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Canucks lead division going into All-Star break

Last Updated Jan 20, 2020 at 10:40 am PST

FILE - Vancouver Canucks' Elias Pettersson, of Sweden, skates during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Los Angeles Kings in Vancouver, on Tuesday November 27, 2018. (Darryl Dyck / CP)

The Vancouver Canucks are sitting in top spot in the Pacific Division

Other teams aren't matching up to the Canucks, according to Sportsnet 650's James Cybulski

Three Canucks will be taking part in the All-Star game on Sunday

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The Vancouver Canucks are sitting at first in the Pacific Division as they go into the All-Star break, placing a lot higher than this time last year.

The Canucks have exceeded expectations, a pleasant surprise for fans and experts.

James Cybulski with Sportsnet 650 says their improved scoring and goaltending is making a big difference.

“More balanced scoring in the lineup over the last few weeks. Goaltending has been outstanding this year for the Vancouver Canucks. First time in several years that you’ve seen quality goaltending on a consistent basis since the days of Roberto Luongo,” he explains.

Cybulski says a combination of a stronger team and weaker competition for the Canucks may be contributing to the club’s success.

“Vegas is obviously the team that most people would look at from the roster standpoint and say that is the best team. They’ve obviously under achieved this year. The Calgary Flames, not where they were a season ago. Edmonton, better than anticipated. San Jose, big drop off there and Arizona way better than expected,” he says.

Moving forward into the rest of this season, it’s hard to predict where the Canucks will land. But fans are celebrating now and flying their flags a lot higher.

“With 33 games to go, the team has re-energized this market again. You can see that people are back on board,” says Cybulski.

The Canucks have the next 10 days off while goalie Jacob Markstrom, forward Elias Pettersson, and defenseman Quinn Hughes take part in Sunday’s All-Star game.