The task just got taller. The Vancouver Canucks confirmed that top defenceman Quinn Hughes and top-6 winger Brock Boeser missed the trip to the desert with illness and injury respectively. Hughes is suffering through the same malady that briefly knocked forwards Bo Horvat and Brad Richardson out of the Vancouver line-up. It’s generally being labelled a ’48-hour bug’ but in the case of Hughes it’s lasted a little longer.
Both Horvat, who played Sunday, and Richardson, who didn’t, are on the trip.
Combined with Tucker Poolman’s illness/migraine relapse on Sunday, the blueline corps is scrambling. Jack Rathbone joined the road trip as an emergency call-up from the Abbotsford Canucks. Right now he’s the 7th defenceman.
Poolman left the game against the Jets in Winnipeg back on January 27th after the first period due to illness. His next attempt to play came three days ago against the Vegas Golden Knights at Rogers Arena, and again he lasted just one period. Poolman played 4:25 and delivered two hits. Obviously it was enough to aggravate his condition.
The 3-2 overtime loss to Vegas on Sunday put the Canucks on the brink of playoff elimination. While there are still mathematical possibilities of sneaking in, Vancouver at this point would need to win eleven of its final 12 games. For all intents and purposes, their season could end tonight with another head-to-head loss to one of the clubs they’re chasing.
It’s a giant game for the Golden Knights as well. On the outside of the playoffs looking in, they sit a point behind the Dallas Stars who occupy the 2nd wild card position and two points behind the first wild card Nashville Predators. Both of those teams have two games in-hand on Vegas.
The Vancouver Canucks have 74 points. They begin their morning skate at 11 am pacific at T-Mobile Arena.