Bo Horvat, Canucks and Islanders

Canucks Game Day: The Return Of Captain Bo

Vancouver hockey fans love a little drama and emotion as a side dish to their entree, which at the moment is a Canucks record of 11-3-and-1 to start the season. Obviously the potential drama and definite emotion on this occasion is the return of former captain Bo Horvat to Rogers Arena with the New York Islanders on Wednesday night.

The Islanders could use a spark. They’re 0-4-and-1 in their last five games.

New York is 5-0-and-2 in their last seven visits to Vancouver.

Canucks Game Facts

Tonight: New York Islanders at Vancouver Canucks

Where: Rogers Arena

When: 7 pm pacific

TV/Radio: Sportsnet / AM-650

Key Factors:

Starting goalkeepers: Ilya Sorokin for New York, Thatcher Demko for Vancouver

Obviously the desire to win will be there. This is what would have been referred to as a “money on the board” game in past times, as in a player literally tacking cash to the bulletin board with the money going to the teammate who scores the game winning goal. In this case, whether Bo Horvat offers up some kind of incentive we likely won’t know, but there’s a very, very good chance he and his teammates will be inspired to win this one.

The Canucks should be equally inspired. “Welcome back, now take that!”. Vancouver has the confidence and ability to run over the Islanders at the moment; it comes down to the emotion of it all and just how intense the match becomes.

Vancouver leads the NHL in goals-scored-per-game at 4.40, almost a half-a-goal higher than the next closest team, the LA Kings at 4.00.

The Islanders are more a middle-of-the-pack type team in many categories and sport a 5-6-and-3 record to go with it.

Canucks D-man Carson Soucy won’t face the Islanders and is out six to eight weeks due to a lower body injury. Fellow lefty blueliner Akito Hirose was called up from the Abbotsford Canucks on Tuesday.

Lefty defenceman Adam Pelech returned to the Islanders line-up Monday after missing a week.

Who’s Hot? And Not …

Start with Horvat coming in. Which is he?

He’s hot in one regard; he’s the leading scorer among Islanders forwards with 11 points in 13 games, one point behind defenceman Noah Dobson. Horvat has four points over his last four games and two multi-point matches thus far this season. The last one came four games ago when he had two assists at home against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Canucks centre Elias Pettersson leads the NHL in scoring with 25 points. He had an assist on Saturday night against the Maple Leafs before behind held pointless against the Canadiens on Sunday. He’s gone without a point in a game just three times this season.

Winger Dakota Joshua had a goal and an assist in the Sunday victory over the Habs.

Special Teams

The Canucks power play went 0-for-2 on Sunday but remains 3rd best in the league with a 31.6% success rate on the season. Not so much for the Islanders; they’re ranked 25th with a somewhat horrid 15.8% rate of effectiveness.

New York’s penalty kill is also substandard, finishing off opposing power plays just 73.9% of the time. The Canucks are better than that but still a bit substandard at 78%.

Coming In:

Islanders: 5-6-and-3, coming off Monday night’s 4-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers.

Canucks: 11-3-and-1 for 23 points following an eastern road trip that saw them go 2-and-1, culminating in Sunday’s 5-2 win over the Canadiens. The Canucks are only two points out of first place in the Pacific Division with a game in hand on the Vegas Golden Knights.

Earlier Canucks:

— Canucks Morning After; 2-and-1 Roadie, Boudreau Podcast

Maple Leafs Come Back To Beat Canucks In Toronto

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.