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Canucks Skate: D-Men’s Health?, Jack’s Back, Masked Madness

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Vancouver Canucks, Elias Pettersson
Elias Pettersson scores for the Vancouver Canucks against the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday night.

The Vancouver Canucks still have four teams to hop in the Western Conference playoff race but now instead of four points back of a wild card spot that number is seven. The Canucks sit at 52 points heading into to tonight’s game against the Seattle Kraken at Rogers Arena while the Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings occupy the final two post-season positions with 59 points. They sit in third place in the Pacific Division and in the 2nd wild card spot respectively.

Interestingly, the Nashville Predators, the club positioned in the 1st wild card spot in the conference, have slid back to the pack. The Predators have lost four consecutive games and are idling at sixty points.

While we await news on the health of Vancouver Canucks defencemen Kyle Burroughs and Oliver Ekman-Larsson later this morning …

Let’s Skate! …

Jack’s Back …

… on the scoresheet. Former Buffalo Sabres captain turned Vegas Golden Knights centre Jack Eichel scored his first goal with his new team on Sunday night against the San Jose Sharks, two nights after picking up his first assist on Friday night against the LA Kings.

In his third game since returning to the NHL from neck surgery in November, a procedure that happened shortly after being traded, Eichel lit the lamp for the first time since January 28, 2021 when he still played for the Sabres.

Eichel skates on the Golden Knights top line with Max Pacioretty and Chandler Stephenson on his wings.

Oly’ Recap

You’re very likely familiar with the fact that Team Canada defeated the United States on February 17th 3-2 to take the Gold Medal in Women’s Hockey at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. In case you missed it, Finland defeated Switzerland for the bronze.

On the men’s side, Finland won Gold over the Russian Olympic Committee athletes 2-1 on Sunday (Saturday night in Vancouver) while Slovakia won the Bronze Medal with a 4-0 shut-out of Sweden the evening before. It was Slovakia’s first ever medal in Olympic Men’s Hockey, although you may recall they came close in Vancouver in 2010, losing the Bronze Medal game to Finland 5-3.

The story isn’t over for the Slovaks. 17-year-old forward Juraj Slafkovsky improved his stock for this summer’s NHL Draft by leading the Olympic tournament with seven goals and taking Most Valuable Player honours.

Miraculous Masked Men

I’d say it’s a pretty wacky coincidence to have two different goalies starting an NHL game for the first time in four years on the same night. It happened Sunday, and both guys won!

JF Berube started for the Columbus Blue Jackets and helped defeat the Buffalo Sabres 7-3. The 30-year-old netminder turned aside 33 of 36 shots in his first start since April 6th, 2018 against the St. Louis Blues as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Right around the same time, Montreal Canadiens goalie Andrew Hammond made 30 saves on 32 shots through 65-minutes and then won a shoot-out against the New York Islanders 3-2. Hammond earned the nickname “Hamburgler” for his consistent regular season heroics with the Ottawa Senators back in the 2014-’15 season.

The 34-year-old’s last start prior to Sunday came with the Colorado Avalanche on March 28th, 2018 against the Philadelphia Flyers. That was his only start of the season and he lost it despite only giving up two goals.

Both veteran goalies have been toiling in the minors since their previous NHL starts.

See you at the rink.

Enjoy the Vancouver Canucks Hockey Action !!

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