Vancouver Canucks 3 stars of the week: The Conor Garland, Teddy Blueger, and Dakota Joshua trio carried all of the heavy lifting last week

Photo credit:© Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Dave Hall
3 months ago
We have officially hit the Christmas break, and the Vancouver Canucks lead the entire National Hockey League.
I think I speak for the entire fan base when I say: woah.
Whether it’s point totals (49), wins (23), or goals (135), the team has taken the league by storm and carries honours as this year’s regular season Cinderella story.
December, specifically, has been a strong month for them as a group, falling short in regulation just once over the entire month, which came at the hands of a 6-5 loss to the New Jersey Devils. For what it’s worth, before conceding a late third-period goal, they were 34 seconds away from heading into overtime in that match.
With one game remaining on the December slate, they sport an 8-1-2 record.
Over the last few weeks, the team has been blessed with some very strong play from their first-line (scratch that) third-line, who is leading this team on a nightly basis, and in more than one way.
Whether it’s mucking it up, battling and winning pucks in the corner, to now putting pucks in the net, the trio of Conor Garland, Teddy Blueger, and Dakota Joshua has been this team’s heart and soul over the last couple of weeks.
With all this in mind, for the first time this season, we will be handing all three star selections, in no particular order, to the entire third line.

Star selection: Dakota Joshua

Dakota Joshua hits the CanucksArmy podium for the second consecutive week, earning the back-to-back third-star nominations.
This week, he contributed another two goals on four shots, including the eventual game-winner on Saturday night versus the San Jose Sharks. He also brought in a primary helper over the week.
On top of his offensive contributions, he nearly tripled any other player in the hit department, amassing another 13 over the week.
In terms of season production, Joshua is currently steamrolling the team in hits (105), and sits a whopping 34 above any other skater, with J.T. Miller sitting at 71 on the season.
Offensively, with nine goals and 15 points on the year, he’s just two goals and eight points shy of his career highs, which he set last year, with more than half the season remaining.
His presence as a bottom-half power forward was what originally awarded him his two-way $850,000 price tag, but with this recent pinch of soft hands and offensive touch, he’s punching well above his weight at the moment.
The only downside? His contract is up at the end of this season, and he’s awarding himself quite the case for a pay raise.

Star selection: Conor Garland

In the words of our very own Wyatt Arndt, “Corolla Garland”, contributed another four points over the week. This continues a stretch of incredible hockey to the tune of nine points over a 10-game stretch, six of which have been primary assists.
Not only did he grab another pair of primary assists, but both were incredibly smooth no-look feeds for Dakota Joshua to collect a couple of easy buckets.
Most importantly, Garland scored his first goal since November 12th, and third of the year, off a slick feed from Joshua. This tosses a huge monkey off his shoulder and hopefully primes him for a nice run of goals to get him back on track for his career average.
Honestly, plays like this show you just how special this line has been.
He’s now up to 16 points in 35 games, and despite a slow statistical start to his season, he’s been a significant factor over this most recent stretch.

Star selection: Teddy Blueger

Making his first appearance in this year’s star nominations, we have Teddy Blueger, who nearly doubled his season point totals with a team-leading five points, adding to a career-best six-game point streak.
The confidence is pouring through each of the three members of this line, evident not only by the number of goals but also by the fashion in which they are coming.
Here’s Teddy, selling the shot before crossing the crease for a tap-in for Nils Åman.
Collectively, this trio combined for 12 points and was the major factor in this week’s, check that, this month’s success.
Has Teddy always had this offensive touch, or is this just a flash in the pan?
“I guess that’s up to you guys to decide,” Blueger said when asked about his offensive game. “I’d like to think I can make a play here and there and not just dump it in all the time.”
With no time on the power play, he tied captain Quinn Hughes for the team’s highest even-strength production, with 10 points in December, while also carrying out his typical contributions to this team’s penalty kill, which has enjoyed an improvement over the month.
There’s no way to sugarcoat things. Secondary scoring has been a dark cloud hovering over this team in recent years. So, to carry a trio that not only produces but carries the team through a successful week is quite a welcome addition for this fanbase.
Whether it’s the usual suspects, bottom-six, or from the backend, goals are coming in hot this season, contributing to the NHL’s most successful team over the first three months of play.
It’s safe to say that every single member of this Canucks team was on Santa Clause’s nice list on Christmas Day.
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