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Saturday Could Officially End Chase for Vancouver Canucks

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Vancouver Canucks
The Vancouver Canucks celebrate a goal against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night.

If the Vancouver Canucks lose in regulation to the Calgary Flames on Saturday night and the Dallas Stars beat the Seattle Kraken, the playoff chase for the Canucks would mathematically end with three games to play. Even if they subsequently finished up 3-and-0, they wouldn’t be able to catch the LA Kings, nor the Nashville Predators or Stars because of tie-breakers.

Here’s where they stand as of Friday night with no games of relevance to the Canucks taking place.

3rd Place – Pacific Division – Los Angeles Kings – 79 games played, 94 points

1st Wild Card – Nashville Predators – 77 games played, 93 points

2nd Wild Card – Dallas Stars – 78 games played, 91 points

Vegas Golden Knights – 78 games played, 89 points

Vancouver Canucks 78 games played, 87 points

There’s also the threat of having to overtake the Vegas Golden Knights should they bump into a spot.

Gabby Said It

“We’re not eliminated yet so we’re gonna fight until they say we can’t fight anymore,” Canucks Head Coach Bruce Boudreau said on Friday. “That’s the attitude of the players. I think if you talk to them, we just had a meeting about it, and that’s the way we’re going to go about it tomorrow.”

Playing their third game in four nights, the Canucks lost on Thursday to one of the two hottest teams in the Western Conference. The Minnesota Wild defended home turf by winning a heavy game 6-3.

“They (the Canucks) never complain, they just keep going on, we get a guy with a broken nose, and he just wants to play, and he’s 37-years-old,” Boudreau said in reference to Brad Richardson, who suffered the injury in the first period on Thursday. “There’s a lot of heart in that room, so tomorrow it will be a pretty good effort that we’ll put forth.”

Speaking of Richardson, he was the player’s voice with the media on Friday. The Canucks claimed him off waivers from the Flames on trade deadline day, March 21st. Richardson played 27 games this season for the team he’ll be playing against on Saturday night. He’s tallied two goals and an assist in his 13 games since joining the desperate Vancouver club.

“It’s a group that hasn’t quit, it would have been pretty easy to pack it in and say ‘yeah, we’ll get it next year’, but you can see the record since Bruce came in and it’s probably top ten in the league,” Richardson said. “To still be in the fight here and hanging on and competing to the end, it’s pretty impressive.”

The Flames have picked up 17 of a possible 20 points in their last ten games. They’ve locked up the Pacific Division title, but are battling for potential later-round home ice in the postseason with the Central Division’s Minnesota Wild. The Wild have 107 points, the  Flames 106.

Calgary features one of the NHL’s top offensive units, the top line of Johnny Gaudreau, Elias Lindholm, and Matthew Tkachuk.

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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