“Bruce there it is!” That is really all that needs to be said about the Canucks’ performance as of late.
Currently riding a 6-game winning streak and sitting just 4 points out of a playoff spot with a game in hand, the Canucks are on a roll and for the first time in many years, there is a considerable level of excitement in this city.
On Thursday night, the Canucks hosted the Arizona Coyotes for the third and final time this season, a team that happens to be at the very bottom of the NHL’s standings.
The Canucks took full advantage of their opportunities on this night, working their way to a 7-1 win to complete the season series sweep against the Yotes.
On Monday night, the Canucks had it much tougher than their previous contest, as they hosted the Dallas Stars in a crucial game that would have either significantly increased the team’s playoffs hopes, or crushed them completely depending on the outcome.
Fortunately for us Canucks fans, the Canucks continued their hot offensive production, rippling the mesh 6 times en route to an extremely important 6-2 win over the Stars, and that too without the services of their captain, Bo Horvat.
With that, let’s take a look at 1 pro and 1 con from the last two Canucks games, as well as a concluding thought before the team is right back at it in a duel with the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night.
Pro: The secondary scoring is coming through big time
When a team is against the ropes like the Canucks have been for a couple of weeks or so, they would often need the players at the bottom end of their lineup to step up their game in order to reel off wins on a nightly basis.
That is exactly what the bottom end players on the Canucks have been doing as of late, as the team has been getting production from these players on numerous occasions recently, particularly over the last 2 games against the Coyotes and the Stars.
On Thursday against Arizona, 5 of the team’s 7 goals came from players who aren’t necessarily relied on to be consistent offensive producers, at least as far as this season is concerned.
In total, the Canucks received 2 goals from Alex Chiasson and 2 goals from Vasily Podkolzin on this particular night, with recent Abbotsford call-up, Sheldon Dries, scoring his first goal with the Canucks on the powerplay, for what eventually ended up being the game winner in a 7-1 victory over the Desert Dogs.
On Monday against Dallas, with Alex Chiasson pulled out of the lineup right before the game due to what the team called a “non-Covid related illness”, the secondary scoring continued to be the driving force for the Canucks regardless.
Out of the 6 goals the Canucks scored against the Stars last night, two of the tallies came from players who aren’t anywhere near the top offensive producers on this team, with Jason Dickinson and Vasily Podkolzin each rippling the mesh and helping the team secure a 6-2 victory.
In addition to that, Dickinson and Podkolzin had 5 points between them on this night and the Canucks also received points from the likes of Sheldon Dries and Brad Hunt.
Hopefully, the Canucks can continue this trend of getting ample secondary scoring from their lineup while the top players also continue to put up points, as the team continues its astonishing quest for making the playoffs.
Con: The cold streak of Juho Lammiko
While it is hard to necessarily pick out a con when the team is on such a roll, one thing that the Canucks would definitely like to see is some more offensive production from Juho Lammiko.
While Lammiko is more of a defensive forward who does a pretty good job with the tasks he’s entrusted with and is not necessarily relied on to be an offensive force by any means, there is no doubt that the team would like him to hit the scoresheet from time to time, especially when you consider how much secondary scoring the Canucks have been generating as of late.
With 7 goals and a total of 15 points in 69 games this season, Lammiko isn’t exactly someone you would consider an offensive incompetent player either.
However, it is no secret that Lammiko has been struggling in the offensive zone over the last little stretch, as he has now gone 8 straight games without putting up a single point, and he also has a total of only 7 shots registered on goal over the last 12 games he’s played.
It is fair to say that too quite a considerable degree, Lammiko’s offense has taken a bit of a hit after Tyler Motte was traded at the deadline and when the run of the “Motto line” subsequently came to an end. However, with the recent return of Lammiko’s usual winger Matthew Highmore to the Canucks lineup, expect Lammiko to at least start getting some looks soon enough and maybe even ripple the mesh at some point shortly down the line.
Concluding thought: The Conor Garland point streak
After going on a bit of a cold stretch over the last little while, Conor Garland has really found the grove as of late, scoring 3 goals and 5 assists over the last few games in the midst of an ongoing 6 game point streak.
It is worth noting that during the first matchup between the Canucks and the Senators this season on December 1, Garland put up 2 assists and was the center of attention in the dying minutes of the game.
From what we’ve seen ever since the 26-year-old’s arrival to Vancity, Garland is often at his best when he’s got the opposing bench mad at him.
Indeed if whatever happened between Garland and the Senators last time carries over to this game tonight, it will be interesting to see if Garland can give the Senators a befitting reply by putting his name on the scoresheet again and extend his point streak to 7 games.