Everyone knew that coming into this season, it was going to be an uphill climb for a team like the Vancouver Canucks to even be in the playoff conversation.
From the beginning to the middle portion of the season, the Canucks had surprised everyone by being a big part of any kind of playoff talk. Up until that point, they had been competitive every night and were finding different ways to win hockey games, and were one of the hardest working teams in the entire league.
Unfortunately, the Canucks have hit a bit of rough patch here. It will more than likely end up costing them dearly, come the end of the season.
It could be said that their play in their last ten games was the team that all Canucks’ and hockey fans expected to see all season long. The team is 2-6-2 during this stretch and lost to the likes of the New York Islanders, Colorado Avalanche, Arizona Coyotes, Vegas Golden Knights (twice), and the Edmonton Oilers.
The losses to the Avalanche, Coyotes, and Oilers really stand out because these are all teams that are not only in front of them, but they are closer to a Wild Card spot than they are. Had the team won their games against these clubs, things would look a lot better in terms of being close to a playoff position.
As of this writing, the team is nine points out of the second Wild Card spot and ten points out of the first Wild Card spot. Clearly, this is not a good time to be falling out of contention for a playoff spot in an unbelievably tight Western Conference, but that is exactly what is happening right now.
One of the main reasons why this team is falling out of playoff contention is that they simply cannot put the puck in the net with any kind of regularity. The team is currently 27th in the league in goals scored as they only have 184 goals in 69 games.
In terms of this team’s offense, they only have three guys that have over 30 points. Guys like Elias Pettersson (58 points), Bo Horvat (49 points), and Brock Boeser (47 points) have all played pretty well this season, but they clearly cannot carry this team into the playoffs by themselves.
If the Canucks want to be looked at as a potential playoff team again, guys like Loui Eriksson, Jake Virtanen, Markus Granlund, and other guys really need to start producing. These three all have a lot of offensive talent, but they definitely have not used their talent much this season.
The team has also struggled a bit defensively. As of this writing, the team is 20th in the league in goals allowed as they have given up 213 goals in 69 games, which is an average of about three goals allowed per game.
When your team is not scoring goals, you better be able to keep the puck out of your net. Right now, the Canucks are not doing that as they are not helping out their goaltenders much whether it’s being smart with the puck, not being able to get the puck out of the zone, not supporting their goaltenders in front of the net, or not being in good position to break up scoring opportunities.
Lastly, it appears that the team is not giving their best effort. The club has been outscored 14-6 in their last four games and had they played a different way, these tilts could have gone a lot differently.
It’s been a tough go of it for both the franchise and their fans for the last several seasons. Unfortunately, it looks like it will end up being another season in which they failed to make the playoffs.