Vancouver Canucks, Pittsburgh Penguins

Canucks Game Day: Tough Road; Hot Neighbours

How realistic is it at this point to expect the Vancouver Canucks to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning?

The confidence of BC hockey fans is likely even lower than that of the team. The team wants to win, but how much belief exists as the Canucks officially reach the midway point of the season.

The game in Tampa is number-41 on the 82 game schedule with the Canucks ten points out of the Western Conference’s 2nd wild card spot. Vancouver does have three games in hand on the team presently sitting in that final playoff position, the Edmonton Oilers.

As for the Lightning, they’re firmly entrenched in third place in the Atlantic Division with 51 points and carry a home record of 16-4-and-1. Barring a big charge from them or the Toronto Maple Leafs, the 2nd place club in that division, the two teams are already lined up to play in the first round of the playoffs. For now it doesn’t appear either will catch up to the first place Boston Bruins to change those seedings.

Then again, “there’s a lot of hockey left”, which happens to be the same old saying the Vancouver Canucks are relying on at the moment.

Canucks Look Up At Krazy Good Kraken

At the moment, the Seattle Kraken are the hottest team in the National Hockey League with their six-game winning streak, the last five wins coming on the road. The team might get a reality check Thursday night when they head into Boston to take on those Bruins, 19-0-and-3 at home.

Regardless of how that challenge goes, the Kraken (52 points) have slid back up the standings into third place in the Pacific Division, a whopping 15 points ahead of the Canucks.

With consecutive wins on the road over the Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Montreal Canadiens, and Buffalo Sabres, the Kraken own the third best road record in the NHL at 14-4-and-2.

Could they pull off something that no other team has been able to do this season and beat the Bruins in Boston? It should be a pretty entertaining match.

One thing Seattle has never done … beat the Canucks. Vancouver owns a 6-and-0 record all time against their Pacific Division neighbours.

Rob Simpson

Rob Simpson has covered the NHL in five different decades. He’s authored 4 books on hockey and is a veteran TV and radio play-by-play man and reporter.