Radim Vrbata (Getty Images)
Canucks winger Radim Vrbata had scored just once in six games entering Sunday's tilt against Ottawa, but on one shift, the veteran showed why a little patience – from day-to-day and during any particular shift – can go a long way.
Vancouver Canucks right winger Radim Vrbata had just one goal in his past six games – after scoring 10 in the previous 19 games – heading into Sunday's showdown against the host Ottawa Senators. But the veteran sniper showed that patience, both from game-to-game and minute-to-minute on the ice, is a virtue that eventually gets rewarded.
Vrbata, who'd found the back of the net only once since Nov. 23, took a nice pass from teammate Ryan Stanton at center ice and broke in on Sens goalie Craig Anderson with just one Ottawa defenseman between them. The 33-year-old former Coyotes mainstay could've passed to another Canuck, but he found that holding onto the puck, getting Anderson to bite on an attempted poke check, and deftly twisting around him and scoring the first goal of the game was a better plan:
Earning $5 million this season and next, Vrbata has proven to be one of last summer's most astute off-season pickups, and is a big reason why the Canucks are challenging the Ducks and Hawks for top spot in the Western Conference these days. He's also quite durable, having missed just two last season with Arizona and only eight in the previous three full NHL seasons combined, so it's more than likely he'll be providing them with a similar degree of production the rest of the way.