The Canucks will play out the string with road games at the Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks and Arizona Coyotes. Three games in four nights starting on Monday. Another playoff-free season for Vancouver, a team presently with a 5% chance at winning the top-overall pick in the NHL Draft Lottery.
If the Canucks aren’t careful, they might reduce those odds even more if they handle the bottom feeders that are the Ducks and Coyotes. The Kings might be vulnerable as well, having lost three games in a row and no longer in contention for 2nd place in the Pacific Division. The seedings at the top of the division and between 3rd place and the 1st wild card spot (Seattle Kraken) remain up in the air.
Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet is trying to figure out exactly what he has in terms of personnel, team identity and character.
The good news for hockey addicts in British Columbia, there’s still plenty of playoff pucks to follow.
The AHL Canucks
After a disappointing first-round ouster at the hands of the Bakersfield Condors last spring, the American Hockey League Canucks in Abbotsford will look to go much deeper this time around in the hunt for the Calder Cup.
Their last three games of the regular season will give them a nice little taste test. They host the Calgary Wranglers, the club with the most points in the AHL, for games on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday night.
It’ll also give fans in Abby a nice little warm-up for the first round of the postseason. Patrons can already buy tickets knowing the Canucks will have home ice advantage in the opening series; opponent to be determined. It’s looking like Ontario or Bakersfield.
In just 49 games, defenceman Christian Wolanin leads the club in scoring with 55 points. The lefty has three points in 16 NHL games this season and should be carrying a great deal of confidence. The highest scoring forward, Swede Linus Karlsson, has 49 points in 69 games.
Of course, more important than those numbers, particularly at this time of year, are the stats belonging to the goaltenders. Arturs Silovs and Spencer Martin have goals against averages hovering around 2.50 with save percentages of .907 and .915 respectively.
Fun With Juniors
As for the younger fellas, fans can follow the exploits of the Kamloops Blazers, moving on to round-two of the Western Hockey League playoffs with a bolstered line-up. They bolstered it because the Blazers will be hosting the 103rd edition of the Memorial Cup this spring. Kamloops swept the Vancouver Giants in four games in the opening round.
The Prince George Cougars will find out Sunday evening if they’re moving on. They entered the day with a 3-2 lead in their series with the Tri-City Americans. If they win they’ll take on the Seattle Thunderbirds in round-2.
Don’t forget the British Columbia Hockey League, one tier down. No shortage of options there as the BCHL rolls into its conference semi-finals.
Take a peak around; lots of great hockey action to be seen.