The Vancouver Canucks are back on skates for practice on Friday after a day off Thursday and with a game coming up Saturday night at Rogers Arena against the Minnesota Wild. It continues a bit of an odd pre-holiday stretch where Vancouver plays just four games during a fourteen day period.
After hosting Minnesota, the Canucks are off three more days before visiting the Calgary Flames, then off two more before hosting the Winnipeg Jets, then off a day before welcoming in the St. Louis Blues on Monday the 19th. At that point they’re off for two days before beginning a very busy stretch before and after Christmas and New Years.
Every NHL team is off December 24th through the 26th.
The club can look at it this way, they’ll have plenty of time to practice the penalty kill and D-zone coverage. The Canucks have given up an average of 3.9 goals per game over their last nine and managed to win their last two games in overtime despite giving up eleven goals.
While scoring is up in the NHL as a whole this season, Vancouver will want to work on bringing those numbers down.
The Canucks special teams have been night and day. The NHL’s 6th best power play has been clicking at an impressive rate of 28.1% on the season while the penalty kill continues to struggle at 68.7%.
Scoring on the man advantage has come from a deadly trio of power play goal scorers. Bo Horvat, Andrei Kuzmenko, and J.T. Miller have eight, seven, and six goals respectively. Of Horvat’s 20 goals, 4th most in the NHL, two have come shorthanded. That’s been a bright spot for the penalty kill.
Canucks leading scorer Elias Pettersson, with 34 points overall, has ten power play points, all assists. All of Quinn Hughes points this season are assists, 25 of them, with 13 coming on the man advantage.
Four of those star performers, Horvat, Pettersson, Hughes and Miller, work on one of the two penalty killing units, joined most often by some combination of Tyler Myers, Ethan Bear, Ilya Mikheyev, and Luke Schenn.
They should be getting plenty of practice rep’s in over the next two weeks.
Enjoy the Hockey Action !!