Despite scoring two whole goals on Sunday evening, the Canucks suffered an 8th consecutive loss, this time at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks. Things do not get any easier tonight as Willie Desjardins’ team will have the San Jose Sharks to contend with.
Game Time: 7:00 p.m.
TV: Sportsnet Pacific
What was a stumbling walk towards the end of the season for the Vancouver Canucks has now turned into a limp/crawl just to make it to the finish line. Winless in their previous 8 games entering tonight’s tilt against the Sharks, it appears #TeamTank is enjoying the last laugh.
Don't be a hero, Canucks!
You scored some goals! Had a few laughs!
End it in regulation!#TeamTank
— PUCKS ON NET (@Pucksonnetca) March 28, 2016
The Sharks had been struggling, losing three games in a row, including a 6-3 loss at the hands of the Edmonton Oilers. They stopped the mini-slide with a big win last night against the LA Kings, which clinched them a playoff spot.
The Sharks have been led offensively by Joe Thornton (73 points) who is having a resurgent season at age 36. Other top scorers include captain Joe Pavelski (73 points), and 26-minute-a-night defenceman Brent Burns (69 points).
1. The race to the bottom
The race towards the bottom has intensified recently and due in large part to the aforementioned 8-game losing streak, the Canucks now find themselves in an enviable position regarding the NHL Entry Draft this summer. Since March 14th, the Canucks have surpassed four teams on their way to being the second most likely team to select first overall.
Chance of first overall pick over past fortnight. pic.twitter.com/TjPoRBDha4
— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) March 28, 2016
For those pessimists not high on Canuck-luck, the chances of drafting in the top five are looking a lot better.
Chance of a top five pick over the past fortnight. pic.twitter.com/yctqskVp5f
— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) March 29, 2016
2. We’re gonna need a bigger boat
It’s not hard to imagine the Canucks entering the final week of their 2015-16 campaign on an 11-game losing streak. They’ll host the Sharks tonight, play in San Jose on Thursday, and then travel to Anaheim Friday for their second game in two nights.
If the Canucks were, in fact, among the Pacific Division teams hunting for a playoff spot, these might be some exciting games!
However, facing off against the three top teams in the Pacific Division over their next four games (oh yeah, they play Los Angeles next Tuesday) will likely result in additional cannon fodder for the #TeamTank contingent of Canucks fans.
The Canucks’ best opportunity to snap their current losing streak before next Wednesday (in Edmonton) may be tonight though as the Sharks played last night in Los Angeles last night. San Jose won 5-2 and secured a playoff spot in the process.
3. Hamhuis for Masterton
TDan Hamhuis is the Canucks’ nominee for the Bill Masterton Trophy this season. The award recognizes players’ perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to the sport of hockey.
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) March 28, 2016
The nominees for the award are appointed by each chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association and it’s not difficult to understand why Hamhuis was the unanimous decision for Vancouver’s chapter.
After suffering a broken jaw in early December, Hamhuis was not only faced with the incredible task of returning to the starting lineup, but the impending possibility of being traded away from Vancouver, the team he grew up cheering for in his hometown of Smithers, British Columbia.
Universally loved by players, coaches, fans, and probably foes too, Hamhuis is an excellent nominee and should he win, I don’t think anybody would be surprised. If indeed this is Hamhuis’ last season in Vancouver, it has been a pleasure watching him on and off the ice.
Judging from practice yesterday, it looks as if Markus Granlund is nearing his return and it could mean Linden Vey takes a seat in the press box tonight. Also of note? We could be seeing the Tryamkin Train as a net-front presence on the power play:
— Jon Abbott (@HockeyAbbs) March 28, 2016
|D. Sedin||H. Sedin||Hansen|
Predicting Canucks games these days is a bleak practice. Optimistic angles regarding young player development and “bright spots” have all but been eliminated, leaving very little in their wake.
However, I’m determined to ride this season out until the end. I predicted a goal last time and I got it, so I’ll try my luck with predicting a win this time. Canucks pull out a squeaker 2-1 in overtime.
Seeing as the on-ice product in Rogers Arena hasn’t been much lately, feast your eyes on some classic Sedin magic.