The Vancouver Canucks needed a win. Uncharacteristically, the team had lost four games in a row and needed to stop the bleeding. Against the playoff-bound Colorado Avalanche, they did win. The final score was 6-3 and that win allowed them to currently hold onto one of the playoff spots in the tight Western Conference. However, the team needs to keep winning to assure a place in the postseason.
In this post, I want to keep Canucks fans up-to-date with news and rumors emerging from the team.
Item One: Zack MacEwen’s More than a Tough Guy
Zack MacEwen scored his first career multi-goal game when he hit the back of the net two times in Friday’s 6-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche. The 23-year-old winger now has five points in 15 games this season. Unless things change drastically, he’s unlikely to score with such regularity as he did Friday. However, he looks to be a good line partner with Antoine Roussel and Adam Gaudette: that line had three goals and six points in the game.
MacEwen was signed by the Canucks as a free agent in March 2017. He has always had great size and strength, at 6-foot-4 and 211 pounds, but he hadn’t yet played much at the NHL level. He’s totaled four goals and six points in 15 NHL games.
However, MacEwen had shown skill with the team’s AHL affiliate the Utica Comets and had scored 20 goals and 52 points in 69 games last year with that team. This season, he’s been in the Canucks line up only because Jay Beagle, Josh Leivo, and Micheal Ferland have all been injured. MacEwen adds size and grit to the Canucks’ roster and should he be able to add some secondary scoring, he’ll be a godsend.
As he noted about his game, “It was a really big two points. We were clicking well … creating offense off our forecheck. The chances were there, and we ended up burying them.”
MacEwen shared his resolve to stay with the team when he suggested: “I’m trying to do whatever I can do stay in the lineup and help the team whenever possible. Each game I’m feeling more and more confident.”
Canucks’s captain Bo Horvat summed up MacEwen’s contribution: ”Zack had a great night. Not only on the score sheet but he was hitting guys, backchecking, moving his feet.”
Item Two: Tyler Toffoli a Point-a-Game Player with the Canucks
With Tyler Toffoli’s assist in Friday’s 6-3 win over the Avalanche, the 27-year-old has eight points in eight games with his new team. For the season, Toffoli has 23 goals and 42 points in 66 games. He’s fit in naturally and has looked as if he’s been with the team for a long time.
Item Three: Elias Pettersson is No Longer on a Point-a-Game Pace
Elias Pettersson had an assist in the 6-3 victory over the Avalanche. With that point, Pettersson’s hit the score sheet in five of his last nine games (and has scored three goals and four assists in those games). As good as that is, it isn’t up to the scoring pace he set earlier in the season.
Specifically, Pettersson’s scoring is no longer at a-point-a-game pace (he has 64 points in 66 games). However, he’s well past the pace he set in his rookie season, a season where he scored 66 points during the entire season.
Item Four: Alexander Edler Sets Milestone 300th Career Assist
Edler scored an assist against the Avalanche. What was so special about that point is that it was the 300th assist of his career (he has scored 99 goals, so he might reach another milestone very soon). That assist came in Edler’s 871st career game.
The veteran Swedish defenseman has been on a bit of a scoring streak recently and has scored a goal and seven assists in his last eight games. So far in 2019-20, Edler’s scored 31 points in 57 games.
Item Five: Adam Gaudette Has a Two-Assist Game
Adam Gaudette and his line had a strong game. His two assists ended a four-game scoring drought for the 23-year-old center. Gaudette now has 32 points in 57 games for the season.
Although he’s been playing all over the line up this season, Gaudette’s having a far better season than many hockey experts predicted. He adds energy to the Canucks roster and has taken a huge step forward. He’s shown he can be one of the team’s core players.
Item Six: Tanner Pearson Scores Empty Net Goal
Tanner Pearson scored another empty-net goal in Friday’s 6-3 win over the Avalanche. The 27-year-old Pearson has scored four times in his last seven games and now has 21 goals and 45 in 67 games.
Item Seven: Troy Stecher Has Scored Six Points in His Last Eight Games
It wasn’t long ago that rumors suggested Troy Stecher’s career with the Canucks might be close to an end because he was headed to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Tyson Barrie. Obviously, that trade never materialized. It was also obvious that Vancouver-native Stecher wanted to stay with his home team.
Perhaps those rumors motivated his scoring. The 25-year-old defenseman now has 16 points in 68 games this season and has scored six points in his last eight games. That pace is unusually high for him. He’s playing well.
Item Eight: J.T. Miller Has Scored More Than 70 Points
J.T. Miller scored a goal against the Avalanche and has now scored five goals and nine assists in his last eight games. He’s having a career season with the Canucks and has set career highs in almost every scoring category.
Specifically, he has scored 27 goals, 44 assists, and 71 points in 67 games. His previous best was 56 points in 2016-17 with the New York Rangers. The 26-year-old winger has been a valuable addition to the Canucks roster.
What’s Next with the Canucks?
The Canucks play the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday. The Blue Jackets will be playing the second game of a tough back-to-back. They played a great game against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night, but only a strong goalie performance by Mikko Koskinen allowed the Oilers to win.
The Canucks are in the midst of a tough fight for a playoff position, and any win would help them achieve that goal.
The Old Prof (Jim Parsons, Sr.) taught for more than 40 years in the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta. He’s a Canadian boy, who has two degrees from the University of Kentucky and a doctorate from the University of Texas. He is now retired on Vancouver Island, where he lives with his family. His hobbies include playing with his hockey cards and simply being a sports fan – hockey, the Toronto Raptors, and CFL football (thinks Ricky Ray personifies how a professional athlete should act).
If you wonder why he doesn’t use his real name, it’s because his son – who’s also Jim Parsons – wrote for The Hockey Writers first and asked Jim Sr. to use another name so readers wouldn’t confuse their work.
Because Jim Sr. had worked in China, he adopted the Mandarin word for teacher (老師). The first character lǎo (老) means “old,” and the second character shī (師) means “teacher.” The literal translation of lǎoshī is “old teacher.” That became his pen name. Today, other than writing for The Hockey Writers, he teaches graduate students research design at several Canadian universities.
He looks forward to sharing his insights about the Toronto Maple Leafs and about how sports engages life more fully. His Twitter address is https://twitter.com/TheOldProf