The secret to success

Fifteen games into this young season and the secret to the Canucks’ success, evidently, is to play against Northwest division rivals.

After deservedly defeating the Calgary Flames 3-2 last night at the Saddledome, the Canucks stand at an impressive 5-0 versus Northwest division opponents. (Conversely, the Canucks are a pathetic 2-8 in games outside of the division.) Considering the fact each team plays 32 games within the division, this certainly bodes well. Picking up a significant number of points in these games, thereby taking them away from your divisional rivals, stands a team in good stead for the playoff chase.

Another notable statistic is that the Canucks are now a remarkable 6-2 on the road after last night. Less remarkable, disconcerting even, is that the Canucks are 1-6 at GM Place. If the Canucks can start playing the simple game they seem to have mastered on the road (e.g., sound defensive play, tenacious checking, capitalizing on other teams’ mistakes to pace the offence, and solid, reliable goaltending), then they will quickly look a lot more like the team they were the second half of last season, when they ran away with the Northwest division title.

All that aside, last night provided a certain kind of enjoyment that I look forward to every season: beating the Flames; and beating the Flames at the Library, otherwise known as the venue that erupts in bedlum, inspired by that rage-inducing horn, only when the Flames score a goal.

What would John Garrett say?

Salo, Bieksa and Krajicek out? No problem. Not when you can call upon Alex Edler, Luc Bourdon, and Mike Weaver. Whammo! (Yeah, that’s right, I am expropriating the Pierre McGuire hyperbole. What of it? Does he have a moustache? No, he doesn’t. ‘Nuff said.)

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