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THE ROUNDUP- Nov 1/18: Calling #Shotgun, 1st Place, And More

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#ShotgunJake has a big night, the Canucks retake the lead, and we may have to discuss how we were all wrong (maybe)...

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at Vancouver Canucks Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

CANUCKS NEWS: The Vancouver Canucks might not be who we think they are. Now, before you all get sanctimonious and start finger wagging, we’ll point out that it’s a mere 14 games into the season. We’re not even to the 14 mark. There’s still a ton of time for this to all go sideways, and with the injuries that they’ve had to endure so far, that chance is very real. But no matter what you predicted, you have to be pretty pleased with how the Canucks came out of October. You should keep this in mind as we head into November though...

With the aforementioned injuries, a lengthy Eastern road swing and some tough competition in the first month of the season, for them to come out above the .500 mark is truly impressive, and credit needs to be given to Travis Green and his staff for getting the most out of this lineup. That being said, I would caution you about making plans in April for some kind of playoff appearance. November’s 14 games feature 9 on the road, including 2 back to backs, and a bunch of divisional games in there. They’ll play Boston, Minnesota, San Jose, Winnipeg, Buffalo, Montreal and Colorado this month: playoff teams all. If it goes well, there’s a good opportunity for the Canucks to actually stay competitive. They’ll get Alexander Edler, Brandon Sutter and Jay Beagle back after it’s all done, and Chris Tanev should return to the lineup at some point in November.

Last night was a great reminder about why giving up on players who don’t come out of the box as stars isn’t always a wise choice. Jake Virtanen has been looked at as a bit of a failure by some in this market, not living up to his potential, especially when one considers where he was taken in the draft. Last night, Jake showed that while it may not be a fast process, he is developing into the player we thought we were getting. 2 goals, both highlight reel snipe shows no less, strong 2 way play and great examples of his physical play. He still needs to bring this to the rink every night, but this season he’s been ‘on’ far more often than not, and is currently on pace for around 28 goals this season. Go back to September. If you were told this was a possibility, how excited would you have been? He’s a growing part of this team’s eventual return to relevance.

Another great game from Jacob Markstrom last night, holding the fort down after giving up the first goal of the game, and allowing his team to come back. Both goalies have done a much better job this season in this regard, and it’s another key component of why the Canucks lead the division right now.

Elias Pettersson had himself the kind of game that’s making him a legend in this market. When was the last time the Canucks had a player who you talked about in a positive way when he didn’t end up on the scoresheet? It’s because he goes out and makes things happen every time he’s on the ice. He reads the game like a seasoned vet, making smart defensive plays in his own end, even playing physically when needed in order to make the right play. He’s fearless, and he makes those detractors who question his size look more and more foolish with each passing game. This Eastern road swing coming up will be a great showcase for those journos who still haven’t realized that the Canucks are becoming a team worth staying up late for.

Another great thing last night was the performance of Brendan Gaunce. Some had him penciled in to start the year in Vancouver, but he didn’t show enough at camp to warrant keeping him up. For some young players, this kind of setback could be something they don’t recover from, but Gaunce went to Utica, worked his ass off and was rewarded with the callup after the Sutter injury, and notched the GWG and assisted on the insurance marker from Antoine Roussel. Also, stick taps to MDZ and Alex Biega. Strong physical play from that pairing made for a miserable night for Chicago forwards. Biega likely won’t be around when Edler and Tanev return, but that was one of his better games of late.

While Travis Green said that Troy Stecher was okay after a collision with Brandon Manning, we’ll wait til we actually see him on the ice Friday, given the way injuries affect this team. It would be hardly a shock if another defenceman went down to injury at this point...

Here’s your morning reading... The Athletties includes a great breakdown of Pettersson’s night... The Province on the legend of #ShotgunJake... More post-game wrap from the Province here... JPat with 5 Thoughts on last night’s game...