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Vancouver Canucks 3 stars of the week: The Lotto Line’s week of dominance

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Photo credit:© Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Dave Hall
4 months ago
There’s no need to be pinched; this is not a dream.
The Vancouver Canucks do lead the league in various goal-scoring metrics.
The Vancouver Canucks did win all four games this week and are riding a five-game streak.
The Vancouver Canucks do have five players and a head coach heading to this year’s All-Star game in Toronto.
And yes, the Vancouver Canucks do sit in first place overall with a 29-11-3 record in mid-January.
This is all real, folks.
And yet, the success that this team is enjoying still feels like fantasy, doesn’t it?
Perhaps it’s partially because this team has outperformed all expecations, but also, simply put, it’s a feeling that Canucks Nation has not enjoyed in over a decade.
The team continues to face its share of challenges, however.
Let’s be honest; while two lines — the Lotto Line and the so-called third line — have run amok recently, this has left a rather unfulfilled second line that ultimately lacks any identity.
The newly resurrected top line is picking up all the slack right now, but if that offence dries up, even slightly, things have the potential to get sour.
For now, their success must be celebrated, but there remains a deeper issue in need of attention, and it probably takes the form of a top-six goalscorer.
Luckily, they are receiving contributions, and tons of them, from the backend, and their goaltending tandem has been a sturdy backbone.
With three wins, allowing just six goals and a shutout, Thatcher Demko had a tremendous week. While he may not have received a CanucksArmy nomination, he deserves a huge honourable mention for his efforts.
However, it’s the Lotto Line taking all the credit this week.

Third star: Brock Boeser

A little over a week ago, Brock Boeser arrived in New Jersey with just three points in eight games — something had to give.
Well, just five games later…
It gave.
The resurgence of the Lotto Line has offered a fresh look for Boeser, and he now sports seven points in his last five games — all with the Lotto Line — which includes three goals to put him up to 27 on the year.
It took him 62 games to collect a career-high 29 goals back in his rookie year (2017-18), and now, he finds himself just two shy in 19 fewer games.
Heck, he nearly had his 28th on Sunday if it weren’t for the NHL’s offside video reviews.
Considering that his name had been taken through a wash-rinse-repeat cycle in trade rumours over the last few years, combined with the personal hurdles, Boeser enjoying success is something every Canuck fan can get behind.
To top it all off, Brock will be heading to the NHL All-Star game for the first time since that 29-goal rookie campaign.
Remember vintage Brock? Who not only won the accuracy shooting contest but also took home the All-Star game MVP honours?

Second star: J.T. Miller

J.T. Miller has been a major difference maker on this Canucks team, not only racking up points, but providing all the extracurriculars to boot.
The list of contributions continues to stack, and this week, those numbers were shot through a cannon.
Looking at his year, he not only shares the third spot in points league-wide points, but also sits in the upper echelon of many Canuck categories:
Goals: Third (19)
Assists: Second (39)
Points: First (59)
Plus/minus: Third (22)
Hits: Second (92)
Over four games this past week, he tallied five points, scoring a goal and providing four assists. He also brought much more than that, leading the team with 10 hits and even getting his hands dirty, dropping the gloves for a healthy bout with Buffalo Sabres defenceman Erik Johnson.
Like the rest of the list, he capped off the week by etching his name on this year’s All-Star game roster.
With 357 points over 326 games as a Canuck, it’s incredible that this will be Miller’s first time at the event.
He’s officially tied with former Canucks defenceman Mattias Ohlund for 15th with 232 assists on the club’s all-time list.

First star: Elias Pettersson

William Nylander signed a whopping 92 million-dollar extension early last week.
What does Elias Pettersson do in response?
Oh, just a casual five-goal, nine-point week to lead the entire NHL.
At this point, there’s no way around it. This man is going to get paid.
The points, the confidence, the record chasing?!
Pettersson established dominance statistically and with the game-winning goal in four of the Canucks’ last five games, tying a 100 (plus) year-old record in the process.
He fell just one goal short of breaking Newsy Lalonde’s record, in which he scored four game-winning goals in a row back in 1921 for the Montreal Canadiens.
“Oh, wow, that’s cool,” Pettersson said to Canucks team reporter Kate Pettersen when told about the state.
It’s no secret that the Swedish superstar has put contract talks on hold. After years of heartbreak and painstaking results, it’s clear that EP40 simply wants to enjoy the game again and be a part of a winning team.
With that in mind, you better believe that Canucks Nation was grinning cheek-to-cheek to see him celebrate a mid-season overtime goal with such enthusiasm.
 
Whether it was incredible individual efforts:
Tremendous vision:
Or chemistry-driven give-and-go’s:
Pettersson put his stake in the ground as this team’s ultimate superstar, worthy of every dollar in his next contract.
Finally, he was also selected to represent the team in this year’s All-Star game for the fourth time in five years. He heads into the game as the reigning “hardest shot” champion after he clocked in at 103.2 to win at last year’s event.
The trio will be joined by Thatcher Demko, captain Quinn Hughes and head coach Rick Tocchet.
This year’s All-Star game takes place in Toronto over the February 1-3 weekend.
The Canucks head to Columbus for a Pacific Time morning tilt against the Blue Jackets, before returning home for a five-game home stint.
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