Red Hot Canucks
The Kraut line of the Boston Bruins, centre Milt Schmidt, Woody Dumart and right wing Bobby Bauer, finished the 1939-’40 season ranked one, two, three in NHL scoring.
In 1971 the Bruins had the top four scorers in the league with centre Phil Esposito ahead of Bobby Orr, Johnny Bucyk and Ken Hodge. Orr was the phenom defenceman ranked in there with the three linemates.
The same club did it again in 1974 with Wayne Cashman replacing Bucyk on the list. Forget four, it’s also the last time just three teammates finished in the top three slots in the race for the Hart Trophy.
The current Canucks trio is a long way from reaching that point, but the fact Elias Pettersson, J.T. Miller and defenceman Quinn Hughes are tied atop the league rankings with 26 points almost a quarter of the way through the NHL season is pretty damn impressive.
By the way, the two other times just linemates finished one, two, three in scoring, it was 1944-’45 with the Montreal Canadiens ‘Punch Line’ of centre Elmer Lach, right wing Maurice “Rocket” Richard and Toe Blake and the 1949-’50 ‘Production Line’ of the Detroit Red Wings, consisting of Ted Lindsay, centre Sid Able, and right wing Gordie Howe.
Whether it’s goaltending, being effective on the backcheck, or just plain old hard work, NHL coaches will tell you it’s all about consistency.
Naturally that applies to offence as well, which is directly tied to confidence. The Canucks possess both.
‘Petey’ could be considered in a dry spell right now with just two points over his last three games, keeping in mind he had three points in the game prior to that on November 9th against the Senators.
Surely we jest. Pettersson enjoyed the past week atop the NHL scoring list having gone pointless in just three games this season. He has eight multi-point games to make up for it, including a four-pointer on opening night.
Both Miller and “Huggy” caught up to Pettersson on Wednesday night in the 4-3 overtime win at home against the New York Islanders.
When Miller sprung Hughes for the game winning breakaway goal in OT, it was “Millsy’s” second assist to go with an earlier goal. The GWG for Hughes added to his two earlier helpers. The three-point nights hopped them both into a tie for the NHL lead with Petey.
Miller has a whopping eight goals over his last ten games. He’s gone pointless in only four games this season, but the first three came during the first half dozen games in October. He’s been on a tear ever since.
Hughes now leads the league’s blueline scoring race by five points ahead of Colorado’s Cale Makar, the 2022 Norris Trophy winner as the league’s best defenceman. Hughes would be considered the favourite for the award as we speak.
Yes, it’s early and a premature for award talk, but the run has been impressive.
He’s also had four pointless games, easily off-set by the fact he’s had a five-point night, a four-point night, and three three-pointers.
Erik Karlsson, then of the San Jose Sharks, won the Norris last season with 101 points. Hughes is well ahead of that pace. Karlsson has 15 points in 14 games for the Penguins this season.
One might suggest a letdown is in order for the Canucks following the emotional comeback win Wednesday night against their former captain and teammate Bo Horvat and the New York Islanders, but there seems to be little letdown with this club regardless of the situation. The latest win came following a three-game road trip out east with the Canucks finding their legs as the game against the Isles moved along.
Thursday night is the vulnerable, almost mysterious Calgary Flames, who have players wanting out of town and others simply not playing up to their capabilities.
It’s a cautious opportunity for Vancouver to build on its first place Pacific Division position and for their offensive juggernauts to continue their respective runs.
— Canucks Game Day; The Return Of Captain Bo
A Seattle/NHL Piece Worth Enjoying:
— Simmer’s Sunday 9: HHOF Memories, NHL Coach Fired