The Vancouver Canucks took full advantage of the Minnesota Wild spending Sunday in a state of rest, topping the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 to claim sole possession of first in the Northwest Division. The win makes four straight for the Canucks and each one rings especially critical with the red-hot Wild — who are idle until facing the Dallas Stars on Monday — boasting their own win streak of five.
“We take pride in being in first, but at the same time we’ve got to kind of put our heads down and plow ahead and pile up the points, get as many as we can get and not look around to see who’s doing what or where we are in the standings,” Canucks goalie Cory Schneider said, via NHL.com. “If we do our jobs and win our games, it forces other teams to do the same. It’s nice, but things can change in a day or two.”
Vancouver (17-9-6) upped its total to 40 points Sunday while the Wild (18-10-2) sit a mere two points behind. It is looking less and less likely that any other challengers will come charging up the hill to knock down either of these blistering squads, but that doesn’t mean they have no shot.
The Edmonton Oilers (29 points), Calgary Flames (28 points) and Avalanche (26 points) each have significant ground to make up between now and late April, and have only posted a group composite 2-5 record in meetings against the Canucks thus far.
However, many division games remain on the horizon, as Colorado and Calgary each play Vancouver twice more while Edmonton gets the current division-leaders three times in the coming weeks. The Wild and Canucks are not scheduled to play again in 2013.