No sense in repeating ourselves at this point as the Vancouver Canucks picked up another two points to feel good about themselves, while potentially slipping further away from an optimum 2023 NHL Draft pick. That’s not complaining, we’re not a fan of tanking, it’s simply observational.
On a micro-scale, good on ya. The Canucks beat the lowly Anaheim Ducks 3-2 in overtime with J.T. Miller potting the game winner just 20-seconds into the extra session.
Vancouver out-shot Anaheim 34-22, dominated the face-off circle, out-hit the Ducks 21-12 and also had more blocked shots.
“They’re starting to really buy in,” Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet said of his team. “I give the players a lot of credit. They’re doing they’re doing a hell of a job right now. So like I said, just gotta keep the turnovers to a minimum and play north-south style hockey.”
The game winner was Miller’s 2nd goal of the night and 23rd on the season. His first goal was a shorthanded marker, his second in the last three games. Elias Pettersson and Miller had back-to-back shorties on the same Toronto Maple Leafs power play in the 3rd period of Saturday’s dramatic 4-1 Canucks win.
Wolanin’s Canucks Progress
Canucks defenseman Christian Wolanin, called up from Abbotsford of the American Hockey League for the game against the Philadelphia Flyers on February 18th, played in his 9th game with Vancouver Wednesday night and eclipsed the 20-minute mark in ice time for the second consecutive game.
“I think down in the minors he was an all-star, he had 40 or 50 points and you can tell that he’s good with the puck,” Tocchet said of the 27-year-old lefty D-man. “Good first pass. I kind of like his poise sometimes on the blueline, walking the blue line, that’s tough. When forwards are flying at you and he’s got the poise to make a play, and his breakouts, I thought he hit the pocket three times under pressure, that’s when you know it’s working.”
Hitting the pocket simply means finding your teammate up-ice with a pass that’s in stride, easy to handle, in an optimal position between defenders.
“First pass” is the second thing scouts look for in a defenceman after skating ability.
The Canucks moved up a notch in the overall NHL standings, one slot further away from the worst record in the league and best odds to win the NHL Draft Lottery. The Columbus Blue Jackets presently hold that distinction with 47 points.
The Canucks are tied with the Philadelphia Flyers with 59 with the same number of games played, 64. They’re also tied in points with the St. Louis Blues who have played one less game. Right now the Canucks would have a 6.5% chance at landing the top overall pick.