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Canucks Skate: NHL Playoff Shuffle, JT on a Roll, Demko Rest

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Vancouver Canucks Bo Horvat
Bo Horvat would score on this breakaway short-handed to give the Canucks a two-goal lead in the eventual 6-3 win over the Devils.

Vancouver Canucks Head Coach Bruce Boudreau pointed out Tuesday morning that he not only watches as much NHL hockey as he can, but he also scoreboard watches the playoff race every chance he gets. He mostly would have liked what he saw Tuesday night.

Not only did his Canucks take care of business 6-3 against the visiting New Jersey Devils, but a couple of the other Western Conference playoff contenders stumbled.

Both the Dallas Stars and the Vegas Golden Knights, the teams immediately in front of the Canucks in the wild card standings, lost. The Stars got blanked by the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-0 while the Golden Knights were swamped by the Winnipeg Jets 7-3.

The Canucks climbed into a tie with Dallas with 67 points, one point behind Vegas occupying the 2nd wild card position. The caveat; the Stars have three games in hand on the Canucks and four on the Golden Knights, while the Winnipeg Jets with the win stay in hot pursuit of the Vancouver Canucks, trailing by a point with the same number of games played.

It’s getting mighty eeeeenteresting, especially when you consider Vancouver is only three points behind the 3rd-place Edmonton Oilers in the Pacific Division.

3rd Place Pacific Division – Edmonton Oilers – 70 points – 60 games played.

– Western Conference at large

1st Wild Card – Minnesota Wild – 72 points – 58 games played.

2nd Wild Card – Vegas Golden Knights – 68 points – 62 games played.

Dallas Stars – 67 points – 58 games played.

Vancouver Canucks – 67 points – 61 games played.

Winnipeg Jets – 66 points – 61 games played.

The Canucks will practice Wednesday morning at 11 am and then host the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night at 7 pm.

The JT Show

JT Miller upped his career-high consecutive game point streak to 13 games on Tuesday evening with a three assist performance. He’s piled up 27 points during the stretch, last failing to pick-up a point in a game back on February 9th at home against the New York Islanders.

With his three helpers against the Devils, Miller reached 73 points on the season, a new career high, eclipsing the 72 he tallied for the Canucks two seasons ago in 69 games.

This year’s running total has occurred in just 59 matches. At his current pace, if he plays all 21 remaining games on the Vancouver Canucks schedule, Miller would finish the season with 99 points.

Demmer Break

Boudreau indicated postgame Tuesday that his workhorse number-one goalie Thatcher Demko would hopefully skip practice on Wednesday as he’s earned some additional rest.

Vancouver Hockey Now asked ‘Gabby’ about his team starting to win games on a semi-regular basis without having to rely completely on Demko ‘standing-on-his-head’.

“We’re going through this gauntlet and we’re playing him an awful lot,” Boudreau said. “The more he doesn’t have to get 45 or 50 shots on goal, the better it is. So, like tomorrow, there’s a good chance he won’t practice … and before anybody asks, he’s not hurt, it would just be a maintenance day for that, for him.”

VHN Managing Editor Rob Simpson has been covering the NHL for three decades on live TV, radio, and as a journalist. He worked his first ever game getting postgame sound as a teenager; it was Vancouver vs. Detroit.

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