A nice big thank you card should be in the mail to the Phoenix Coyotes, their timely appearance at GM Place just what the Canucks needed to get their game back up to a higher level.
The woeful Coyotes helped the Canucks to head into the final week of the season feeling good about themselves, as they offered up little resistance, inviting the Canucks to score at will which they did.
With a 6-1 victory tonight, their third in a row, the suddenly confident Canucks can start putting together a game plan for the playoffs, the uncertain fragility of the squad from two weeks ago finally banished from the ice of GM Place. Out shooting the Dogs 31-9 by the time fourty minutes were up, the Cancuks just kept rolling their lines over the boards, controlling the play and scoring on seemingly every opportunity.
Markus Naslund finally found the net after a ten game drought scoring a goal from the slot in the second. Daniel Sedin also rediscovered his scoring touch on Monday, scoring his second goal in two games after having gone 14 without a goal. Matt Cooke continued to be strong on the first line, adding a sense of grit and playmaking ability to the line that has suffered the most fall out from the Bertuzzi suspension.
Dan Cloutier while hardly tested frequently had a shut out going until the last two minutes of play surrendering a goal to break his bid for a perfect night in the nets. The win helped the Canucks stay tied with the Stars for fourth in the West, however they still trail the Avalanche by one point, in their bid to take the Northwest division title and a guaranteed home ice advantage.
With three games to go, the Canucks travel to Anaheim on Wednesday and San Jose on Friday before returning home to play the Oilers on Saturday night. Six possible points that could put them over 100 on the season, something not many fans were thinking possible three weeks ago. The last three games have been major building blocks for this team, which is now starting to believe in themselves again. The next three could reinforce to them and the division that road to the Stanley Cup, may have to travel down Georgia Street before the Cup is handed out.