Pyatt's Consistency Paying Off
|When Taylor Pyatt went down holding his face in the first period of Sunday’s game after taking an Eric Brewer clearing attempt in the face, all of Vancouver gasped in unison. Pyatt had just set up the Canucks first two goals as the team was battling St. Louis to avoid their first three-game losing streak of the season.
The 6’4” Vancouver forward left the game with a split lip and a few loose teeth. He didn’t return and most of B.C. suffered through 40-plus minutes waiting for an update.
While recalling a similar event that sidelined Sami Salo earlier in the year, Canuck fans must have been wondering if this same injury would plague the recently hot-hand of Pyatt.
Last week, Pyatt was deemed by Coach Alain Vigneault as the Canucks most consistent forward over the past month attributing his success to hard work and determination. Vigneault also discussed Pyatt’s unique size, skill and his potential to be a successful, and dominate, top six forward in the NHL.
Pyatt led all Canuck forwards in ice time minutes against the Phoenix Coyotes, and has been given the chance to play with the Sedin’s and on the powerplay unit. Playing with the Sedin’s for most of last year, Pyatt was able to record career numbers and contribute in Vancouver’s playoff run.
For the better part of this year, Pyatt has shared the ice with several different line mates as he has been moved back and forth between the first and third lines all season. His recent play suggests that he can not only skate with the Swedish twins, but be an effective offensive force as the third line member, producing on the scoreboard and adding some needed muscle.
In his last four games, Pyatt has recorded 2 goals and 3 assists, and has been a dominating physical presence recording 6 hits. To date Pyatt has accumulated 11 goals and 14 assists in 45 games this season, and has been effectively noticeable of late.
He has already tied his career-high of 14 assists this season, and although is off the pace to beat his career-high-goal totals from last season, a resurgent second half can change that instantly. Increased minutes with the Sedin’s and time on the powerplay will provide greater opportunity for Pyatt to boost his goal tally.
Pyatt will be required to wear a full-shield face mask indefinitely to protect the injured facial area. He received 25 stitches to his upper lip, and had a splint inserted into his mouth to stabilize his teeth. Luckily, this is the reported extent of the damage and Pyatt is not expected to miss an extended amount of time out of the Vancouver line-up.
With the amount of unlucky injuries incurred by the Vancouver Canucks this season, fans should be thankful for the simplicity of this accident, as a more serious case would result in the absence of Vancouver’s biggest forward, who holds the potential to fill the net. Something the Canucks are always looking to improve upon.
2 - Career hat tricks in the NHL
3 - Different teams played for since 2000
25 - Points this season (11-14-9)
42 - Points last season, a career high
135 - Career points in the NHL