that was his first NHL goal and by the mobbing and helmet rubbing he got from his teammates, you could see they were more then happy for him. Heck, even the commentators John Shorthouse and John Garrett were excited for him. It looked like the Canucks had just won a playoff game and who knows, with the points being some important this season, maybe it will mean a better position in the Western Conference come season end.
I have stated this in an earlier blog but I have to reiterate for those that didn’t read it. Tanev and his partner Keith Ballard, to me, have been the best defensive pairing so far this season. That statement is also supported in the +/- column as both Tanev and Ballard lead the D-men with a plus four rating.
The poise and calmness that Tanev displays is far beyond his 63 NHL games that he has played so far. That pair just makes the Canucks defense so much better as I don’t see a weakness in the top six. Look around the league right now and I don’t think you will find a better starting six rotation.
As far as Roberto Luongo goes – he continues to make those timely saves and lower his GAA. That now sits at 1.53 with a .940 save percentage. If the Canucks are going to ride the hot hand, then I don’t see Cory Schneider getting into a game until a pair of back-to-backs take place starting February 21 and then March 2. Until then, I guess Schneider waits his turn.
Who knows, maybe the Canucks just hang on to Luongo until the seasons over. I mean, since 2006, I have never seen Luongo play so well, so early in the season. With the amount of games having been played so far, this would still be the equivalent of October for him.
An unusual three day break takes place before the Canucks visit the Minnesota Wild. I noticed that the Wild picked up some more toughness in Mike Rupp in a trade. Interesting that with the Canucks having their grittiest team since probably 1994, other Western Conference teams are starting to take notice.
Ice Bits – With Ryan Kesler starting to skate, does that mean that Jordan Schroeder, who has played pretty well in that third centre spot, will be sent back to the Chicago Wolves? I’ll answer that with a most likely.
As the Canucks currently sit 20th in face-off percentage (49.1), and Schroeder at 42.8, it’s not likely that they would waive Manny Malhotra (66.7) just to find a roster spot for Schroeder. The likely candidate might be Andrew Ebbett if the Canucks feel that Schroeder needs to stay with the club.
I still say that if Alex Edler is going to be your number one D-man, then he has to play his natural position – on the left side. Convert someone else that’s a left hand shot to play the right side. That, or pair Tanev or Bieksa who are right hand shots with Edler, and Tanev the way he’s playing, would not be a stretch.
I really like the way Keith Ballard is playing this season and maybe that’s also the reason that Tanev is playing so well - and vice verse.
Photo Credits – AP, Getty Images, Google Images and Yahoo Sports!
Video Credits – YouTube
Quote Credits – The Vancouver Sun and Province
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Filed under: Vancouver Canucks