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11 Canucks Thoughts: Old Takes Exposed & why Rangers and Canucks are (almost) the same team

But, before that, let’s revel in that victory over the Flames, just a little bit.

2022 NHL All-Star Skills
Thatcher Demko #35 of the Vancouver Canucks and Chris Kreider #20 of the New York Rangers wait in the hallway before warm-up for the 2022 NHL All-Star Skills as part of the 2022 NHL All-Star Weekend on February 04, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images

Did that just happen?

When the Calgary Flames rolled into town on Thursday night on a 10-game winning streak, you couldn’t have felt great about the Vancouver Canucks chances of winning.

That was the case until you saw the Canucks hit the ice in these sick jerseys.

Regardless, that 7-1 trouncing of the Flames was a joy to watch, and one of the best moments in what otherwise has been an underwhelming season.

By the way, this stat is fantastic.

Here are seven thoughts as the Canucks, for at least one night, wowed fans with an offensive explosion against a trio of former teammates.

1. Hopping in the time machine, part 1

The last time Vancouver beat Calgary by six goals was back on opening night in October, 2008.

If you recall, that was the night where Alex Burrows scored a pair of goals in his first game since the passing of his friend and former Canuck, Luc Bourdon.

Another late Canuck made the highlight reel that night, as Rick Rypien scored this beauty on a shorthanded breakaway.

2. Hopping in the time machine, part deux

While we’re on the topic of the Canucks extinguishing the Flames, the largest victory over their division rivals was an 11-0 win back on March 1st, 1992.

Sergio Momesso led the way with four points for the Canucks that night. Kirk McLean has 30 saves in the shutout.

Speaking of which...

3. Hopping in the time machine, part III

If not for our spoiled HD life, you wouldn’t have been blamed for thinking this was actually Kirk McLean.

Apparently, the McLean tribute kit had Demko feeling like, well, Captain Kirk himself.

4. Old takes exposed

Lol.

Look, Markstrom is having a fantastic season, but questioning why the Canucks “gave up” on the former netminder is pretty ignorant.

5. Now, time to expose my old takes...

Without digging up the old clips or write-ups here on NM, I’ve been a hater of The Flying Skate.

Okay, hater might be a bit strong, but I’ve always found the love for these jerseys in this market to be a bit excessive.

They weren’t overly popular at the time, and I still believe that the blue and green colour scheme represents our city and our province better than the black, red and yellow kits.

Now, I’m ready to change my take.

After watching the Canucks absolutely obliterate the Flames in these jerseys, my feeling towards them is starting to change.

Winning is a powerful thing.

To reiterate, I’m all for bringing them back as a permanent third jersey, I’m just not on team “replace the blue and green.”

Poll

What should the Canucks do with the Flying Skate jerseys?

This poll is closed

  • 29%
    Surprise us with them once in a while
    (25 votes)
  • 45%
    Bring them back as a permanent alternate
    (38 votes)
  • 19%
    Replace the blue and green orca
    (16 votes)
  • 5%
    Other?
    (5 votes)
84 votes total Vote Now

6. Bending but not breaking

Last night at even-strength, before the Canucks bust things open, was slanted in Calgary’s favour.

Earlier in the contest, you could see why the Flames line of Johnny Gaudreau, Elias Lindholm and Matthew Tkachuk is currently the best forward unit in hockey.

They were buzzing in the offensive zone (70.3% expected goals differential). The Canucks checking line of Tyler Motte, Juho Lammikko and Matthew Highmore struggled to contain them (or any of the Flames lines) most of the night.

The trio certainly did bend (14.3% Corsi-for, zero scoring chances for, 10 against) but they were never on the ice for a goal against.

7. Rangers and Canucks are the same team

With Vancouver’s next contest coming up on Sunday against New York, I want make a few points on why the Rangers and Canucks are actually the same team.

Wait, what?

Currently, the Rangers have 71 points which is good for fifth overall in the NHL.

The Canucks and their 56 points rank 19th overall.

Beyond the point totals and their place in the standings though, there are a few reasons why these two teams are eerily similar.

8. Both offences are top-heavy

For as much love as the Canucks checking line gets, both franchises would desperately like to improve their forward depth.

The Rangers offence is carried by four forwards (Panarin, Strome, Zibanejad, Kreider). The Canucks are carried by five (Miller, Pettersson, Boeser, Horvat, Garland).

In New York, the four top forwards have scored 50.3% of the team’s 155 goals. For Vancouver, their top five players have registered 55.7% of goals among all Canucks.

Further down the roster, the stories are similar.

Both teams have young players who they like (Lafreniere, Podkolzin), and some that they’d probably like some more out of (Kakko, Chytil, Hoglander).

New York even has their own version of Tyler Motte in Barclay Goodrow.

Beyond that, there’s not much to be excited about on either team — as much as Boudreau loves his fourth line right now.

You can see why New York is desperate to snag a top-six forward, and why the Canucks might not be willing to give one up.

There’s also a hypothetical scenario where this Rangers/Canucks comparsion up front makes even more sense.

If Boeser, Pettersson and Horvat hadn’t suffered from below average production to date, Canucks overall would be closer to the Rangers in the standings.

Let’s just say, for example, that Pettersson was near point-per-game territory, Boeser had better puck luck, and Horvat was closer to his three year average of 0.73 point-per-game (he’s at 0.6 this year).

That would probably give the Canucks another 15 goals, pushing their -2 goal differential to +13.

The Rangers, on the season are at +27.

While they’re still better than the Canucks, better production from Vancouver stars would make these squads even closer comparables.

9. Fox and Hughes prop up brutal defences

Although reigning Norris Trophy winner Adam Fox is on another level, both defenders are in similar situations.

Fox and Quinn Hughes are sublimely skilled, smaller, puck-moving defencemen.

Beyond their contributions though, the rest of the bluelines behind them aren’t very good.

Jacob Trouba and Oliver Ekman-Larsson both profile as serviceable but overpaid shutdown defenders on their teams. The bluelines are very different beyond that, but the results are similar.

The Rangers defence is littered with young guys. Based on their last game, that includes K’Andre Miller, Ryan Lindgren, Zac Jones and Braden Schneider.

There’s a ton of promise there but currently, that group has contributed to a bottom-10 defence overall.

At even-strength, the Rangers have allowed the second-most scoring chances and rank bottom-10 in Corsi-against, shots-against and expected goals against.

The Canucks defence is veteran-laden instead of young, but overall, both are underwhelming units propped up by youngsters Fox and Hughes.

10. Shesterkin and Demko are the real MVP’s

Igor Shesterkin has easily been the best goalie in the NHL this season.

While Thatcher Demko is a tier below, both have been of equal value to their respective squads.

Among regular goaltenders, Demko’s .919 save percentage ranks 16th overall in the NHL. However at even-strength, Demko’s .939 SV% is third to only Ville Husso in St. Louis (.940) and of course, Shesterkin (.942).

11. Special teams is the main difference between Rangers and Canucks

At even-strength, the Canucks have actually been better than the Rangers.

The main difference between these squads (aside from the stocked Rangers pipeline) has been their play on special teams.

Although the Canucks power play has climbed the rankings (currently 14th overall at 20.5%), the Rangers have the fourth-best man advantage unit at 26.5%.

Hmm...bad even-strength play, an hot goaltender and an amazing power play...maybe the Rangers are actually the 2019-20 Canucks?

Shorthanded, the Canucks still rank dead last in the NHL with a 70.1% penalty kill. The 46 goals they’ve allowed is nearly double the 24 Rangers that the Rangers have surrended shorthanded.

On the season, New York has the seventh-best penalty kill in the NHL at 83.7%.