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Wake With Elias: Reminiscing on meaningful Canucks games & the Eichel curse

It’s been a long time since the Canucks were truly in a playoff race this close.

Markus Naslund of the Vancouver Canucks talks.
It’s been 20 years since the Vancouver Canucks were truly in a playoff race that was this down to the wire, back when Markus Naslund led his squad on a late season tear.
Getty Images

Whether or not the Canucks pull off the comeback and make the playoffs, they’ve at least made things interesting.

With an impressive 6-2 win over the Dallas Stars last night, the Canucks have now pulled within four points of the Los Angeles Kings for third in the Pacific Division.

Courtesy of NHL.com

The odds are still long but the Canucks have certainly made things interesting.

That got me thinking...when was the last time the Canucks played in regular season games with this much on the line?

When the Canucks last made the playoffs during a full 82-game season back in 2014-15, they did so finishing second in the division, clearing the playoff bar by six points.

Vancouver also made the playoffs in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, winning the division with 59 points. Even though they won the division, they actually only cleared the playoff bar by four points.

Still, the Canucks had breathing room in both those seasons. And, for the seven other times where they made the postseason between 2003 and 2012, they cleared the playoff bar with lots of room to spare.

We have to go back 20 years, all the way to the 2001-02 season, to find the time where the Canucks actually played in regular season games this meaningful.

In the spring of 2002, the Canucks went on a 13-2-1-0 run to end the regular season. That stellar end-of-season push put them in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, just two points ahead of the Edmonton Oilers.

The Oilers were on a roll to end the season as well, picking up 14 points (6-2-1-1) in their final 10 games. Thankfully for the Canucks, their strong finish and league-leading offence that year gave them just enough juice to squeak in.

So whether the 2021-22 Canucks can follow in the same footsteps or not, it’s worth noting that two decades have gone by since Vancouver’s regular season games had this much meaning.

Canucks News

  • Jimmi reflects how we’re all feeling right now with his recap of the Canucks drubbing of Dallas. [Nucks Misconduct]
  • Jason Dickinson reflects on his “garbage” season. [Sportsnet]
  • Conor Garland, who’s turned his game around with a couple of goals recently, talks about the task at hand with six games to go. [TSN]
  • Does the Toronto Sports Network think the Canucks can beat the odds? [TSN]
  • What should the Canucks expect from newly-signed Arshdeep Bains? [Daily Hive]
  • The Abbotsford Canucks have also won six straight of their own. The last victory was thanks to Michael DiPietro stopping 36 of 37 shots in a 3-1 win. [Abbotsford News]

Around the NHL

That really makes you think...is the Jack Eichel curse real?

I mean, this statistic is truly unbelievable.

Now please, don’t look up how many playoff games 2013 draft pick Bo Horvat has played...

  • Frederik Andersen, who’s been one of the best goalies in the NHL this season for Carolina, is out with an injury for at least one week. [TSN]

Carolina is just two points up on the New York Rangers for first in the Metropolitan Division, although they’ve played one more game.

  • Here’s a look at NHL arenas ranked by capacity. [The Hockey News]
  • Macklemore and Marshawn Lynch just became minority owners of the Seattle Kraken. [NHL]
  • Here’s a look at the top 30 free agents heading into the 2022 offseason [Yahoo Sports]
  • Two outside games on the schedule tonight have playoff implications for the Canucks. The Calgary Flames visit the Nashville Predators (91 points) on the road tonight at 5:00 pm. The Los Angeles Kings (90 points) also visit the Anaheim Ducks.