Best Of The Best
After struggling through much of October – oh how predictable – the Vancouver Canucks are beginning to turn things around scoring 12 goals in two games in decisive victories over the red hot Washington Capitals and the Calgary Flames.
Look no further than the improved play from our…
First Star: Alex Edler
An immense talent with perennial inconsistent performances, it’s clear Edler is playing some of his best hockey. After notching 3 goals and 3 assists in his last two games, the Canucks are happy beneficiaries, and perhaps none other than Mike Gillis is feeling more relieved.
After choosing to keep grit (Kevin Bieksa) over talent (Christian Erhoff) in the offseason, Edler’s stellar play – his 12 points are good for second among blueliners only behind Erik Karlsson’s 13 – must feel like a Godsend to a struggling Canuck defence corps who have mustered a combined 7 goals – both Dan Hamhuis and Bieksa have yet to score.
So if the 25-year-old Swede can keep it up the Canucks won’t be longing Erhoff’s departure for much longer.
But if he can’t, the trade winds will most certainly be blowin’ for an offensive d-man come deadline.
Second Star: Chris Higgins
After getting demoted from the American Express Line, Higgins is playing like a man on fire.
The Smithtown, New York native is the Canucks leading scorer with 6 goals in 12 games and is well on his way to his first 20-goal campaign in four years, since he notched 27 for Montreal back in 2007-08.
On Tuesday Higgins opened the scoring with a slick backhand move on a breakaway and is quickly making it routine to have dynamite scoring chances come his way on a regular basis.
Third Star: Maxim Lapierre
Perhaps the best player since Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals, Maxim Lapierre is showing why Mike Gillis can be a genius when it comes to acquiring the right kind of players at the deadline.
While on paper he’s Vancouver’s No. 4 centreman slugging it on the fourth line, Lapierre brings way more to the table. He’s quick, has soft hands and his intensity wills the puck into the net on many a night. The intensity and grit to which the Montrealer brings every night is commendable, sure, but what’s most impressive is the development and consistency of his offensive game.
Best example of this was on the Canucks third goal on Tuesday in the 5-1 victory over the Flames when he spotted Cody Hodgson for a cross ice feed, giving the rookie enough time to grow a Movember moustache before putting puck in the back of the net.
Our vote for the Nicest Goal Last 7 Days (Video)