Love & Hate
The Vancouver Canucks played one of their best games of the season on Thursday, taking down the San Jose Sharks for the first time in ten games.
The Sharks also carried a seven-game unbeaten streak into Thursday’s matchup, but couldn’t capitalize on a lucky bounce to keep the streak alive.
Love ’em and hate ’em the following are my takeaways from Thursday’s game at the SAP Center in San Jose.
1. Luongo locks it down
Roberto Luongo allowed another strange goal Thursday night against the Sharks, but bounced back to ice a solid game the rest of the way.
Joe Thornton’s first period dump in magically rode around the boards, up the side of the net, over the top, and into the net, but Luongo and the Canucks kept it together and quickly turned the game around.
After self-destructing against the Montreal Canadiens following an embarrassing own goal it was nice to see the Canucks’ resiliency on display.
2. Higgins Huge
Chris Higgins had one of his best games of the season on Thursday, leading the Canucks with a goal and an assist against the Sharks.
Vancouver’s second line of Higgins, Mike Santorelli, and Alex Burrows had a fantastic first period giving the Canucks the lead late in the period after scoring the initial go-ahead goal ten minutes earlier.
3. Kassian Coming Around
After struggling to start the season Kassian seems to be bringing his game together and has begun to look more and more like a power forward in the process.
Kassian needs to continue to get to the front of the net and make things happen moving forward.
1. Bieksa Beat
Just when the Canucks seemed to have turned the game around San Jose’s Mike Brown responded with a huge first period goal, but it was Kevin Bieksa left trailing after being beat at the blue line.
While Bieksa otherwise had a solid game, a player like Mike Brown shouldn’t be cutting ruts to the net past a defenceman of Bieksa’s calibre.
2. Sedins Shut Down
While the Canucks played a solid team game in San Jose, the disappearance of Vancouver’s top line was one of the team’s few negative to take away from Thursday’s contest.
While it’s hard to fault Henrik Sedin for having his point streak snapped at 12 games, it was slightly concerning to see the top line held without a point in such a big game.
3. Fourth Line Flop
Vancouver’s fourth line had another quiet game on Thursday with Jeremy Welsh, Zac Dalpe, and Tom Sestito all held to less than five minutes of ice time.
While Vancouver’s depth was on display on Thursday the Canucks seriously need to find a way to involve their fourth line moving forward.
The team cannot afford to ice 12 forwards in big games down the stretch.