And like that, the Vancouver Canucks are on a four-game win streak.
The Canucks handily defeated the Florida Panthers 4-0 on Thursday at Rogers Arena, making last season’s Stanley Cup finalist look like Florida raccoons — one of the preferred meals of the Florida panther — rather than ferocious jungle cats.
There was an element of luck to their game — Florida captain Matthew Tkachuk missing an open net on a relatively easy chance in the second period — but the Canucks did enough overall to best the visitors.
It’s the kind of wins good teams get.
And their goalie, Thatcher Demko, posted a solid shutout on a night that was also a tribute to Roberto Luongo.
The pre-game ceremony honouring the greatest goalie in team history had some nice touches.
And Demko nailing a shutout on the night was the best tribute you could make.
(Though, in all this, you couldn’t help but think Luongo deserved the full honour of a jersey retirement.)
Depth scoring and hard work
The Canucks had gone two-straight games with goals only from their top lines, so obviously it was time for the bottom six to break out.
The Canucks’ first three goals on Thursday were scored by their bottom two lines — and both were all about pressure.
The first goal, by Andrei Kuzmenko, came off a turnover forced by Conor Garland.
The second goal, scored by Dakota Joshua, came off a relentless forecheck by Garland, Joshua and Teddy Blueger.
The third tally was a gift to Joshua off Sergei Bobrovsky’s stick.
Where ya passing to Bob?
If anyone can explain what Sergei Bobrovsky was trying to do before he put the puck on Joshua’s stick midway through the second period, please email it to the address at the bottom of this story.
On the goal announcement, before saying “unassisted,” PA announcement Al Murdoch paused with obvious irony, since it was a goal that clearly came with an assist that wouldn’t go credited.
Then he held on to the word a little longer than usual, playing up the folly of the moment and draw an appreciative roar from the crowd, who knew he was alluding to Bobrovsky’s gaffe.
The Canucks’ five-on-five shooting percentage has surged upwards again lately — scoring four goals on 17 shots in the first two periods, three of them at full strength — is part of the story.
Some of it is strategy: The Canucks are the best team in the league at scoring off rebounds, Clear Sight Analytics’ data shows.
But, surely, some of this resurgence is about luck.
The Canucks’ PDO is surging back toward 1050, putting them into historical outlier status.
PDO is a well-proven measure of future performance based on a team’s current even-strength save percentage and shooting percentage, added up. Good teams sit just above 1000 so the Canucks, who are a good team, are still well above where they should be.
And it’s mostly driven by their even-strength shooting percentage
Vancouver Canucks vs. Minnesota Wild
11 a.m., Xcel Energy Center, TV: TSN, Radio: 650AM
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