This is who we are now, so settle into your seat and help yourself to some butter-free popcorn.
The Canucks are no longer the matinee matchup you just had to PVR. They’re a lunch pail gang of once-upon-a-superstars, a group of coverall-clad plumbers with visible butt cracks and a plucky nature. They can’t blow your hair back or shatter your TV… and they shouldn’t want to. The only way for this club to win and win consistently, is to show up every night. To compete every night. To clear the garbage from the crease.
“To attack the game when the puck isn’t yours,” if I may be allowed to go all D3 on it.
It was that Vancouver team on display in Philadelphia, as the Canucks rallied from a 2-1 third period deficit to defeat the Flyers, 3-2, with Ryan Kesler’s first multi-goal game of the year and an inspired third period from Chris Higgins, who finished with a the tying goal and an assist on Kesler’s winning tally.
Henrik Sedin also had two assists, helping on both third period goals from Vancouver’s usual second liners.
Kesler was phenomenal on Tuesday night, easily his best effort of the young season – although that’s not saying much. The Sedins were third-period royalty, whether it was that Henrik pass to Higgins or Daniel’s last-second dive to save the lead. Roberto Luongo was acceptable, and that’s all he needs to be.
It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t pretty, but the Flyers aren’t a pushover despite their (now) 1-6 record.
But, for a Canucks team that had beaten themselves in two straight outings – not taking anything away from an outstanding Sharks or a fast and faster Canadiens – Tuesday’s win in Liberty City was as relieving as it gets.
Up next for Vancouver: the Buffalo Sabres and ex-teammates Cody Hodgson and Christian Ehrhoff. The Sabres are 0-6-1 through seven games, “good” enough for last in the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division.