Can the Vancouver Canucks surprise again?

VANCOUVER Buffalo Sabres Hats Authentic , British Columbia – That’s the question heading into Monday’s contest between the hometown Canucks (5-3-0) and the visiting Washington Capitals (3-2-2).The Canucks were expected to struggle from the get-go of this National Hockey League season, but they have managed to beat tough opponents in Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay, among others. Vancouver’s latest feat was an overtime victory at home over Boston, which always sparks emotions due to its triumph in seven games over the Canucks in the 2011 Stanley Cup finals.Article continues below ...Now, the Canucks will try to better the defending champions.To do that, they will likely have to get more offense from center Bo Horvat and second-year winger Brock Boeser, who teamed up for the winning goal Saturday. The Canucks need them to keep producing as star rookie Elias Pettersson remains out with a concussion.“Brock and I have some good chemistry out there and, thankfully, the pucks are going in right now Custom Buffalo Sabres Jerseys ,” Horvat told reporters.Horvat has five goals and one assist in the club’s first eight games. He sits second in club scoring behind Pettersson, 19, who accrued eight points before he was sidelined by a hit from Florida defenseman Mike Matheson. The Panthers rearguard received a two-game suspension for his actions.Boeser is tied for third in team scoring with Sven Baertschi. They both have five points.Vancouver will have to shine again with Pettersson. He has resumed skating on his own, but his return date remains uncertain.Vancouver goaltender Jacob Markstrom is confident that the youth-laden Canucks can turn in another solid effort when the Capitals visit.“When we play organized and when we play for each other and everybody’s giving 100 per cent, we can beat any team,” he told reporters.Meanwhile, the Capitals are looking to regain top form after last season’s first ever title and a summer of celebration.“We’re still trying to find our game,” forward Brett Connolly told The Washington Post. “Would we have liked to have picked up where we left off? Yes. But it’s not easy. We played a lot of hockey last year and (had) a short summer, and you come in here and there are a lot of distractions , a lot of that kind of stuff. We’ve done some good things, and we’ve done some not- so-good things. I think if you look at last season, we weren’t very good either at the start. We weren’t at our best. Just take the positives and know that we can overcome that.It hasn’t been disastrous. We’re still getting points, we’re still above .500 right now with a tough couple back-to-backs to start the year. So (it’s) not the worst start, but obviously we have another level.”The Capitals will visit picturesque Victoria, B.C., after Monday’s contest as they have a two-day break between games. But according to forward Nicklas Backstrom, the Capitals are not guilty of being too relaxed by thinking they are stable club too soon.“I don’t feel that we have that attitude in the locker room,” Backstrom told The Washington Post. “It’s a process. We want to get better as a team Calgary Flames T-Shirts Authentic , we want to play the same way as we did last year, so we’ve just got to keep working.” SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) Like most players on contending teams, Joe Pavelski enjoys this time of the year. Somehow he rises to the occasion.Pavelski scored twice and the San Jose Sharks reached a season high in goals in a 7-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night.”This is his time of the year,” Sharks coach Pete DeBoer said. ”He always finds another level this time of the year.”At 79 points, the Sharks aren’t guaranteed anything just yet. That’s why Pavekski and Co. are playing close to playoff level hockey, even against a team like the Blackhawks, who have a slightly different agenda the rest of the season.”It’s about execution and getting your chances,” Pavelski said. ”When you can score on those it goes a long way. It was a fun night. Not all of them will be like that.”Logan Couture Calgary Flames Hoodies Authentic , Timo Meier, Kevin LaBanc, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Barclay Goodrow also scored for the Sharks, who won their second straight at home after dropping three in a row on the road.Artem Anisimov and Nick Schmaltz scored for the Blackhawks, who lost their seventh straight road game while allowing their most goals this season, matching the seven New Jersey scored on Nov. 12.”Not good. It was tough,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. ”You try to do things right but I don’t think we did too much in the `right’ department all game long. We didn’t manage the puck at all.”Martin Jones stopped 32 shots for San Jose.J-F Berube gave up six goals on 28 shots through the second period before he was pulled. Anton Forsberg allowed a goal in the first three minutes of the third period.”I can’t say anybody had a great night, so you can’t talk about one guy,” Quenneville said. ”We gave up too many high quality shots off the rush.”Anisimov gave Chicago a 1-0 lead in the third minute of play Calgary Flames Hats Authentic , the result of crisp passing from both Duncan Keith and Patrick Kane.Pavelski tied it midway through the first period, taking a short pass from Brent Burns and burying it into the net.Couture scored four minutes later and the rout was on.Pavelski scored the fifth goal midway through the second, his 49th career multi-goal game.”It was one of those nights the puck was going in,” Pavelski said. It’s good to see guys who do it the right way step up abd get rewarded.”The sixth goal came with two seconds left in the second. Berube caught the puck but couldn’t hang on. Vlasic came around and fired a shot off the back of Berube’s pads and into the net.”We haven’t scored like this all season,” DeBoer said. ”It’s nice to have a game like this, to put some pucks into the net.”Jones blocked Anthony Duclair’s penalty shot with five minutes left to play.Schmaltz scored in the final minute.NOTES: Couture scored his 206th goal with the Sharks, matching Owen Nolan for fourth all-time. … Matthew Highmore made his NHL debut, the fifth Blackhawks player to make his debut this season. … Pavelski has a 9-game point streak against the Blackhawks. … The Sharks have not scored on the power play over their last 11 games. … Anisimov has four goals over his past six games.UP NEXTBlackhawks: At the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.Sharks: Host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday.—