I suppose the Canucks had to lose at some point. They can’t win every game, and while they tried hard and played a good road game last night, they just couldn’t solve Jaroslav Halak.
C’est la vie.
Still, the Canucks hit the 3/4 point of the season with 68 points in 60 games, good for 5th in the Western Conference. Their percentage of points gained for the season has gone up 8% since their January swoon and they can now look forward to spending most of the next 3 weeks at home. 7 of their next 9 games are at the Garage. I hope this upcoming homestand goes better than their last one.
A month ago I looked at the degree of difficulty of the Canucks’ remaining schedule. I looked at each Western Conference team’s remaining games against each other and calculated a sort of degree of difficulty for each of their schedules. Here is an update.
DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY OF REMAINING SCHEDULE
The Canucks have quite a favorable schedule. They play 12 of their remaining 22 games at home, and they play 6 of their remaining 10 road games in 10 days at the end of March. They only have 3 games left against the top-4 teams in the Western Conference. They play San Jose, Calgary and Chicago once each; they don’t have any games left against Detroit. Plus, almost a third of their remaining games are against teams currently in the Western Conference basement. They play Phoenix once, St. Louis twice and Colorado four times. Compare that to Nashville, who will play opponents who have a 0.598 average, or Minnesota and Los Angeles, who play 16 of their remaining 23 games on the road.
For the second straight year, the Vancouver Canucks reached the 60-game mark of their regular season with a record of 30-22-8.
Twelve months later, the Canucks stand in the same spot with the same record and with the stretch drive upon them and the trade deadline less than a week away.
The biggest differences from one year ago are the fact that there is a new man calling the shots and that the hockey team he has put together is in considerably better health than the one that limped its way toward the finish line last season.
We can’t underestimate the value of a healthy defense. In the last month, they’ve basically acted as a third scoring line.
BREAKDOWN OF OFFENSE (Feb. 1st to 24th)
Yes, the defense has produced nearly as much offense as the 1st and 2nd lines.
Heading into the home stretch, things sure seem to be lining up the Canucks’ way, eh? Now here’s hoping this season ends better than the previous one.