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HSH’s Canucks Scouting Report (Pro-Con-Clusion #37): Quinn Hughes is wonderful

Harsunder breaks down the best and worst of the last 2 Canucks games as well as a concluding thought in his 37th feature of the Pro-Con-Clusion series

Vegas Golden Knights v Vancouver Canucks
Quinn Hughes #43 of the Vancouver Canucks is congratulated by teammate Bo Horvat #53 after scoring during their NHL game against the Vegas Golden Knights at Rogers Arena April 12, 2022 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

This is something that perhaps nobody would have expected after the 8-15-2 start the Canucks had under Travis Green, but the team is right on the edge of the playoff race with 8 games to go.

74 games have been completed for this season and the Canucks are currently sitting at 82 points, a feat the team hasn’t actually accomplished ever since they made the playoffs back in 2015 (they were on pace for 92 points in 2019-20).

After losing 3 games in a row a week ago, everyone knew that the Canucks were in a do-or-die situation, and any hope of making the playoffs required the team to embark on a big winning streak.

That is exactly what the Canucks did, as after they went 2-0 on their short road trip a few days ago, the Canucks extended their winning streak to 4 games with a 4-2 win against the Sharks on Saturday and a 5-4 overtime win against the Golden Knights on Tuesday.

While the asterisk involved is that the teams the Canucks are chasing all won last night too, it is obviously great that the Canucks kept their momentum going with a very important victory over Vegas, and with over 2 weeks still remaining in the season, really anything is possible.

With that, let’s take a look at 1 pro and 1 con, as well as a concluding thought before the Canucks take to the ice against the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday in hopes of extending their winning streak to 5 games.

Pro: The wonderful play of Quinn Hughes

The Canucks were in tough on the 2-game road trip they were on a few days ago as they were without the service of Quinn Hughes for both those contests.

However, ever since returning to the lineup against the Sharks on Saturday, the 22-year-old has been nothing short of impressive.

Playing for over 25 minutes on Saturday, Hughes finished the night with 2 shots on goal and an even plus-minus rating as he suited up for his 67th game of the season.

On Tuesday night against the Golden Knights though, the Florida native was involved in the play all over the ice.

When all was said and done, Hughes finished the game with 2 points which included the game-winning goal in overtime and finished with a total of 4 shot blocks as he helped the Canucks secure one of their most significant wins of the season.

While Hughes did have a rating of -2 in this game, his 2 points on the night gave him 55 for the season, which set a new career-high as he topped the 53 points he put up in the 2019-20 season in the same number of games.

Con: JT Miller’s rocky play in the defensive zone

While JT Miller is one of the team’s best offensive weapons and his scoring ability is something that should definitely be appreciated, he has certainly gone cold as of late and that has drawn more attention to his play in the defensive zone.

Making dangerous passes and often failing to clear the puck out has been a common theme of JT Miller’s defensive play without a doubt.

However, in one of the most important games of the season, Miller’s lack of defensive efforts against Vegas is simply unforgivable, despite the fact the Canucks won.

Against the Golden Knights on Tuesday, there were numerous occasions where Miller either failed to get the puck out or turned it over in dangerous areas in the Canucks zone. Had it not been for Thatcher Demko’s phenomenal efforts in turning aside 41 shots last night and constantly bailing out the Ohio product, Miller’s casual defensive play may have even changed the outcome of the game altogether.

As far as offensive production is concerned, the 29-year-old has now failed to score in the last 4 games, although he does have 4 assists in that span.

With that said, we all know that Miller is a very passionate individual who always strives to be a better player, and with the team currently sitting just a few points out of a playoff spot, you can bet Miller would look to come out with a bang on Thursday and continue to build on his productive season, while hopefully also taking care of things in the defensive zone.

Vegas Golden Knights v Vancouver Canucks
Bo Horvat #53 of the Vancouver Canucks celebrates after scoring during their NHL game against the Vegas Golden Knights at Rogers Arena April 12, 2022 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

Concluding thought: The captain’s point streak

Going into Thursday night, Bo Horvat is currently sitting on a 5-game point streak which includes 4 goals and 3 assists for 7 points.

The leading goal scorer of the Canucks this season, Horvat has been pretty good against the Arizona Coyotes in his career and especially this season, scoring 3 goals and putting up 2 assists for 5 points in a couple of games against the desert dogs this year.

It will be interesting to see if Horvat can continue his strong play against the Coyotes on Thursday night and extend his point streak to 6 games, while also helping extend his team’s winning streak to 5 games as the push for the playoffs continues.