Two straight losses to the St. Louis Blues may have killed the Canucks’ playoff dreams for good.
Math is no friend of the Vancouver Canucks right now.
Coming off Wednesday night’s loss to the St. Louis Blues, the Canucks are 32-28-9, good for 73 points and an 82-game pace of 87 points. Unsurprisingly, it’s not playoff pace.
In order to make the playoffs, the Canucks must either finish in third place in the Pacific Division, currently held by the Edmonton Oilers, or grab the wildcard second place in the Western Conference, which belongs to to the Dallas Stars by points. percentage.
The Oilers are on pace for 98 points. The Stars are on pace for 97 points.
With 13 games left in the season, the Canucks should win each to reach 99 points and finish ahead of the Oilers’ and Stars’ projected pace.
The longest winning streak in Canucks history is 10 games.
Alright, that looks pretty terrible. The Oilers are stars could, of course, falter in the stretch and prove easier to catch. Maybe the Canucks could afford to lose another game or two and still have a shot at making the playoffs.
The other problem is that they won’t be alone. The Vegas Golden Knights will be looking for those same two spots and they have a five-point advantage over the Canucks. The Winnipeg Jets are also trying to qualify for the final wildcard spot and are three points ahead of the Canucks with a game in hand.
It’s not finished but it’s pretty close.
“It’s easy to look at the standings and try to calculate how many points you need, but you can’t be like ‘Oh, we need that many games’,” Elias Pettersson said. “You just have to try to win the next game.”
The Canucks just have to win the next game for the rest of the season.
After Monday’s loss to St. Louis, I tried to stay positive. The Canucks still had a chance, after all, but it hinged on the team’s rebound and the start of their winning streak in their rematch against the Blues in Vancouver. The loss was combined with unfortunate results on the away scoreboard: wins for the Oilers, Golden Knights and Jets and a win the night before for the Stars.
It got harder to stay positive after watching that game.
- My apologies if I am at all inconsistent in this IWTG. Like Bo Horvat, who left the game after the first period, I have an illness unrelated to COVID. I rested, so I could still watch and write about this game. Really worth it.
- “Before the game, I hear he’s sick, but he’s going to try,” said Bruce Boudreau of Horvat. “Ten minutes into the game you lose it. So all of a sudden you’re mixing and matching for the rest of the game. Especially with some of the young guys we have in there, mixing and matching isn’t as easy as it looks.
- The Canucks actually got off to a good start, controlling the game in the first ten minutes and beating the Blues 5-1, with Vasily Podkolzin, Conor Garland and William Lockwood all getting decent chances. Turning ? That unwarranted trip on Pettersson, which should have given the Canucks the game’s first power play and kept them going. Instead, the Blues took over, beating the Canucks 6-0 the rest of the period.
- It was just the start of a litany of missed calls, as referees braced themselves for the difficult task of not calling obvious penalties in the playoffs. What, do you think referees manage to ignore blatant penalties by accident? It takes years of training and experience on the job.
- Look, the Canucks didn’t lose that game to refereeing. It just didn’t help, especially late in the game when the Canucks were trailing by one goal and Garland took a stick high in the face 15 feet from an official and no penalty was called. . The Canucks have had several very sticky calls overturned by video review in recent weeks, but there’s no recourse to review a penalty that should have been called and wasn’t.
- It was sometimes a difficult game for Oliver Ekman-Larsson. The Canucks may have beaten the Blues 11-to-6 when he was on the ice at 5-5, but the high danger odds were another story – Natural Stat Trick had them at 4-2 for the Blues. One of those high-risk chances came in that first-period 2-on-1, where Tyler Myers got caught on a bad pinch and Ekman-Larsson slid down the ice to desperately defend a pass that didn’t go away. is ever produced.
- Of course, the funniest part of this clip was John Garrett confidently declaring, “Very well done by Oliver Ekman-Larsson”, at the same time as the replay showed Ekman-Larsson twirling into oblivion while giving an escape to Robert Thomas.
- Here’s one of my biggest pet peeves: when a big change in the offensive zone ends in a low percentage shot. The Canucks line of Garland, JT Miller and Tanner Pearson buzzed around the offensive zone and the Blues skaters had been on the ice for over a minute. Just as Ekman-Larsson took the puck from Garland, the Blues made a crucial mistake, with two players moving towards Ekman-Larsson, leaving Miller wide open, but instead of taking advantage, Ekman-Larsson fired a shot. in Ville Husso’s chest from the buffet.
- At best, he was hoping for a tip, but the Canucks had the opportunity to create a much better chance. Things like this explain why the Canucks’ shooting advantage with Ekman-Larsson on the ice didn’t translate into a luck advantage.
- The most frustrating part of this loss for the Canucks is that they took the lead twice and couldn’t keep it. They opened the scoring in the second period with a fourth line goal. Ekman-Larsson put the puck deep and Brad Richardson took it behind the net and slipped a nice backhand pass to Alex Chiasson, who patiently pushed the puck further in front to get a better angle and placed it just above Husso’s left pad.
- Unfortunately, the Canucks got stuck in their own end and Demko allowed a very unusual goal on a shot from the point. Demko seemed to anticipate the puck would go higher and first raised his shoulder, then couldn’t squeeze his left arm close enough to his body when the shot went lower than expected.
- The Canucks regained the advantage against the tide thanks to the Petey Connection. Nic “Petey” Petan got his stick on a breakout pass on the forecheck and Elias “Petey” Pettersson jumped on the loose puck. Pettersson deftly set up the bouncing puck and whipped it past Husso like it was a skein in jai alai.
- They had a chance to extend the power play lead, but it all went wrong. Pettersson carried the puck into the zone, but bounced the puck. As the first man in the zone it could have been fine, but Quinn Hughes was caught off guard by the fast Thomas and Miller didn’t move at all. Thomas made no mistake on the shorthanded breakaway to tie the game.
- “A mistake like that can’t happen,” Pettersson said. “I just have to play a better game, I can’t just put it back there.”
- “You anticipate, if we can get one here and go 3-1, good things are going to happen and then they come back and tie, that was kind of a deflating goal, of course,” Boudreau said. “I think [Pettersson] expects a lot of himself. He made a mistake, we all make mistakes, it’s part of the game.”
- The Blues quickly turned the 2-2 tie into a 3-2 power play lead. Ryan O’Reilly found a weak spot in the middle of the Canucks’ penalty kill and a quick passing game got Demko moving and gave O’Reilly a wide-open one-timer.
- The Canucks didn’t seem to have much left in the third period and when a broken play gave Nathan Walker the 4-2 goal on a lucky rebound, it seemed like it was all over. The Canucks, however, weren’t quite dead yet and didn’t want to get on the cart.
- Boudreau charged a line with Pettersson, Miller and Garland and it paid off. Travis Dermott pinched deep and got the puck down to Miller and he spotted Garland rushing down the middle like he was launched by Ted Lasso. Garland didn’t quite make all of his shots, but it worked – the puck flew towards Pettersson at the top of the slot and he got just enough puck with his stick shaft to deflect it.
- The goal fired up both the Canucks and the crowd – which only intensified after Garland’s missed high stick. Pettersson, already with two goals, gave Pearson the Canucks’ best chance in the final minutes with a nice backhand pass, but Husso robbed it with the glove. And that was it.
- “They looked a little tired there,” Boudreau said. “The last five minutes they had energy – the crowd gave them energy once they scored the goal… They looked like they had played five games in eight days.”