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During a recent NHL.com poll, Vancouver Canuck's Daniel Sedin was listed as the second best Left Winger in the NHL. Whether you agree with this ranking or not (at the quarter point in the 2010/11 season), there is evidence that he could possibly be in the hunt for hardware come late June. Daniel Sedin focused early in the season at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California Oct. 13, 2010 With the disclaimer (yet again, after forecasting Henrik Sedin early on to win the Hart Trophy) that I do not wish to 'jinx' Daniel Sedin, this is simply a review of accomplishments to date, with a dash of prognosticating sprinkled in. Pundits will usually concede that the quarter point in the NHL schedule is a strong indication of where the higher seeds will finish, as well as a decent gauge for player point totals. With 13 goals and 27 points over the first 22 games, he's on pace for a career season. Last season, though he missed 19 games, he still amassed more points than in any other (2006-07 84 pts, 2008-09 82 pts) season. He's currently ranked 5th in the League for goals, and 9th for points. On pace for 48 goals, 52 assists – 100 points. That is, of course, barring injury/illness, or any dozen other factors. Fans often marvel at how uncannily close the twins' point totals are, year after year. Were Daniel to have played the complete season as Henrik did, he was on pace for 111 points, and potentially also trophy nomination. Earlier, the poll mentioned regarding Left Wingers was lead by Alexander Ovechkin. Not much of a surprise there, but his pace has cooled from last season. Undoubtedly he'll catch fire at some point in the season, but he's on pace for 104 pts, only 32 of which are goals. One says 'only' when the individual mentioned scores 50+ annually. Anze Kopitar and Daniel Sedin race for a loose puck in the Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals (all photos courtesy of Yardbarker.com) Hockey pool guru Murray Townsend (The Hockey News) has been a professional prognosticator for 20 years. He had forecast Crosby and Ovechkin to tie for second in League scoring with 110 points. They finished with 109. Interestingly, two players that he's had difficulty projecting are the Sedin brothers. He thought that they had peaked in 2008-09 at 82 points a piece. Little could he imagine Henrik would go on a magical run to win the Art Ross and Hart Trophies. Basically, Daniel accomplished in 63 games what Townsend and others thought would take 82. But he's not sure that Henrik's performance will be duplicated. "Almost positive they've peaked," Townsend told The Hockey News. Voted NHL and TSN goal of the year (courtesy of Pouya - CanucksHD) One facet of the twins evolution that many overlooked initially was their preparation. In particular, their physical conditioning has been top notch, and aided them immensely. Each year, when they've finished the playoffs, they take two weeks off, then head back to Ornkoldsvik, Sweden, to commence off-season training. Since his rookie 2000-01 season, where Daniel scored 20 goals and 34 points, it's evident his ability to compete has heightened since becoming bigger and stronger. His ability to shield and protect the puck while cycling down low has increased. His shots, wrist, slap, snap and backhand, have become more potent, more forceful. His acceleration, though it will never be elite level, has reached a higher gear. In short, he is no longer a bright-eyed teenager playing a man's game. Whatever the rest of the season should hold, Vancouver Canuck fans will continue to be delighted and amazed as Daniel Sedin, part of the best one-two punch in the League, displays his quality. With files from CanucksHD, Yardbarker.com and The Hockey News, I'm Larenzo Jensen
With the Washington Capitals and Vancouver Canucks tied at 2 at 12:24 of the third period, referee Brad Meier assessed Caps Tom Poti a double minor that changed the game. Washington's head coach, Bruce Boudreau couldn't beleive what he was seeing as Poti first received a cross-checking minor for hitting Alex Burrows in the shoulders. Then, after dismissing Meier's call with a "take off" waving gesture, Poti was given an additional two minute minor for Unsportsmanlike conduct. On the subsequent power play, Mason Raymond notched his 2nd of the game, and as Brad Meier skated by the Washington bench, all Boudreau could do was clap his hands (at Meiers) and sarcastically say: "Bravo, bravo." Kesler helps Raymond celebrate the tying goal - (AP Photo / The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck) The Kesler, Raymond and Samuelsson line was assigned the Alex Ovechkin coverage, and performed admirably. Denying time and space, Kesler admitted prior to the game to looking very much forward to the role and responsibility. Afterwards Ovechkin was rather short with reporters and walked away after two minutes and this comment: "I just didn't have the puck." His best chances came in the third, where he registered three shots, one a great shoulder save by Roberto Luongo. Kesler opened the scoring at 6:39 of the first period, when a Jannik Hansen backhand whack at the blueline took a few fortuitous skips and onto Kesler's stick. He had drawn a penalty while interupted by a hook taking a backhand shot, but a Capital's dragging skate pushed the puck past a sprawled Theodore. The Capitals fired right back with a nice wrist-shot by Alexander Semin, who took advantage of a broken play to beat Luongo gloveside. Brooks Laich paid the price for the goal, getting drilled by Tanner Glass off his feet into the Canucks bench (pictured below) while passing to Semin. Chris Clark gave the Capitals the lead heading into the second period, collecting the second shot attempt rebound off Kevin Bieksa for his 4th of the year. But Mason Raymond would score a beautiful goal late in the second period on a 2-on-1 rush, going backhand, then forehand, undressing Theodore to tie it. "We were trying to capitalize off their mistakes," said Raymond. "We knew if we kept shutting their top lines down, we would be heading back the other way." Alexander Ovechkin was shadowed all night long; here by Henrik Sedin, and regularly by Ryan Kesler (AP Photo, Darryl Dyck) As noted earlier, special teams played a significant role in the game, and the Canucks defense did a great job of boxing Washington out. Alex Burrows and both Ryan's (Kesler and Johnson) made significant plays to help knock pucks out of their end, and to keep them on the perimeter. "Our power play was horrible," coach Boudreau remarked, after failing to register a shot on 3 of 4 power plays. "We didn't generate anything." Only 19 seconds after Raymond's goal, Kevin Bieksa hauled Alexander Semin down on a partial breakaway. Referee Mike Leggo pointed to center ice to indicate a penalty shot. "I was playing the shot the whole way," explained Canucks captain Luongo. "Took as much net away as possible, and once he went for the shot I went down right away and was able to get a pad on it." The save (picture below) helped Raymonds' goal stand up to be the winner. Note: Henrik Sedin's assist on Mason's tying goal extended his point streak to 9 games, though twin Daniel had his stopped at 8 games. Next up: St. Louis Blues (away record, 8-3-3) have been playing better on the road than at home; visit Sunday for game 6 of 8 during Canucks' homestand.