It's one of the things that I've been talking about since the beginning of the year. Even though the Canucks have had a bad start to their year, I'm sure that they'll still make the playoffs.
1) Strong Defense
At the beginning of the season, Roberto Luongo was in a slump. In my opinion, he's one of the best goalies in the league, and recently he's started showing it. He only allowed one goal against the Blackhawks and two goals against the Avs in both games he's played against them.
He's still having a bad game every once in a while, but eventually he'll start playing better, and the Canucks will start winning because of it.
Luongo is also being helped out by a strong defense with Mathieu Schneider, Sami Salo, Kevin Bieksa, and Willie Mitchell—all players that know the game and can keep the puck out of the zone.
The reason that this defense has been poor is because of injuries. Both Salo and Schneider were out with injuries and missed a fair number of games. Now that those two players are healthy again, the defense has started to improve. There has been only one game this month where the Canucks have allowed more than three goals.
2) Return of the Offense
The defense is not the only part of the team that has suffered from injuries. The offense has suffered just as badly. The biggest injury this season was to Daniel Sedin, who was out for an extended period of time.
He's back, and you can really see the chemistry coming back to the team. Take the two games against Colorado, for example. In two games, the Canucks put the puck in the Avs' net 13 times.
The game that they lost against Chicago was just as good offensively. However, they met a goalie that was up to the challenge. The Canucks took 30 shots on goal and controlled the puck for the majority of the game but still couldn't score. They were putting a ton of offensive pressure on the Blackhawks but just couldn't score.
The biggest thing that I see is that they have done all of this without Daniel Sedin. With the exception of his return against Chicago, all of the offensive milestones have come without one of their best players. Now that Sedin is back, we should start seeing more goals and a more consistent offense.
3) Improved Depth
One of the biggest things that the Canucks are having success with this year is depth. The Canucks haven't really struggled with depth, but it's definitely been something that they wanted to work on.
Over the summer, they increased the amount of scouting that they do and also acquired Mikael Samuelsson. Samuelsson gives the Canucks a scoring threat that they can use on a lower line. He's a great second and third line player, and the Canucks have done a great job using him like that.
The scouting won't really do much this year. I kind of wanted to mention it because it's a reason that they're going to be successful in the future. But there could be a few rookies that could come up from Manitoba to take the place of an injured player.
We also saw the depth during the preseason. The Canucks never lost a game in regulation and went 7-0-2. This just shows that their depth is better than the depth of other teams.
It's nice to have that cushion if you need it. The Detroit Red Wings have had that cushion and are using it heavily this season. The Canucks have the same capability, and as long as they keep the scouting up, they'll have the same capability in the future.
Originally posted at tipsforhockey.com