This is the Chris Higgins that John Tortorella envisioned four years ago. Tortorella loved Higgins for the 55 games he coached him back in the 2009-10 season with the New York Rangers, but there was just one problem. Higgins couldn’t score. He managed just six goals and 14 points before the Rangers dealt the pending unrestricted free agent to the Calgary Flames at the trade deadline. Tortorella remembers telling Higgins that he hoped to get him back. “I said I’m going to do everything I can to get you back because it was just one of those situations where he was doing everything right, but just could not score a goal,” Tortorella said Monday. It has taken a little longer than he hoped, but Tortorella finally has Higgins back on his team. And this Chris Higgins is scoring. Higgins carries a career-best five-game points streak into Tuesday night’s game against the Minnesota Wild at the Xcel Energy Center in blustery St. Paul. His 10 goals are third best on the Vancouver Canucks, trailing only the 15 by linemate Ryan Kesler and the 11 that Daniel Sedin has potted. “Right now he is right back at it,” Tortorella said. “He is a huge part of our team and just with the little things he has been very important to us.” The line of Higgins, Kesler and Mike Santorelli has largely carried the Canucks on their current seven-game winning streak. “I think we are just reading off each other well,” Higgins said after Monday’s practice. “Our collective hockey sense is pretty high, our cycle game is pretty strong as far as always having a guy in front and high and guy working the corner. We have won a lot of puck battles in the offensive end and kept the play alive and that has allowed us to get a lot more offensive opportunities.” Higgins’ game has always been about hard work. He’s excellent along the boards and wins a lot of puck battles, which of course Tortorella absolutely loves. There are not a lot of ups and downs in his game.
Hard work finally paying off for Chris Higgins with Canucks
Vancouver Sun | Dec 17