Oh what the heck, let’s throw some rocks on to the path as the Vancouver Canucks attempt to climb a very steep mountain. They’re officially missing two of their top six forwards, Bo Horvat and Tanner Pearson due to injury, while most of the NHL Western Conference teams they need to lose keep winning.
Scoreboard watching on Sunday was limited to just the Nashville Predators, a club residing in one of the two Western Conference wild card spots. With their loss to the St. Louis Blues 8-3, this is how things stand with the Vancouver Canucks set to the host the Dallas Stars on Monday and the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday at Rogers Arena.
3rd Place – Pacific Division – Los Angeles Kings – 77 games played, 90 points
1st Wild Card – Dallas Stars – 75 games played, 91 points
2nd Wild Card – Nashville Predators – 76 games played, 91 points
Vegas Golden Knights – 76 games played, 87 points
Vancouver Canucks – 75 games played, 84 points
Lose Monday to the Dallas Stars and the Vancouver Canucks are unofficially toast, even with the Los Angeles Kings stumbling to the finish line and vulnerable.
The most encouraging note heading into the match is the way Vancouver has handled the head-to-head match-up with Dallas this season.
The Canucks defeated the Stars 6-3 at Rogers Arena way back on November 7th under head coach Travis Green. Horvat had a goal and two assists while Pearson had an assist. Brock Boeser, slated to return to the Canucks line-up on Monday, had and empty-net goal and an assist.
The other head-to-head took place in Dallas on March 26th and Vancouver prevailed in a crucial match-up 4-1. Elias Pettersson was the hero with two goals including the game-winner while Horvat tallied an empty-netter.
Energy line winger Matthew Highmore is also expected to return to the line-up Monday. He and Boeser took part in the full practice on Saturday in Burnaby. Highmore didn’t play in either of the two previous games this season against the Dallas Stars.
As Canucks radio voice Brendan Batchelor pointed out Saturday, Vancouver forward Nils Höglander underwent successful surgery to repair a core/groin injury and ‘there is no timetable for his return’. Meaning he’s done for the season and he’ll begin rehabbing heading into the summer.
Could he make it back even if the Canucks pull off a miracle playoff bid? Not bloody likely.
Simmer’s Game Day
Ummm, so I’ve been giving out some wagering advice over the last three days and if you’ve been applying the knowledge you’ve done pretty well. As in 5-and-0 on Saturday and 11-and-2 overall. I only do games involving Canada-based teams and only if there’s more than one game.
With teams having locked up playoff spots and players being rested, this may be a very limited exercise the rest of the regular season, but stay tuned just in case. I’ll handicap the playoffs once we get there.
Enjoy the Hockey Action!!