While this seemed unlikely just about a week ago, there is finally some excitement and optimism in this city regarding the Canucks.
Currently riding a 3 game winning streak and having won 5 of their 6 contests, the Canucks keep inching their way back towards the playoff race. As we all know, postseason hockey is something this city is starving for, with the Canucks making it to the final 16 only twice in the last 8 years.
Bruce Boudreau has been checking all the boxes so far as the Canucks have strung together 3 straight wins for the first time this season. The team would look to continue its winning ways and increase its winning streak to 4 games when the upstart Carolina Hurricanes come into town on Sunday.
With that, let’s take a look at 1 pro and 1 con from the last two Canucks victories, as well as a concluding thought before the team takes to the ice again to go up against one of the best teams in the league on Sunday night.
Pro: Hoglander comes out with a bang
In one of my most recent articles, I talked about how the Canucks needed their top offensive weapons to start producing again in order to get a winning streak going. One of the players who has really been struggling as of late is Nils Hoglander, as the 20-year-old hadn’t scored in 11 straight games. That is, until his phenomenal performance against the Jets on Friday night.
Early on in the 1st period, Hoglander made a nifty little move in the slot to bring the puck to the backhand before putting it top shelf on Eric Comrie. The goal was Hoglander’s 7th of the season and his first since November 14, a game the Canucks lost 5-1 to the Anaheim Ducks.
Following up his goal which opened the scoring, Hoglander put the icing on the cake after a flurry of good saves by Thatcher Demko to keep the Canucks in a tie game late in the 1st. After the 26-year-old goaltender consecutively robbed both Blake Wheeler and Kyle Connor point-blank on grade-A scoring chances, Bo Horvat turned things the other way and set up Hoglander for a chance from just outside the hash marks.
The young Swede made no mistake, letting go of a hard wrist shot that Comrie couldn’t handle, giving Hoglander his 2nd goal of the period. The 20-year-old was sniffing around the net for the rest of the game as well, and was able to create numerous scoring chances but was unfortunately not quite able to complete the Hat-trick
The Canucks would definitely like to see more of this type of production from Hoglander down the road as they continue their pursuit of a playoff spot. There is no doubt that the 20-year-old’s performance on Friday night should definitely boost his morale and get his confidence going.
Con: Lack of scoring from the captain
Bo Horvat has certainly been playing much better since the Bruce Boudreau hiring as opposed to how he was playing before.
The captain was able to score the shootout winner against the Bruins on Wednesday, and he followed that up by assisting on both of Hoglander’s goals against the Jets on Friday night.
That said, Horvat hasn’t scored in 8 games, and he only has 2 goals ever since the start of November, despite scoring 5 in the first month of the season.
Concluding thought: Will playing Carolina get Horvat going?
One of the biggest things for Horvat to look forward to as he looks to snap his goalless drought is the fact that the Hurricanes are coming in on Sunday night.
In his career, Horvat has 6 goals against Carolina in just 11 games, with 2 of those contests being multi-goal games. As a matter of fact, Horvat scored the game-winner in both of those games as well.
With the Hurricanes coming into Rogers Arena for the 1st time since late 2019, the stage is set for Horvat to get on the board and finally bump this slump.
What do you think Canucks fans? Would Horvat have another big game against Carolina? Will the Canucks beat one of the league’s hottest teams and extend their winning streak to 4 games? Let me know in the comments!