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HomeSportsHart AttackHARTLEY’S HART ATTACK – (Canucks enjoying view from the top) Feb. 2,...

HARTLEY’S HART ATTACK – (Canucks enjoying view from the top) Feb. 2, 2024 EDITION 978

As many hockey fans in this country are aware, a Canadian team has not won the Stanley Cup in 31 years since the Montreal Canadiens did it in 1993.

I am not sure how long that streak will continue but you can not blame those that believe it will end this year.

The All-Star break in the NHL is here which may or may not corral the huge momentum put forward by both the Vancouver Canucks and the Edmonton Oilers.

The Canucks story is nothing short of remarkable.

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They missed the playoffs in the 2022-23 season by a whopping 12 points finishing with a mediocre record of 38-37-7.

This season after 49 of their 82 games they are right at the top of the league.

At 33-11-5 they have the best record in the Western Conference and are tied with the (31-9-9) Boston Bruins for the best record in the NHL.

To put this into perspective, the 2023-24 Canucks team is just 12 points behind the 2022-23 Canucks team and Vancouver still has 33 games remaining.

Vancouver also has the league-best +59 goal differential.

The Canucks are riding an 11-game point heading into a 5-game road trip that begins Tuesday at Carolina.

The 186 goals that Vancouver has scored is second in the NHL only behind Colorado (190).

The 127 goals that the Canucks have given up is tied for second best (with Florida) on a per games basis only behind Winnipeg (Jets have allowed 109 in 47 games).

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In their last game (on Saturday, January 27th) they trailed 4-1 after two periods but rallied for a 5-4 overtime victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets, completing their fourth three-goal, third-period comeback win in franchise history and first in nearly 21 years.

Starting goalie Thatcher Demko has been nothing short of sensational with a goals-against-average of 2.44 (tied for 6th best in the league) and a save percentage of 0.920 (6th best in the NHL).

He is also tied for first in shutouts with five.

Offensively the firepower shows a team scoring on average just under four goals a game (3.80).

Vancouver has three players in the top 10 of scoring led by J.T. Miller who is tied at #4.

Elias Pettersson is 8th and the league’s highest-scoring defenceman Quinn Hughes is tied for #9.

Hughes is also tops in the league plus-minus category at plus 34.

Let’s not forget that Brock Boeser is 18th in scoring but is tied for 6th in goals with 30.

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While the Canucks have been consistent from the start of their season winning 12 of their first 16 games and not looking back, the Oilers’ season started awful (5-12-1) but are now on the verge of something special.

Edmonton is riding a 16-game winning streak, one shy of the NHL record of 17 set by the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins.

The (29-15-1) Oilers will attempt to tie the record when they play at Vegas on Tuesday.

Two other Canadian teams are likely headed to the playoffs; the (30-12-5) Winnipeg Jets and the (25-14-8) Toronto Maple Leafs.

The (22-22-5) Calgary Flames are five points out of a Western Conference Wild-Card spot, the (20-21-8) Montreal Canadiens sit nine points out of an Eastern Conference Wild-Card position and the (20-25-2) Ottawa Senators are already done, second last in the Eastern Conference and a whopping 16 points out of the playoffs.

With more than half of the seven Canadian teams sitting in a playoff spot as of the break, it appears at least 25% of the 16 NHL post-season teams will come from north of the border.

Will it happen that a Canadian team will carry around the Cup in June?

The odds may still be against it, but at least this year, evidence suggests that it is a possibility and not just false hope.

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The NHL regular season schedule and results are here.

The Vancouver Canucks regular season schedule and results are here.

The NHL standings are here.

The NHL scoring leaders are here.

 

Cat Scan podcast:

This is season six of Hartley’s Cat Scan, a weekly podcast show that predominately features the PG Cougars.

This week my guest is Cougars minority owner Eric Brewer.

 

FROM THE QUOTE RACK:

Taylor Swift has a concert performance in Tokyo the day before Super Bowl 58 but will catch a brutal 13-hour flight to Las Vegas to support Travis Kelce. I hear Plan B involves the Space Shuttle.

*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

The Pro Bowl on Sunday has devolved into some skill events and flag football games. And yes, you can bet on them. But if you know what those events are, and/or have made betting plans, you just might have a gambling problem.

*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com

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Five reasons the Prince George Cougars’ lumberjack-themed games are generally a success:
5. The opposition gets cut down;
4. The Cougars lay on the lumber;
3. Egos have been checkered at the door;
2. Key players log lots of ice time;
1. The team has always plaid extra hard.

*Comedy writer RJ Currie of Winnipeg www.Sportsdeke.com

 

Hartley Miller is the news and sports director/supervisor plus morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT and Country 97fm. He is in his 10th season as the radio colour commentator for Prince George Cougars’ home games. Hartley has been on the airwaves in PG since 1979 and is the author of You Don’t Say (sports quotes).

 

 

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