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HSH’s Canucks Scouting Report (Pro-Con-Clusion #40): Garland putting up points as playoff hopes end

Harsunder breaks down the best and worst of the last 2 Canucks games as well as a concluding thought in his 40th feature of the Pro-Con-Clusion series

Seattle Kraken v Vancouver Canucks
Conor Garland #8 of the Vancouver Canucks skates up the ice past Yanni Gourde #37 of the Seattle Kraken during their NHL game against the Seattle Kraken at Rogers Arena April 26, 2022 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

Despite an epic run of 31-15-9 under Bruce Boudreau, the Canucks simply couldn’t manage to pull off the comeback as they were eliminated from playoff contention on Tuesday.

Even though the Canucks completed the season sweep against the Seattle Kraken, winning 5-2, the Dallas Stars defeating the Vegas Golden Knights was the final dagger into the Canucks’ slim playoff hopes.

Before the game against the Kraken, the Canucks saw the hole that they had dug for themselves at the start of the season get even deeper, as the Canucks lost 6-3 against the division-leading Calgary Flames on Saturday night, extending the team’s losing streak to 3 games before it was snapped against the Kraken.

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 at Rogers Arena for the final time this season as they host Alex Edler and the LA Kings on Thursday night.

Pro: Conor Garland turning up the heat

After a strong start to the season, Conor Garland was arguably one of the only Canucks who saw his play decline after Bruce Boudreau was hired in December.

However, currently riding a 3-game point streak, Garland has accumulated a total of 50 points this season, 45 of which have come at 5-on-5. That’s only 1 behind JT Miller for the team lead.

Against the Calgary Flames on Saturday, Garland registered a total of 5 shots on goal and rippled the mesh in the 3rd period for his 18th goal of the season.

On Tuesday against the Kraken, Garland continued his strong production, putting up 3 assists, including 1 on a JT Miller goal which also saw Quinn Hughes break Doug Lidster’s record of most points in a single season by a Canucks defenseman.

It is fair to say that when Garland has been at his best this season, he has been found money for the Canucks. At 26-years of age, the Massachusetts native certainly still has a lot of room to grow and become a more consistent offensive producer.

Con: No playoff hockey for the Canucks once again

While this isn’t necessarily something that was a con over the last 2 Canucks games, it is important to acknowledge how hard it is to have this team miss the playoffs yet again.

After being eliminated from playoff contention on Tuesday, the Canucks have now missed the playoffs in 6 of the last 7 seasons, something that had never previously happened in franchise history.

On top of that, the one time the Canucks even made the playoffs during this stretch was in 2019-20, a year in which the team got a break with the regular season ending early due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

If that season is taken out of the equation for a moment, the last time that the Canucks officially made the playoffs was way back in 2015, and while there is definitely some optimism as far as the future of this team is concerned, this drought is becoming very frustrating, both for the fans and especially the players.

Concluding Thought: Can the Canucks at least snap one drought on Thursday?

While the Canucks will have to wait another year before they get the chance to finally bring playoff hockey back to Vancouver, the team will have the chance to break one particular drought at the very least on Thursday night.

Should the Canucks even get at least a point against the Kings on Thursday, the team would hit the 90-point threshold for the first time since 2015, which was the last time they officially made the playoffs.

Considering that the team has not lost to the Kings in regulation since the 2017-18 season, it will be interesting to see if the Canucks can use this streak to their advantage and finally hit 90 points in a season for the first time in 7 years.