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A (little over a) half-season outlook on the Canucks

With 49 games played as of January 21st, the Vancouver Canucks sit in 1st place in the pacific division and to the delight of many Canucks fans are currently in a playoff spot. Through the first and a bit half of the season it has been a roller coaster to say the least. So let’s just revisit some of the most memorable moments from the (so far just a little over a half) ’19 – ’20 season.

“A Team Like That” VAN 8 – LAK 2 | 9/10/2019

Unless you’re new to the Canucks fandom you’re more than well aware that the Canucks on twitter is an endless tirade of panic. Arm chair GM’s trading away the team on a daily basis. Firing and hiring any staff in the hopes that this will happen in real life. The Canucks had yet to win a game after a season opening Alberta road trip put them 0-2-0.

A summer of trading away a first round pick, and depth signing to the cap with no results had twitter had already writing this season off. Head coach Travis Green, GM Jim Benning were fired in their minds. In short the team was deemed as being in “cap hell”. Then the LA King’s came to visit Rogers arena…

It’s the home opener. Bo Horvat was named captain. Canuck alumni skated out to join in on the 50th anniversary of the team. And with all this pressure on them the Canucks trounced the Kings 8-2 prompting Drew Doughty to wonder how the Kings could lose like they did to ‘A team like that’.

Overnight Canucks Marketing and media took it as their version of being called jerks and went to the t-shirt printing presses. We all knew the King’s are terrible, and Doughty knew no team wants to lose 8-2 to “a team like that” meaning no team that isn’t a cup contender.

Young team, old lessons WSH 6 – VAN 5 | 25/10/2019

After the Kings the team went on a tear winning six of the seven and looking to make it 7 of the next 8 against the Washington Capitals. The game started amazingly for a team that couldn’t seem to stop scoring. Heck, after 38 minutes of play the Canucks were up 5-1!

With one second to go in the second Evgeny Kuznetsov decides to remember that the team he plays for was the 2018 Stanley Cup Champions. Kuznetsov buries one and practically sprints to the dressing room to remind everyone on his team to look down and make the same realization.

They do. Then score 3 more. Then go to the shootout. They win.

But hey it’s not like that’ll happen again right?

All they know is the Power Play… VAN 6 NSH 3 | 21/11/2019

Enter November. Twitter is already foretelling Canucks lore. They saw for the past two years losing records making it true for all time.

Annoyingly so, they’re right. The Canucks go 2-5-3 over their last 10 leading into a game with the equally as under performing Nashville Predators. Nashville decides to give Vancouver a huge boost of confidence by marching to the penalty box every 3 minutes or so. The Canucks convert for 5 power-play goals and a shorthanded marker. Twitter retaliates by telling me that power plays are the only way that was going to happen. Annoyingly they were right.

It Happened Again… PIT 8 – VAN 6 | 27/11/2019

I have no words for this one… it’s the loss of the season that really does put the team at their lowest. Go down… battle back, go up 3 goals… let Evgeni Malkin wake up… Canucks Lose 8-6. There is so much to unpack here, but above all this loss perfectly encapsulates what this season for the team will be. Battle hard and if you take your eye off the prize you won’t win, and you won’t be playing in the late spring. Simply put.

The Streak… December 19 – January 4th 2020

If anything is a saving grace for the Canucks it’s that the pacific division is the most mediocre in hockey. The teams all win and lose at the same time as if they all know that they all have to wear pink on Wednesdays.

Enter Vancouver’s longest win streak of the season. Some had some amazing efforts and battle wins like the first game against the Vegas Golden Knights. Others had Travis Green explaining to the media that sometimes you paint a barn and not a Picasso, and some nights they had Jacob Markstrom.

Markstrom this season is on pace for a career year. With a blue line with little depth, it will be the only thing that allows them to have sustained success. He’s proven many wrong in being an established number 1. And his ability to make the key saves at the key times have kept this team from slipping too far down the standings since November.

Now What?

The Canucks can play like a playoff team. The question is will they have it in the tank too? Break out players this year like Jake Virtanen, and All-Star Rookie Quinn Hughes need to keep their consistency as we head into the season’s crunch time. Vancouver’s “lotto line” are all scoring at just above or just below a point per game, and the bottom six no longer represents a group of pylons. They should be a playoff team, but that will be for them to decide.

Follow me on Twitter at @nesanfurtado for more of my content!

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