As the ice chips settle from the NHL’s “Frozen Frenzy” on Tuesday in which all 32 teams played hockey, the Vancouver Canucks find themselves in 2nd place in the Pacific Division with eight points. They trail only the undefeated, defending Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights who apparently drank a collective Caesar to ward off any hangover from winning the chalice. They’re 6-and-0.
The Canucks are 4-and-2 following their 3-2 victory in Nashville against the Predators to wrap up a five-game road trip.
The Canucks pulled off something they weren’t able to do the last two seasons under head coaches Travis Green and then Bruce Boudreau, and that is, they’ve started the season on a winning note through the first two weeks.
This would also be the most talented of the teams we’ve seen here since 2021.
Instead of forwards and defencemen who fell short of fans expectations and faded away, the Canucks presently feature players apparently motivated to impress and a youngster or two potentially coming into their own.
But then again, it’s only six games.
Special Special Teams
“Our penalty kill was really good,” Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet said postgame. “You get back to back penalties with four or five minutes left and you’re over-using guys, I thought the resolve of that penalty kill … I’ve like our penalty kill, stats don’t show it, but I think our penalty kill’s been pretty good this year.”
The numbers are starting to show it. After a slow start the overall percentage has crept up to 78.3%, nearing respectability statistically, with a perfect three-for-three on Tuesday night.
The Canucks power play failed, but only with one opportunity against the Predators. It remains 3rd best in the NHL with a 35.3% early season success rate.
Overall, the team’s effort defensively in all situations was what stood out, limiting Nashville to 17 total shots and just four in a pivotal 2nd period.
“We’re starting to have that confidence, that’s the way we should be doing it, that’s the way we should be playing and the result we should have,” Canucks captain Quinn Hughes said postgame, “So not just hoping to get a win, but expecting to play like that.”
Speaking of that talent influx this time around, Hughes went out of his way to compliment the abilities of blueliners Filip Hronek, Ian Cole and Carson Soucy.
Canucks Next Up …
The St. Louis Blues hit town for a Friday night match to start a mini three-game homestand for Vancouver. The very next night the New York Rangers come into town to finish up their western Canada swing.
The third game of the set will actually be a rematch next Tuesday against the Nashville Predators.
“Overall I think this was a good road trip for us,” Canucks centre Elias Pettersson said after the game. “We’re four-and-two now but I still think we have more in us and we can be better on our details and everything.”