With 54 games completed in the 2021-22 NHL season, the Canucks find themselves in the midst of a hot streak that has managed to put them right in the midst of the playoff conversation.
After winning 5 of their last 6 games, the Canucks have worked their way to a position where they are just 3 points behind Dallas for the last Wild Card spot and 4 points behind Vegas for 3rd place in the Pacific Division.
The Canucks essentially did everything right and checked all the boxes in their last 2 games, beating Calgary 7-1 to end their 10 game winning streak on Thursday, and defeating the New York Rangers 5-2 on Sunday.
With their most recent win, the Canucks finished the season sweep against the Blueshirts and worked their way to 4 games above .500 in the season.
With that, let’s take a look at 1 pro and 1 con, as well as concluding thought before the Canucks hit the ice in New Jersey for the second half of a back-to-back.
Pro: Offense firing on all cylinders
For a team that is below average defensively and often finds itself relying on its netminder for wins, it was imperative that the Canucks begin producing more offensively in order to relieve some pressure off of Thatcher Demko.
That is exactly what the Canucks did in their last 2 games, scoring 12 goals and only allowing 3 in the process. They have managed to score in a variety of different ways, with 6 of their last 12 goals coming at even-strength.
Against the Flames on Thursday, the Canucks got 2 goals each from Pettersson, Horvat, and Miller, with Garland tacking on another tally to secure a 7-1 win against a flaming-hot Calgary team.
The game against the Rangers on Sunday was somewhat of a different story, as the Canucks got goals from 5 different players. Pettersson was the only player to score in both games as the Canucks secured a 5-2 win in the Big Apple to extend their winning streak to 3 games.
In addition to that, the Canucks scored 4 powerplay goals in their last couple of games while also killing off every shorthanded opportunity. The team has now killed off 10 straight penalties and has scored 5 powerplay goals in the last 3 games, so special teams are also clicking for the Canucks at the most opportune time.
Con: It has now been 2 months since Nils Hoglander scored
This particular stat pretty much sums up the whole story, the last time Nils Hoglander scored was on January 1st against the Seattle Kraken. The sophomore has only managed to ripple the mesh 3 times since Bruce Boudreau took over.
In over 15 minutes of ice time against the Flames, the 21-year-old was largely unnoticeable and finished with a -1 rating despite the Canucks winning the game 7-1.
On Sunday against the Rangers, Hoglander had no shots on goal and was once again relatively ineffective on the ice for his team.
Boudreau did mention recently that he believes scoring opportunities will begin turning into goals for Hoglander soon. However, it’s hard to ignore that the youngster has only 3 goals in his last 36 games, with only 2 of the tallies coming at even-strength.
Concluding Thought: The 3rd installment of the Hughes bros showdown
The Canucks vs. Devils game on Sunday will mark just the 3rd time the Hughes brothers will faceoff against each other, with Jack Hughes getting the win in the previous two contests. Will Sunday finally be the first time Quinn ousts his brother’s team and increases the Canucks’ winning streak to 4 games?
Also, another interesting thing to monitor is the team’s goalie situation for Sunday’s game in New Jersey.
Do the Canucks roll with the red-hot Thatcher Demko on a back-to-back, or do they start the struggling Jaroslav Halak between the pipes and allow him to hit his bonus?