3 Takeaways From the Canucks’ 5-Game Winning Streak

The Vancouver Canucks have won five straight and picked up 11 out of a possible 12 points since the month of April started. The win streak is all part of a last-minute push to try and make the playoffs. While the chances are still slim, it is nice to see this team fighting to the end. Here are three takeaways from the team’s current five-game winning streak.

Canucks’ Special Teams Leading The Way

Early in the season, specials teams were wreaking havoc on the Canucks. They had a historically bad penalty kill, and the power play was just not good enough. These last five games, however, have been a completely different story. Starting with the penalty kill, they have killed off 14 of 16 penalties since the streak started. They also have a shorthanded goal scored by Luke Schenn on a 6-on-4 versus the Sharks. Overall, the team has only allowed 21 shots on goal while limiting the opposition to eight high danger scoring chances in over 26 minutes of shorthanded time. The penalty kill is finally stepping up, which is a major reason for their five-game win streak.

Luke Schenn Vancouver Canucks
Luke Schenn, Vancouver Canucks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

As for the power play, no team in the NHL has come close to the success the Canucks have had since Mar. 4. They have scored nine goals on 19 attempts for a power-play efficiency of 47.4 percent. While players like Quinn Hughes, Bo Horvat, J.T. Miller and Elias Petterson have stepped up, they have also seen production from some unlikely players. Alex Chiasson and Vasily Podkolzin have two goals each, while Oliver Ekman-Larsson has three assists. Even Sheldon Dries has factored into the scoring as he potted his first as a Canuck on the power play versus the Arizona Coyotes. Fans have been waiting for this type of production all season, but I guess it’s better late than never.

Vancouver’s Depth Scoring Coming Up Big

Depth scoring has played a huge factor in the Canucks’ current streak. One player that has stepped up is Chiasson. He is tied for the team lead with five goals during the stretch and has a total of nine points. Known mostly as a power-play threat, what has been impressive is his work at even strength, as five of his points have come 5-on-5. He is the breakout player not many fans or media members expected, but the one the team has needed to make this run possible.

Related: Should the Canucks Re-Sign Chiasson This Offseason?

The other is Podkolzin, who has been over a point per game player during the streak. He has six points in five games which included his first multi-goal game of the season on April 14 versus the Coyotes. His strong play has even led to some power-play success as he has two goals and has played over seven minutes in the five games. As for his overall ice time, he has seen a gradual increase and is now around or above the 15-minute mark on most nights. After a tough start, he is finally getting comfortable playing the NHL game, which is bad news for the remaining teams the Canucks have to play the rest of the season.

Thatcher Demko Almost Unbeatable

Thatcher Demko is arguably the Canucks’ MVP this season and has been near unbeatable during this winning streak. In the four games he has played, he has stopped 130 of 138 shots. The only goalies who have made more saves since Apr. 4 have all played one more game than he has. His crowning moment has to be the game in Vegas on Apr. 6 where he stopped 33 of 34 shots including a save where he somehow swept the puck off the line with his glove in a 5-1 win for his team.

What more can fans say about Demko? He is never out of a play and has delivered countless jaw-dropping saves all season. If the Canucks do find a way to make the playoffs, his play especially over the past four games will be one of the major reasons why.

Too Little Too Late?

The Canucks have their backs against the wall but are fighting tooth and nail for that final playoff spot in the Western Conference. They will most likely need to win six of their seven remaining games to make it in and hope that teams like the Dallas Stars, Vegas Golden Knights, Nashville Predators, Los Angeles Kings and Edmonton Oilers stumble down the stretch. The competition is going to heat up as well, as they only play two teams below them in the standings before the end of the season. Having said that, if they continue their hot play over the past five games, maybe they will have a shot.

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