The beginning of 2014 has not been very kind to the Vancouver Canucks. Coming into tonight’s game against the Phoenix Coyotes, the Canucks had lost eight of their 11 games in January. These losses include two losses to the NHL leading Anaheim Ducks, two losses against the Los Angeles Kings and a loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Their wins haven’t exactly been pretty either, considering one of their wins comes in a game against the Calgary Flames where both sides brawled to start the game. To make matters worse, their head coach John Tortorella was suspended for 15 days for going after the Flames during the first intermission of that game as well. So to say things are going bad for the Canucks right now would be an understatement.
The Canucks seemed to have this game in hand as they were up by two goals a little past the halfway point of the first period and still had a two-goal lead near the end of the second period. Roberto Luongo was shaky throughout the entire game and the Canucks let the Coyotes get back into the game, eventually sending it into overtime. Kevin Bieksa turned out to be the hero, scoring his second goal of the game, giving the Canucks the 5-4 win in a game they really couldn’t afford to lose.
Coming into action tonight, the Canucks held the eighth seed in the Western Conference, just four points ahead of the Coyotes. A win tonight would have brought the Coyotes within two points of the Canucks, putting more pressure on a team that is already having enough trouble on its own. Although the Coyotes earned a point in the game, the Canucks were able to snag the second point and move themselves into the seventh seed, giving themselves some breathing room in the process.
It may just be one game, but that’s all it takes to swing momentum into a team’s favor moving ahead in the season. With there only being a few games left before the break for the Olympics, let’s see if this gives the Canucks something to build on. With games ahead against the Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens in the two weeks the Canucks are going to need something positive to feed off of and this win just might be what they were looking for.