It's Christmas Eve and I'm with my wife's family in Redmond, WA. "Die Hard 2" has been watched, stockings have been stuffed, and the cinnamon rolls for tomorrow morning's breakfast are in progress right now. As for me, I'm left to ponder the Canucks Christmas gift to their fans, a marvelous 7-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets that featured arguably the first example of true Sedin dominance this season. What is truly astonishing is that it came in a game where they played just over 15 minutes each.
With that performance, the Sedins put themselves fourth in the league with 43 points each. Henrik is first in the league in assists with 35 and Daniel is fourth in the league in goals with 18. Against all odds, the Sedins have been able to continue the elite level of play they established last season.
On top of that, Ryan Kesler is immediately behind Daniel in goals, with 17. Kesler is playing some of the best hockey of his life going into the Christmas break with 13 points in his last 8 games and is seventh in the league in faceoff percentage at 59 percent. The only Canuck ahead of Kesler in faceoff percentage is Manny Malhotra, who sits at second in the league at 62.8%. Even Henrik Sedin is in the top 30 at 53.9%.
As a team, the Canucks are leading the NHL in faceoff percentage by a wide margin. They're at 57.2%, with the second-place Sharks at 53.6%. Sometimes those percentages don't always illustrate the Canucks' dominance effectively. To put it another way, the Canucks have won 1141 faceoffs and lost 854. On a game-to-game basis, that comes out to 35 wins to 26 losses, 9 more faceoff wins per game. That's huge.
The Canucks have lost only one game in regulation out of the last 13, with a record of 10-1-2. They lead the Western Conference in goal differential at +26. A big reason for that is their special teams: the powerplay is back to first in the league at 24.4% and the penalty kill is fifth at 85.5%. And after a rough start this season at even-strength, the Canucks are tied for 6th with Detroit for team +/-. Every single aspect of the Canucks' game is clicking and the Canucks have firmly established themselves as one of the elite teams in the NHL, with a 20-8-5 record. They lead the Western Conference in point percentage, getting 45 points out of a possible 66.
Basically, it's a good time to be a Canucks fan. Merry Christmas, Canucks fans. And while all the wonderful statistics above are surely present enough for our wonderful Bulies, make sure to read these two Christmas-themed posts if you missed them:
Holiday Gift Ideas for the Vancouver Canucks on Your List
Daniel's Worst Christmas - An Original Holiday Tale