It is time, hockey is back. But more importantly, Canucks hockey is back! The Canucks are set to take on the Minnesota Wild in the NHL play-in series. What do the Canucks need to do for the Canucks to advance into the playoffs? What are the Canucks keys to victory?
The Canucks powerplay over the regular season was special, finishing fourth in the NHL, they converted 24.2% of the time. The exciting Canucks powerplay usually featured Bo Horvat, J.T. Miller, Brock Boeser, Elias Pettersson, and Quinn Hughes all on the ice at the same time. When a team gives them a shot to play all five players at the same time it is bond to come back and bite them.
Their Penalty kill was not as eye-popping, but they did rank 16th, killing 80.5% of their penalties. The Canucks do not want to find themselves killing penalties, as the Wild had the 11th powerplay.
If the Canucks can draw penalties, they will be putting themselves in a great position for success.
If the Canucks are to succeed against the Wild their bottom-six has to show up. During the regular season, Canucks fans saw Jake Virtanen start to find his own scoring 18 goals in 69 games. Although it is unknown if he will be suiting up for game one. Another player the Canucks need to produce is Adam Gaudette. Gaudette has shown he can play with the big boys, as he scored 12 goals in 59 games posting most of his goals from the third line.
The Canucks will need Virtanen, Gaudette, and the rest of the bottom six to play top-notch hockey in order to beat the Wild.
Jacob Markstrom will be the Canucks key to victory. Markstrom is the backbone of the Canucks and it shows. He spent many games over the past few seasons bailing out the defense. When he went down in late February, it cast a dark cloud over the Canucks. But Markstrom is back, healthy, and ready to cause havoc on the Wilds forwards.
Get Your Towels Ready
Get your towels ready Canucks fans, Canucks hockey is back. If all three keys to victory fall in place the Canucks should have few issues making it past the play-in round and into the playoffs. The key is with the Canucks.
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