It was certainly fun while it lasted!
Although all hope is still not lost, the past couple of setbacks that the Canucks received at the hands of the Ottawa Senators and the Minnesota Wild have all but officially ended Vancouver’s playoff hopes.
After just getting 1 out of a possible 4 points in their last two games, the Canucks currently find themselves sitting 4 points out of a playoff spot with the same number of games left in the 2020-2021 season.
As such, after suffering a 4-3 defeat in a shootout to the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night, followed by a 6-3 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Thursday, the chances of the Canucks bringing postseason hockey back to Vancouver for the first time since 2015 have become significantly minuscule.
Nonetheless, there is still a chance and this team won’t give up on the ounce of hope they have remaining until they are officially eliminated from a playoff spot, but, it goes without saying that the team is certainly hanging by a thread at this stage of the season.
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 again with their season on the line against the division-winning Calgary Flames on Saturday night.
Pro: Boeser making an impact in return to the lineup
Going into this offseason with numerous questions regarding what initiatives Jimmy Rutherford and Patrik Allvin would take to improve this team’s roster, one player who has been rumored as a piece the Canucks may likely dangle on the trade block this summer is Brock Boeser.
After finishing as the team’s leading goal scorer last year with 49 points in 56 games, the 25-year-old has certainly underachieved this year, scoring just 21 goals and 44 points in 67 games so far.
However, ever since returning to the lineup against the Dallas Stars on Monday, the Minnesota native appears to have finally found his groove, scoring 6 points in 3 games since that time.
Against Ottawa on Tuesday, Boeser finished the game with a total of 4 shots on goal, and put up a goal and an assist for his 10th multipoint game of the season.
After that, playing in his home state on Thursday, Boeser put up an assist to extend his point streak to 3 games, and also had 2 hits and 1 shot block, in a game that eventually ended up being a 6-3 loss for Vancity.
Regardless of the eventual outcome, Boeser has been quite impressive at least from an offensive standpoint ever since returning to the lineup, and should the 25-year-old keep this pace up for the final week of the regular season, you can bet the Canucks would be forced to debate long and hard before making any decision that involves trading Boeser away this summer.
Con: The defensive issues of Tyler Myers
If it had to be pointed out exactly which factor may have resulted in the Canucks dropping their last 2 games, it is safe to say that a very significant one has been the recent defensive inconsistencies of Tyler Myers.
After finishing with a plus-minus rating of -1 in the 4-3 shootout loss to the Senators on Tuesday night, the game against the Wild was a complete disaster for the 6”8 defenseman.
Finishing with a plus-minus rating of -3 in this particular contest, Myers found himself out of position on all three of Minnesota’s goals in the second period, as the Canucks continuously struggled to shift the momentum in their favor.
To be fair, Myers was a little shaken up during the play when Minnesota scored their second goal and he wasn’t in a position to do much of anything defensively as a result.
However, for a player that makes $6 million against the cap and is relied on to be a shutdown defenseman for this team (unfortunately), Myers has to improve his play down the stretch if the Canucks have any hopes of going on a cinderella run and somehow managing to make the playoffs.
Although given how things have been going with the out-of-town scoreboards over the past couple of weeks, I wouldn’t count on that happening too much but I’d absolutely love to be proven wrong in this case!
Concluding thought: The Calgary game will either completely break or potentially make Vancouver’s season
Going into Calgary for what should be an extremely tough test going up against the Pacific Division champions, the Vancouver Canucks certainly have their work cut out for them.
However, with that said, Calgary will likely be inclined to save energy for the playoffs at this point, and given that beating a tough team can certainly go a long way towards boosting the players’ morale, Saturday night’s game would certainly be a really interesting one to watch for Canucks fans.
While there is no doubt that the Canucks would need significant help on the out-of-town scoreboards to achieve the feat of making the playoffs, they would need to go 4 and 0 themselves if they have any small hope of this happening, and beating a team as good as the Flames is certainly a decent start.
It will be interesting to see if the Canucks can overcome the odds on Saturday night and beat the Calgary Flames in hopes of starting another winning streak in a last-ditch effort for making the postseason this year.