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Wake With Elias- Mar 23,2022: Running The Central Division Gauntlet

In a road swing that will essentially decide their playoff fate, the Canucks take on four of the Central Division’s top five teams over the next six days.

Vancouver Canucks v Colorado Avalanche Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images

I suppose if there’s some saving grace in what is without a doubt the toughest stretch of their remaining games this season, it’s that they won’t have to face the Colorado Avalanche again this season. Unless of course they do something stupid like beat them tonight and end up clawing their way back into a playoff spot and getting the Avs in the first round.

It’s an insanely tough road trip, and one that will literally determine if they can still battle on towards a potential first round exit, or a long shot at a lottery pick. They need to win at least one of the first two games: Colorado tonight and Minnesota tomorrow, as well as a split in Dallas and St Louis. More than four of a possible eight points will keep them close, anything less and that’s pretty much all she wrote without some kind of last minute win streak.

SCOREBOARD WATCHING

It was one of those good news, bad news kinda nights for the Canucks. The first bit of good news was Vegas getting shutout for the second time in 24 hours, as they lost 4-0. The bad news? It was to the Winnipeg Jets, who moved past Vancouver with the win.

The Oilers blew a 3-2 third period lead to lose 5-3 last night, which is great news. The bad news is it was a three goal outburst late in the third by the Dallas Stars that did them in, helping move the Stars into the Wild Card slot, and they are now five points ahead of the Canucks, which could make Saturday’s contest absolutely massive should the Canucks do well in Colorado and Minnesota.

There were a couple other Western Conference games that sort of matter, Nashville got stomped 6-1 by the Los Angeles Kings, and the San Jose Sharks scored twice in the third to beat Calgary 4-3.

Tonight, there’s just the Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks to keep an eye on as the Ducks try to catch up to Vancouver, currently sitting three points back. Tomorrow night will be interesting though, as we have the Stars on the road in Carolina, Winnipeg hosts Travis Hamonic and the Ottawa Senators, San Jose is in Edmonton to take on the Oilers, Vegas tries to weasel their way back into a playoff position as the Nashville Predators come to Sin City and Los Angeles hosts the Chicago Blackhawks.

In other news, Canucks prospect Linus Karlsson broke Elias Pettersson’s SHL rookie scoring record with two goals to give him 26 on the year, surpassing the mark of 24 set by Pettersson in 2017-18. While Pettersson was 18 and Karlsson is 22, this is still great news for a Canucks team needing some good prospect news as they head into a new era.