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Vancouver Canucks Wrap: NHL Puck Links, Playoffs

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Vancouver Canucks, Quinn Hughes
Vancouver Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes waits to make a break-out pass at practice behind Thatcher Demko while Luke Schenn looks on.

The Vancouver Canucks have a game in-hand on the team that hopped past them by one point in the standings on Monday night, the Winnipeg Jets. The Jets beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-2 to get to 81 points in the NHL’s Western Conference standings. It was the only game on the NHL calendar Monday.

It’s irrelevant. Given their game in hand, the Canucks control their own destiny as it relates to catching the Jets. They’re more concerned with reeling in the teams that presently occupy playoff positions; the LA Kings, Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars.

The next step comes Tuesday night when Vancouver goes head-to-head with another non-playoff team giving chase four points ahead of them, the Vegas Golden Knights. It’s clearly a must win for the Canucks.

While we patiently await the arrival of that pivotal match …

Let’s Skate !

Malkin’s Malfeasance

The heavy hand of the hockey law came down upon Pittsburgh Penguins star Evgeni Malkin on Monday when the NHL’s Department of Player Safety issued him a four-game suspension for a cross-check to the face of Nashville Predators defenceman Mark Borowiecki on Sunday. It also costs Geno $190,000 in forfeited salary.

Do you like suspension videos? You’ll like this one. Ouch!!

Malkin has 17 goals and 37 points in 37 games this season after joining the campaign late following off-season knee surgery.

Pick Power

Starting Tuesday night in Toronto against the Maple Leafs, the Buffalo Sabres will be sending out two defencemen who were first overall picks in recent NHL Drafts, Rasmus Dahlin from 2018 and Owen Power from 2021. Power will be making his NHL debut after leaving the University of Michigan and signing an entry-level deal with the Sabres on Friday.

Power’s Wolverines lost in the NCAA Frozen Four semi-final 3-2 in overtime last Thursday to the eventual national champions, the University of Denver Pioneers. The 19-year-old decided to turn pro.

“Everyone’s been so welcoming and so nice to me,” Power told the media in Buffalo. “They’re always trying to include me in everything. I think they’ve done a great job making it easy for me to kind of come in and adjust.”

The real adjustment will come Tuesday night when Power gets to face the NHL’s leading goal scorer Auston Matthews, who happens to have been the 2016 first-overall pick, and the highly skilled Maple Leafs offence.

Quacked!

As of Sunday, for the first time in their almost thirty-year existence, the Anaheim Ducks have officially missed the playoffs for four consecutive seasons. The Vancouver Canucks Pacific Division rivals who battled near the top of the standings in October and November finally had injuries, inexperience and inconsistent goaltending catch up with them.

They join division foes, the San Jose Sharks and the Seattle Kraken, and the Arizona Coyotes and Chicago Blackhawks from the Central Division as teams officially out of the Western Conference postseason.

Not to fret if you’re quackers about this club, the team under new general manager Pat Verbeek is loaded with high-end talent including likely Calder Trophy candidate Trevor Zegras, third-year pro and team leading scorer Troy Terry, and second-year defenceman Jamie Drysdale.

A sadder moment for the franchise’s fans was the recent announcement that longtime captain Ryan Getzlaf will be retiring after this season.

Stey Tuned

Not too much to look forward to from us on Tuesday at Rogers Arena, just a podcast from the rink updating all things Vancouver Canucks, a “Simmer’s Morning Skate” conversation with the Vegas Golden Knights, an NHL wager handicapping segment, and a preview of the Canucks – Golden Knights game.

Vancouver has eight games remaining after Tuesday night, including five of them at home. The Canucks finish the season in Edmonton against the Oilers on April 29th.

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