Chris Tanev named first star after Vancouver Canucks win 2-1 squeaker over Winnipeg Jets

The steady defenceman has drawn effusive praise from the coach

Canucks coach John Tortorella has already called Chris Tanev his team's most consistent defenceman.

And after tonight's 2-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets at Rogers Arena, Tortorella praised the soft-spoken blueliner again for "defending very well", and for his "subtle plays" in his own end.

"What goes unnoticed, I believe, is just him getting us out of the end zone," the coach said.

It didn't hurt that Tanev's wrist shot midway through the third period proved to be the game-winning goal.

It was his fourth goal of the season, and it came on Zack Kassian's perfectly placed pass from behind the net.

Tanev ended up as the game's first star.

Afterward, the self-effacing defender seemed mystified by all the praise heaped on him by Sportsnet's Dan Murphy in a post-game, ice-level interview.

Tanev mumbled a few words about how the team wasn't at its best, and then tried to turn the attention on his teammates, noting that the team has eight defencemen.

But these days, Tanev is having trouble avoiding the spotlight, especially since top-four defender Alex Edler went down with a knee injury.

It's gotten to the point where the Vancouver Canucks website is even featuring what Tanev takes on the plane in his carry-on bag.

During his post-game comments, Tortorella said he was happy about how the team responded tonight after a gruelling road trip through several time zones.

He also singled out backup goalie Eddie Lack for praise for helping nail down the victory.

Late in the first period, Roberto Luongo left the game with an injury. It came after his leg collided with Jets bruiser Dustin Byfuglien.

Lack got the job done, blocking 15 of 16 shots. 

"He is not afraid of anything," Tortorella said. "He has prepared himself for this situation. And he has played very well."

Evander Kane scored the only Winnipeg goal on a power play at 11:22 of the second period.

It countered a first-period power-play goal by Brad Richardson, his seventh marker of the season.

The Canucks can enjoy a week off before their next game on December 29 in Calgary.

They're back home the following night against Philadelphia.

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