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The Vancouver Canucks all of a sudden have every part going for them besides time.

Their 5-2 highway victory Sunday in opposition to the New York Rangers, which adopted the Canucks’ 7-1 dwelling win Thursday in opposition to the Calgary Flames, offers Vancouver a three-game profitable streak for the primary time since December.

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Publish-Recreation: The Canucks maintain on in New York

February 28 2022

At 26-22-6, the Canucks are 4 video games over .500 for the primary time in almost two years, and their 69 per cent profitable share since Bruce Boudreau turned coach on Dec. 6 ties Vancouver (18-7-4 since then) with the mighty Toronto Maple Leafs (17-7-2) for the perfect file in Canada.

Goalie Thatcher Demko continues to play like a Vezina Trophy candidate, elite forwards J.T. Miller and Elias Pettersson are driving the assault, and even the Canucks’ wonky particular groups look higher.

It’s simply too unhealthy the workforce was 22 video games into the Nationwide Hockey League season earlier than it began enjoying like this.

The Canucks are racing the Edmonton Oilers, Dallas Stars and Anaheim Geese for a wildcard playoff spot within the Western Convention as a lot as they’re racing time.

They’ve 28 video games remaining, beginning Monday in opposition to the New Jersey Devils.

That most likely received’t be sufficient. However with 5 wins in six video games – three of them in opposition to groups which are among the many NHL’s finest – the Canucks seem to have discovered one other gear simply in time for the ending kick to the common season.

Matthew Highmore and fellow fourth-liner Juho Lammikko scored on second-period deflections after first-period objectives by Tanner Pearson and Tyler Myers, each arrange by J.T. Miller, put the Canucks up 2-0. Pettersson scored into an empty internet after a sudden third-period surge by the Rangers allowed Alexis Lafreniere and Ryan Strome to attain objectives a bit greater than 4 minutes aside.

“I feel we’re simply enjoying with plenty of desperation,” Highmore mentioned. “I imply, not that we weren’t in January . . .  however I feel we have discovered a bit one thing right here. Our group is rising in confidence. We’ve to proceed to maintain it going and get factors, and also you by no means know what’s going to occur.”

VEZINA PREVIEW?

After the Rangers used beginning goalie Igor Shesterkin in Saturday’s 1-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, New York coach Gerard Gallant selected to relaxation his Vezina and Hart Trophy candidate in opposition to the Canucks, who noticed backup Alexandar Georgiev. However that didn’t imply there wasn’t nonetheless a Vezina candidate on show at Madison Sq. Backyard. Demko had one other excellent recreation, stopping 31 of 33 photographs.

As with the win in opposition to the Flames, Demko’s most necessary saves had been within the first interval when the rating was shut. He made point-blank stops in opposition to Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad.

“I’ve run out of issues to say as a result of, I imply, he is been unbelievable,” Boudreau mentioned. “The Calgary recreation wasn’t a 7-1 recreation and this recreation wasn’t a 5-2 recreation. If it wasn’t for Demko early, it might have been rather a lot completely different. He involves play each night time.”

PLAYING EVERY NIGHT

It’s far too early to say if final week was a turning level for Canuck readiness and participant accountability, a part of the evolution in workforce tradition that Boudreau and basic supervisor Patrik Allvin try to generate. However since Allvin, in an interview with Sportsnet on Wednesday, challenged gamers to be higher ready day by day, recreation or apply, and that many had one thing to show, the Canucks constructed leads of 7-0 in opposition to the Flames and 4-0 in opposition to the Rangers.

On Thursday, Miller mentioned the Canucks had “simply set an ordinary for ourselves for the remainder of the yr.”

The Canucks definitely met that normal on Sunday to open their four-game journey.

“I do not know if normal is the phrase,” Boudreau mentioned when requested about it on Zoom. “We’re undoubtedly seeing that with each recreation that goes by, the subsequent recreation is far more necessary. I imply, we’re in a playoff chase. We’ve to be prepared for each recreation. That is what now we have to do. I do not know if it is any extra readiness or no matter, however we’re enjoying to win.”

MILLER’S TIME

How good has Miller been the final six weeks?

There was plenty of consideration, justified, on Pettersson’s mid-season turnaround. Getting back from a critical wrist harm final spring, the Canuck star scuffled by the primary 37 video games this season with simply six objectives and 17 factors. However he has 11 objectives and 10 assists in 17 video games since Jan. 15 regardless of not often enjoying at five-on-five with Vancouver’s prime wingers.

Throughout the identical time interval, Miller, who missed two video games whereas in COVID protocol, has 9 objectives and 23 factors. His 1.53 points-per-game is fourth within the NHL since Jan. 15, behind solely Maple Leafs Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews, and the Flames’ Matthew Tkachuk.

No surprise groups are bidding on Miller forward of the March 21 commerce deadline. And no surprise the Canucks are so cautious about buying and selling him now, particularly since he has one other season underneath contract at a $5.25 million US wage that ranks 172nd within the NHL.

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