In a battle for their playoff lives, the Canucks did exactly what they needed to do last night, as they got a three point night out of Quinn Hughes, and Spencer Martin picked up his 2nd career win, stopping 30 of 32 Seattle Kraken shots en route to a 5-2 win at Rogers Arena last night. In the end, it didn’t matter, as the Dallas/Vegas showdown wasn’t settled in regulation time, and that officially eliminated the Canucks from the 2022 NHL playoffs.
We’re not shedding any tears here, though. You really couldn’t have asked for more than we got out of this team after December 5th, when the team fired GM Jim Benning, Head Coach Travis Green and some of their assistants. After a 4-1 loss to Pittsburgh on December 4th, the Canucks had a record of 8-15-2. Under Bruce Boudreau, they went on a 32-15-8 clip, and have a chance to add two more wins to that total Thursday against LA and Friday as they finish the season in Edmonton. Getting this close to the playoffs just simply wasn’t supposed to happen after a historically bad start, so the coaching staff and the players deserve full credit for refusing to surrender when it would have been easy to just play it out and look forward to next year.
Instead, we saw that there might be something to build on for the future, as they clawed their way out of the basement and up the Western Conference standings, and showing marked improvement in a number of areas along the way. Their five on five play was better, and the power play will finish in the top 10 for the year. After a historically bad start, the penalty kill showed steady improvement, and was no longer costing them games and wasting solid performances from Thatcher Demko.
When you don’t anticipate playoffs for a team, and then they do this, it’s truly hard to be upset. But if Patrik Allvin and his team can make smart choices this summer in terms of free agency and at the draft, making some deals to clear up much needed cap space, the Canucks could very well turn the corner and start being contenders again. It’s a big if, but we’re looking at next year far more optimistically than we were heading into this one.
So with last night’s results, that clinches a spot for the Los Angeles Kings, and it will come down to the Dallas Stars and Vegas Golden Knights for the last Wild Card slot in the West, while over in the East the outcome has been decided for a while, but seeding will still go down to the wire for some teams. We’ll have our Eastern and Western Conference playoff previews, as well as the return of Law And Order: SBN as we get playoff teams to argue their cases before the NM jury.
Wrapping up last night’s action:
The Nashville Predators lost in OT but still punched their ticket to the playoffs in a 5-4 loss to the Calgary Flames. The Preds lost Juuse Saros to an injury in this one, putting their playoff run in peril if he’s out for any length of time.
Jason Robertson’s second of the game tied it, and helped the Dallas Stars win 3-2 in the shootout over the Vegas Golden Knights. Dallas is four points ahead of Vegas, and if the Golden Knights fail to win both of their remaining two games, they will be eliminated, and then we will join the hockey world in laughing our asses off at them.
Jordan Binnington blew it again, as the St Louis Blues lost 5-3 to the Colorado Avalanche last night.
Two games to keep an eye on tonight as the Golden Knights are in Chicago to take on the Blackhawks, while Dallas hosts the Arizona Coyotes. Next up for the Canucks is a home/away back to back, with the Los Angeles Kings in town Thursday for the last home game of the season, before they wrap things up with a visit to Edmonton to take on the Oilers on Friday night.