Canucks Can’t Relax With the Current Hot Streak

Since Travis Green was fired as head coach and Bruce Boudreau was hired, the Vancouver Canucks have experienced a dramatic turnaround. They are 8-0-1 since the coaching switchThey are now within four points of the playoff spot. With all of that going for them, the Canucks can’t get complacent with their current hot streak.

There’s a famous saying, “When it rains, it pours,” and that’s certainly been the case over the last calendar month. With a 5-2 win against the Seattle Kraken their eighth win in nine games, the Canucks are close to a wildcard spot. If they are to be in contention for that April spot, they must keep going. For them to have this happen, they need their core players to continue to lead, recognize other teams’ slumps and be able to win games when they matter more in order for them to have success over the second half of the regular season.

Canucks’ Core Players Need to Continue to Lead

Star players often lead the best teams in the league. Although depth is essential, role players also play important roles down the stretch. However, the majority of the time, the team will be successful if its core players stay focused. The Canucks must have their core players leading as the season progresses.

Bo Horvat, Vancouver Canucks (Amy Irvin/ The Hockey Writers

Some players have been outstanding all season, particularly in the beginning. J.T. Miller has been the Canucks’ leader in scoring since Day 1, scoring 36 points through his 34 games. He also scored 13 points during their nine-game point streak. What’s also amazing is Miller has gotten a point in all nine games since Boudreau took over as the head coach. Quinn Hughes, who has 28 points through 33 games, continues to dominate the back end. Young defenders are still largely unknown.

There are also players who struggled in the beginning but have improved since the coaching changes. Captain Bo Horvat is one such player, with seven points through his nine last games. He had only scored 13 goals in the first 26. Brock Boeser scored just four goals through his first 22 games. But, he now has five goals and seven points in six of his last six games.

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Thatcher Demko is the one who has achieved this goal. sensational since Boudreau arrived. He has won all seven games he’s started, posting a save percentage (SV%) of .957 and a goals-against average (GAA) of 1.43. The 26-year-old California native now has a .920 SV% and a 2.55 GAA on the season, and if this play continues over the second half of the season, don’t be surprised to hear the term “Vezina Candidate” being thrown around.

If these guys continue to lead this team on and off the ice, don’t expect this run to stop anytime soon.

Canucks are outstripping other teams

Great teams know when there’s blood in the water. It allows teams to slip up and gain ground on the teams ahead, allowing them to pass them in their standings. Canucks must recognize teams that are slumping ahead of them, and seize those opportunities.

The Canucks are currently four points away from a wild-card spot and there are other teams that could be in close proximity. The Edmonton Oilers are in a rut lately, going just 2-8-2 in their last 12 games and falling to sixth place in the division. The Calgary Flames are also struggling, with a record of 3-6-1 in their last 10 games and three consecutive losses. The Anaheim Ducks are just 4-4-2 in their last 10 contests, and the San Jose Sharks haven’t fared much better, going 5-5 over their last 10.

It’s not often there are this many teams in one division who open leave the door for teams trailing them to gain some ground back, but in this instance, it’s happening for the Canucks.

Playing well when under pressure

It’s easy to perform well when there isn’t any pressure. The Canucks held a record 8-15-2 at one point and were in the basement division of the Pacific Division. While they’re currently still seventh, they’re just five points out of third and four points out of a playoff spot. As it gets later into the season, the games will start to matter more, so it’ll be instrumental for the Canucks to continue playing well under pressure.

Vancouver Canucks Bench-Canucks Can't Get Complacent With Current Hot Streak
Vancouver Canucks bench celebrate (Amy Irvin/ The Hockey Writers

These situations have been faced by most of the players in this team. Nine players from the team reached the second round against Vegas Golden Knights, dating back to the 2019-20 season. However, for many of them, that run was the first taste of playoff hockey — 10 players played their very first playoff game, including Elias Pettersson, Hughes and Boeser. If that run was any indication as to how this team will be come pressure situations, it’s a good sign for the Canucks.

The Canucks played four to five more games than the other teams in the standings at one point during the season. However, the Canucks have not caught up points-wise due to the postponement games in Canada. They must keep their foot on their gas pedal and play strong if they are to reach the playoffs.