The city of Vancouver has not seen a Stanley Cup victory since way back 1915 when the Vancouver Millionaires defeated the original Ottawa Senators. But with the Canucks now the talk of the town — and perhaps the NHL — the city could finally see another title, which would be the first in the organizations 40-year history.
In 1994, the Canucks made their second appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals (they were swept by the New York Islanders in their first appearance in 1982) and took Mark Messier’s New York Rangers to seven games in one of the most memorable Stanely Cup finals.
This year’s Canucks roster is so solid that it goes so much deeper than Roberto Luongo and the Sedins (Henrik and Daniel). Ryan Kessler is having one of his best seasons, and the third and forth lines are producing a lot of goals.
Surely this is Vancouver’s greatest chance to win the cup, and their current form would make them worthy champions.
The Canucks extended their unbeaten streak to seven games after their 3-1 victory over the Calgary Flames Wednesday night, and have only lost three times during December, two of which came in overtime. The Canucks have not lost in regulation in their last 14 games and are 12-0-2 during that span.
The Canucks will make their route to the cup a lot easier by winning their division, and even though we are only mid-way through the regular season, they look like a lock to win the Northwest Division with the way they’ve been playing
However, the Canucks would be wise not to get ahead of themselves. Recently, teams who dominate the regular season falter in the playoffs including the San Jose Sharks, who haven’t gotten over that playoff hump in their 20-year history.
While Kesler isn’t known for his goal scoring ability, the centre opened the scoring against the Flames, claiming his 20th goal and 36th point. Kesler’s 20 goals ranks him sixth in the league.
Kesler knows his team can go all the way this season, and there is a lot of responsibility on his shoulders to turn the Canucks from a good team into a great team.
However, Kesler isn’t the only one who needs to be at their best. As well documented, Luongo has struggled during the second season (17-17 career playoff record) and this year, the Canucks will need him to play his best hockey come crunch time. Now this may be a reflection on the team in front of him, but this year his Canucks team is one of the best in the league. Luongo, made 43 saves against the Flames is enjoying some of the best hockey of his career, as his confidence continues to build.
The Canucks may be enjoying life at the moment, but one big injury can shake the whole team. The Philadelphia Flyers were relaxing at the top of the Eastern Conference, but an injury to Chris Pronger led to Philly embarking on their worst run of the season, including two embarrassing losses to Florida and Vancouver.
Canucks fans will have no complaints about the team’s play at the midway point of the season. However, they will hope they haven’t peaked too soon as we head towards the second half of the season.