December 2, 2010

Raymond Scores Every Which Way Against the Flames... Well, Pretty Much all the Canucks Do

Wednesday night marked the second-career hat trick for Cochrane, Alberta-native Mason Raymond, who comes from a town that's so fast-growing, they're apparently running out of first names. All due respect to the one, whom non-hockey fans would assume was actually named Raymond Mason, something just seems to click when he's in his backyard, with his first three-goal game coming in Calgary against the Flames as well in December 2009.

The hat-trick helped pace the Canucks to a 7-2 victory, a score that doesn't really do justice to the game, which was relatively close after two periods (3-2, with Vancouver holding a 24-14 edge in shots), but then again you don't get scored on four times in the third period without doing a lot of things badly. In the Flames' case, the main thing was showing up at all, which really seems to a recurring problem of theirs of late unfortunately.

Raymond added an assist for a career-high four points, but it was the way he scored his goals - one coming shorthanded (a real beauty), one coming on the power-play, and one coming at even-strength - that must have made the night really special.

As for the Canucks as a whole, things seem to be meshing at the right time (is there ever a wrong time, really?). They've got depth at forward (Raymond's presence helps to prove it, as does that of Raffi Torres, Manny Malholtra, etc.), at defense (to the point usual number-two defenseman Keith Ballard was a healthy scratch earlier this season), and in goal (back-up Cory Schneider could start for several teams right now), making them Canada's best chance at a Stanley Cup. Just don't tell Montreal Canadiens fans, though. They might just riot out of sheer principle. Hell, they're likely to riot at the drop of a hat.

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