Streaks are a funny thing, and no matter how your team is playing you can find a stat or a trend to either make you feel better or worse about them. The Canucks? Let's have a look:
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The preview for Tuesday night's game in Nashville (a 3-1 victory for the Whale) stated that we were a slumping squad mired in a 1-3-1 funk on our current 7-game road trip. Combined with the loss to Calgary before we embarked on the current cross-country odyssey, we were only 1-4-1 in our previous 6 games, and everything was doom and gloom. The Canucks can't score! We have no chance without Luongo! Our power play is junk but our penalty kill is worse! Pyatt sucks! Trade Demitra and the Twins! Call up Cowan! (OK, that last one didn't happen, but you get what I mean).
Well, those are some pessimistic views. Just for fun, I'm going to play around with some streaks of my own. If you look at it optimistically, we were riding a two-game streak where we went 1-0-1 for three points out of four with the 2-1 victory in Minnesota and the 5-4 setback via the shootout in Denver, and after tonight's victory are now 2-0-1 in our last three games on the road. I'll take that anytime of the year. Or how about the fact that we are in the midst of a 10-4-3 streak since Nov. 4? And of those 17 games, 10 were on the road! Do we feel a little better about ourselves yet?
Since our best player and captain Roberto Luongo went down on Nov. 22 (in a 3-1 victory that Curtis Sanford earned in relief), the Canucks are now 4-4-1, of which 7 of those 9 were played on the road. The fact that we have held the ship together in Bobby Lu's absence should cause us fans to be happy, as our tandem between the pipes include a backup that has played about 10 games in the past two years, and a rookie that has looked both great and green at the same time. We have $10M in unused "Sundin" money (I'll get to that later), plus with another $6M in Luongo's salary sitting on the IR we are icing a team that is about $15-$16M below the salary cap! Think about that for a second.
Personally I don't think that streaks matter at all. With the exception of a playoff series or back-to-backs with the same team, momentum stops when the final whistle blows and the players leave the ice. We can look at all sorts of streaks and stats and try to calculate how we are doing, but when it comes down to it I look at the effort on the ice, the chances we generate and how well the team is playing together. I look at the fact that our team going into Tuesday night's game was a combined +71. I look at the fact that for a team that "can't score a lot of goals", we have 88 now in 29 games for an average of 3.03 per game.
Streaks are something that the media can look at and judge how a team is playing, but in my opinion there are better indicators than that. I have been very happy with our teams' performance for pretty much the entire season. I don't mind if we lose, as long as they looked good doing it.
The only streak I look at after our victory over the Preds is that we have won one in a row. Saturday nights against the Oilers is another game, and it is 100% independent of tonight's battle. But just watch for the preview for the game where it says that we are now a streaking team that is 2-0-1 in our last three games. Funny how the perspective can change with just one win.
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