Since the Canucks' most recent victory came at the beginning of a fresh calendar, the win marked all sorts of firsts. First victory of 2016. First shootout victory. First victory when trailing in the third period. But that last one isn't just the result of some cheeky New Year's semantics. The Canucks were seemingly incapable of the late comeback in the 2015 half of this season, closing out the year as just one of five teams without a win when trailing at the second intermission. Time and time again, Vancouver tried and failed to even the score. In 2015, the Canucks literally couldn't even.
And then, 19 hours into 2016, they totally did it, courtesy a Chris Tanev wrist shot from the point that somehow eluded Frederik Andersen. (My theory: the shot was so stoppable, Andersen thought it might be a trick and let it past him). Shortly after that, the Canucks won the game in a shootout. It was an uncharacteristically strong finish from the boys in blue and green. It made one wonder if they'd resolved to do more comeback victories in 2016.
If so, I'm impressed -- most people don't see their resolutions through. And I think the Canucks would do well to make a few more, since they had such success with the first one. Here are five other resolutions they should make:
Go on a win streak.
It's like a holiday from losing! The Canucks need to go on a holiday. Vancouver has yet to win three in a row all season. They spent the first half of the season treading water, with a win here and a loss there (and it turns out that's fine, so long as you're losing in overtime, where two losses equals a phantom win), but it can't go on forever. If the Canucks hope to make the playoffs -- and they keep saying that they do -- my advice is to win, then win again, and then win again.
Sure, it's easier said than done, but if Wim Hof can will himself well with meditative breathing techniques, why can't Vancouver. He's out there climbing Everest in his shorts, and the Canucks are just sitting around waiting for their bones and muscles to heal like a bunch of chumps. Gosh. Be a little more proactive, you guys. The Canucks have been without several key players for much of the season, and it's contributed to the uncertainty surrounding this year. Are they good enough to compete? Or bad enough to compete in the draft lottery? It's hard to say when they never get a full picture of the team they've assembled. So resolve to get healthy, please.
Surrender fewer shots.
The Canucks sit 7th in the NHL right now in shots allowed per game, at 30.7. Unless it's your birthday, that's too many shots. Vancouver's playing a more wide open game this season, which is bound to mean more chances for both teams, but they still need to get a whole lot stingier with the puck, and they need a better system for getting the puck back than letting their goalie catch it.
Win more faceoffs.
Especially since, after the goalie catches it, they still don't get it back most of the time because their faceoff numbers are so terrible. Part of this has to do with injuries, as Brandon Sutter, a decent faceoff guy, has missed the last two months, forcing Bo Horvat and Jared McCann to go up against some of the league's best faceoff men, night after night. McCann in particular isn't even close to ready for that kind of responsibility. It's left the Canucks, hockey's worst faceoff team right now, chasing the puck from the moment it hits the ice.
Fix the kids.
Horvat hasn't scored in ages. McCann looks exhausted. Jake Virtanen appears to have no confidence whatsoever right now. Even Ben Hutton hasn't looked quite the same since his early-season injury. The kids, who all looked more than all right to begin the year, suddenly aren't all right, and the Canucks need to make some tough decisions regarding their immediate future. Are demotions in order? Less playing time? More playing time? The rest of Vancouver's entire season hinges on what's best for these four players in particular, and what they're able to contribute in 2016.