The Vancouver Canucks are back home following a lacklustre performance in Columbus against the Blue Jackets. Vancouver suffered their third straight loss in that one, with losses against the Maple Leafs and Senators as well. The Canucks were on a four-game road trip, and it started off well in Montreal against the Canadiens.
They edged out the Canadiens by a score of 4-3 in overtime at the Bell Centre on Tuesday night, though it was all downhill from there. The Canucks were outscored 14 to 7 in their next three games, as they took a loss in each of them. That’s not what the Canucks need right now. They’re in the midst of a divisional race in the Pacific Division, and they continue to fall back as the Vegas Golden Knights keep winning.
It felt like it was only yesterday that the Canucks were atop the Pacific. They were playing like the best team in the division in January, but that momentum has slowly been sucked out of Vancouver. The Canucks head into Wednesday with a record of 34-25-6 and 74 points. That sets them back of the Golden Knights by 8 points in the division.
It just goes to show you how quickly things can change in the NHL. Nobody was moving an inch for the majority of the season, and now there are only two teams within 2 points of one another, the Oilers and Golden Knights. The good news for the Canucks is exactly that: everything can change in a hurry, and there is a full month left for them to mount a comeback.
Unfortunately for the Canucks, they’re fighting the injury bug at the worst possible time of the season. The newest addition to the injury report is defenceman, Quinn Hughes. The talented 20-year-old who is in the Calder race is questionable to play tonight. Along with Hughes, Tyler Myers is banged up at the moment. The Canucks have already lost Brock Boeser until April and Michael Ferland is out for the year with a concussion.
If the playoffs started today, the Canucks and Jets would be in the playoffs with a wildcard. The Coyotes trail the Canucks by 2 points, so this is a very important game at Rogers Arena. Arizona are on the heels of a 5-2 win against the Buffalo Sabres at home in the desert on Saturday night. They’ve had a nice little break going into Vancluver. Head below for our free Coyotes vs. Canucks pick.
Arizona Coyotes vs. Vancouver Canucks Betting Odds:
Coyotes vs. Canucks Prediction:
The Canucks can’t relax at all with four teams behind them within 2 points. Even the Blackhawks at 68 points are still alive for a wildcard. If the Canucks miss out on the playoffs completely it’d be a tough pill to swallow. Regardless of what happens, the future still looks good in Vancouver with the stockpile of talented youngsters they have in their arsenal. Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser, and Quinn Hughes are quite the trio to build a team around. Fortunately for the Canucks, they will be back home where they’ve been much better at winning hockey games. Along with getting into the playoffs, for a team like the Canucks, home ice advantage is going to be important.
Vancouver has struggled to win on the road, as they’ve posted a record of 14-18-2. That’s not going to be enough in the playoffs. Conversely, Rogers Arena has provided the Canucks with a nice lift, having registered a record of 20-7-4 at home. The Roxy Flu is likely long dead in Vancouver, but the city still gives the Canucks a solid advantage at home. Maybe it’s alive in some capacity, though not like it was in the past. Note that the Canucks have been impressive offensively and defensively at home. They have scored an average of 3.71 goals per game and allowed just 2.65 goals per game on the other end of the ice. If Hughes is absent tonight that hurts. However, they catch a bit of a break with the opponent they have in town tonight.
The Coyotes have been absolutely vomit on the road recently. In their previous eleven games, the Coyotes have notched just one win. Their only win on the road during that time was on February 10 in Montreal. We must go all the way back to January 7 for their best road win. The offence has been invisible in opposing arenas, with an average of just 2.32 goals scored per game. This looks like an okay game to be short-handed defensively for the Canucks. After struggling during their road trip, expect the Canucks to return home and play a desperate brand of hockey. They likely play like the hungrier team and get rewarded for it tonight.