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Canucks wrap up 2012-13 season with win

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05-07-2013, 04:25 AM
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Canucks wrap up 2012-13 season with win

With a few days left in the HFNHL schedule, the Vancouver Canucks played their 82nd game last night, capping another successful regular season with a 5-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Evgeni Malkin and David Krejci each registered three points in the victory, extending their point scoring streaks to 21 games and 11 games respectively.

The final game concluded a strange stretch run for the Canucks, which included 11 wins in 12 games, followed immediately by a five game losing streak, including two embarrassing losses to the rival Avalanche. However, after winning their final four games on the schedule, the Canucks hopefully enter the playoffs in good form. The HFNHL Canucks' final record stands at 50-24-8, good for 108 points, the fourth consecutive season the club has notched 100 points, only two shy of the club's 110 point season in 2009-10, the year the club won the Stanley Cup.

While their opponent has yet to be determined, Vancouver will compete in the HFNHL playoffs for a seventh consecutive season, a streak which could stand as the Western Conference's longest if the St. Louis Blues miss the post-season this year. The Canucks' opponent will either be the Anaheim Ducks or the Columbus Blue Jackets, depending upon the outcome of Colorado's final game against the New York Rangers tonight.

Unlike in 2009-10, when the Canucks captured the Cup, this year the road through the Western Conference appears to be unprecedented in its difficulty. The Sim-defying Red Wings lead the way with 123 points, one of the best records in HFNHL history, and each of the following five teams could have a strong argument for the best roster in the league. An Avalanche win tonight would make it six teams in the Western Conference with 50 wins this year.

Looking back on the 2012-13 HFNHL campaign, the Canucks had several achievements and notable outcomes. A few quick hits to note:

- Evgeni Malkin's 98 points in 75 games are a personal HFNHL best, and follow a weak 60-point campaign last year. He enters the playoffs as the hottest player in the league, riding a 21-game point streak.

- Malkin's 98 points also represent a club record, at least including seasons of record since 2000-01. The previous record was 94 points, shared by Ron Francis (2002-03) and Zigmund Palffy (2001-02).

- Kris Letang's 53 points will likely lead all Western Conference blueliners in scoring this season. The four defenceman ahead of him all play in the Eastern Conference. Letang is currently day-to-day but should be healthy for Game 1.

- Carey Price's .923 SV% remains impressive, but was over .930% at the mid-way point. His second half struggles mirrored his NHL season.

- The club's special teams went in opposite directions in the second half, after being both around league average half-way through. The powerplay (25.78%) is 6th, while the PK (75.09%) is 23rd, and will have to improve.

- Seven forwards put up 20 goals or more: Evgeni Malkin, David Krejci, Bobby Ryan, David Backes, Ryan Callahan, Jaromir Jagr and Pascal Dupuis.

- Seven players also finished with a +20 rating: Evgeni Malkin, David Krejci, Bobby Ryan, David Backes, Ryan Callahan, Dan Boyle and Jeff Petry. Defenceman Kris Letang just missed (+19).

- Only one player finished with a minus rating: Brooks Laich (-4), one of the best defensive forwards in the league. Jason Garrison, Dan Hamhuis and Jaromir Jagr all arrived in trades with minus ratings but finished with positive numbers.

- Both games against the Columbus Blue Jackets, a potential first round opponent, went to the shootout this year, with each club winning one.

- The Canucks lost both games to the Ducks, on the other hand, being outscored 8-3 in the process. However, both games were early in the season (Game Days 51 and 74).

Let the playoffs begin.

Stojanov Antoski
Vancouver Citizen

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