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HSH’s Canucks Scouting Report (Pro-Con-Clusion #23): Luke Schenn impresses while the powerplay does not

Harsunder breaks down the best and worst of the last 2 Canucks games as well as a concluding thought in his 23rd feature of the Pro-Con-Clusion series.

Vancouver Canucks v Winnipeg Jets
Luke Schenn #2 of the Vancouver Canucks keeps an eye on the play during second period action against the Winnipeg Jets at Canada Life Centre on January 27, 2022 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images

With 46 games in the books and with the league heading into the All-Star break, the Canucks find themselves sitting with 46 points in the standings which puts them exactly at .500.

Despite going through decent success since the arrival of Bruce Boudreau which includes a 12-5-4 record, the hole that the Canucks dug themselves into in the first quarter of the season is just too big, and coming out of it seems very unlikely.

As far as the team’s last 2 games are concerned, the Canucks displayed a valiant effort against the struggling Blackhawks on Monday, knocking off Chicago 3-1 in the United Center.

However, on the second half of a back-to-back, the Canucks simply ran out of gas in the music city, as they dropped the game 4-2 to the Nashville Predators.

With a brief recap completed, let’s take a look at 1 pro and 1 con over the last 2 Canucks games, as well as a concluding thought before the Canucks return to the ice to take on Loui Eriksson and the Arizona Coyotes in just under a week.

Vancouver Canucks v Chicago Blackhawks
Luke Schenn #2 of the Vancouver Canucks approaches the puck ahead of Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawksin the second period at United Center on January 31, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois.
Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images

Pro: The heroic efforts of Luke Schenn

If there is one positive that stood out in both of the previous Canucks games, it was the superb play of Luke Schenn.

While there is no doubt that playing with Quinn Hughes has certainly been a huge help as of late, the 32-year-old has consistently really been able to hold his own throughout this season.

On Monday against the Blackhawks, the Saskatchewan native scored into an empty net for his second tally in the season and the first goal scored by a defenseman in the Boudreau tenure. However, Schenn’s effort against Chicago goes far beyond his empty-net goal.

In total, luke Schenn capped off the night with a whopping 12 hits, as well as 2 shot blocks in 21 minutes of ice time. In addition to that, Schenn also managed to register 3 shots on goal and finished the game with a rating of +1.

On Tuesday against the Preds, the Saskatchewan native displayed yet another strong performance. He finished the game with 7 hits as well as 2 shots on goal in 17:28 of ice time in a game he finished with an even rating.

For a player who has also been in numerous trade rumors as of late, the recent performances of Luke Schenn are a welcome sign for the Vancouver Canucks, regardless of if they intend to keep him, or if they would prefer to move him by the trade deadline on March 21.

Con: The powerplay is letting the team down once again

If there has been a common theme that has been a thorn at the Canucks’ side over the last 3 games, in particular, it has been their lack of capitalization with the man advantage.

In this road trip as a whole, the Canucks failed to score on nine straight man advantages after going 2 for 2 on the powerplay against the Jets on Thursday.

There is absolutely no denying the fact that timely powerplays gave the Canucks a chance to win both of the games they ended up losing on this road trip. However, due to a lack of results with the man advantage, the team couldn’t capitalize on these opportunities and as a result, ended up losing 3 points as it pertains to this road trip specifically.

One thing the Canucks need to work on that even John Shorthouse emphasized on the last broadcast, is to have Quinn Hughes put nice little writers on goal from the point. This gives the powerplay unit an opportunity to either get a deflection or two in order to ripple the mesh or alternatively, crash the net in hopes of collecting a rebound and scoring the greasy goals.

Whatever strategy needs to be applied, the Canucks need to prioritize fixing their powerplay and ensure it starts getting sufficient results, especially if they have any small hope of going on a run and somehow being able to get back into the playoff picture this season.

Arizona Coyotes v Pittsburgh Penguins
John Marino #6 of the Pittsburgh Penguins checks Loui Eriksson #21 of the Arizona Coyotes at PPG PAINTS Arena on January 25, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Photo by Justin K. Aller/NHLI via Getty Images

Concluding thought: The return of Loui Eriksson is upon us

While the Canucks next game would be crucial for gaining some momentum in hopes of embarking on a winning streak, one thing that fans would be focusing on the most is that the team’s next contest is against the Arizona Coyotes. Meaning, we will finally get to see the return of Loui Eriksson to Rogers Arena.

In addition to that, while Jay Beagle wouldn’t be taking to the ice as he has been deemed out for the remainder of the season with an injury, Eriksson will be accompanied by 2 other former Canucks in Antoinne Roussel and Travis Boyd when they take to the ice on Tuesday.

Considering that the Arizona game is the first of a back-to-back, which goalie do the Canucks start between the pipes? Do they shoot for a sure win by giving Thatcher Demko the start, do they allow Jaroslav Halak to play his 10th game with the team and earn his bonus, or do they call up Spencer Martin for another look?

All of these factors would be very important and interesting to monitor once the Canucks return from the All-Star break and play the Arizona Coyotes in Rogers Arena on Tuesday night.