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Canucks sit atop NHL standings after blanking Wild

Jan 5, 2012, 1:53 AM EDT

Roberto Luongo AP

Early on in the season, it seemed like some tough playoff moments might have broken Roberto Luongo‘s psyche. The Vancouver Canucks didn’t seem so hot, either, beyond the clockwork reliability of the Sedin twins.

Much like their fellow 2011 Stanley Cup finalists in Boston, the Canucks have straightened things out to the point that they’re back alongside the league’s elites. Vancouver widened their Northwest Division lead over the Minnesota Wild by five points thanks to Luongo’s 3-0 shutout and rose to the No. 1 spot in the NHL’s standings in the process.

Naturally, the standings can be deceiving given imbalanced amounts of games played at this point. Here’s a quick-and-dirty look at the league’s top five teams based on points:

Vancouver: 25-13-3 for 53 points (41 games played)
Rangers: 24-9-4 for 52 points (37 GP)
Chicago: 24-11-4 for 52 points (39 GP)
Boston: 25-10-1 for 51 points (36 GP)
Detroit: 25-13-1 for 51 points (39 GP)

As you can see, the four teams “below” the Canucks have at least two games to vault over them. At this point in the season, it’s doubtful that these teams are doing much scoreboard watching, although the Blackhawks and Red Wings might be the exception since they’re in the same Central Division.

The big picture takeaway is still very positive for the Canucks, though. Luongo is playing well enough to (temporarily) silence his critics and support players are easing some of the scoring burden on the Sedins.

After those early hiccups, it seems likely that the Canucks are going to be fixtures once the playoffs roll around.

  1. bigtganks - Jan 5, 2012 at 2:36 AM

    All that matters is playing well and playing healthy into the playoffs. Canucks would rather be the 2 or 3 seed and everyone healthy than a Presidents Trophy with some people ailing.

    • warpstonebc - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:05 AM

      True. The President’s Trophy is nice to have, but being able to roll all 4 lines like they did tonight is perhaps a far better goal now and into the playoffs.

  2. cowboys282 - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:59 AM

    The Canucks should sit Luongo on Saturday in Boston unless they want his psyche broken again.

    • tommytd - Jan 5, 2012 at 6:22 AM

      They should sit him when they play Chicago too!

      • imleftcoast - Jan 5, 2012 at 12:25 PM

        Fair comment on fair weather Boston fans tommytd. The Hawks are the team that really seems to affect Luongo’s confidence.

        On the other hand, there is history to Luongo starting in Boston. Vigneault might have blown the series starting Luongo in Game 4 of the SCF after leaving him in for 8 goals in Game 3. Debatable whether Luongo should have started Game 6, but he did have a shutout in Game 5 to give the Canucks a 3-2 series lead.

    • haterzgonahate - Jan 5, 2012 at 1:20 PM

      sitting him would probably do more harm for his psyche than playing. and really, its only the regular season and 2 points… if he does blow it big deal

      lets not forget that Schneider is from the Boston area so if he plays that would be why. but of course the media will paint a different picture.

  3. tbcrow - Jan 5, 2012 at 6:07 AM

    I wonder if anyone was sitting around the office saying “Wow, we really look dumb for the posts we made every 10 minutes 2 months ago about how terrible Luongo is and how Vancouver is going to fail this season.”

    I’d guess probably not, lacking self awareness and general shame and all that for crucifying the guy.

  4. 8man - Jan 5, 2012 at 6:55 AM

    The good teams are beginning to hit their stride. The Canucks are in the top 4.

  5. dolanster - Jan 5, 2012 at 12:04 PM

    Rankings by possible point percentage, MLB style:

    1) BOS: .708
    2) NYR: .702
    3) CHI: .666
    4) DET: .653
    5) VAN : .646

    • rainyday56 - Jan 5, 2012 at 12:25 PM

      The league should go to a winning percentage system instead of the current point system: 1.000 factors for a regulation win, .667 for OT win and .333 for OT loss.

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