Not since the first four games of the season have the Canucks felt so good about themselves. After winning in Edmonton on Saturday night, Canucks players were reportedly joking around in the locker room about being a “juggernaut.”
Let’s be real, these guys are no Columbus Blue Jackets. However, winning three key games, all against divisional rivals, has to have this team brimming with confidence heading into the New Year.
However, there are some warning signs that this streak is unlikely to last. You could argue that the Canucks failed to put a 60-minute effort together against any of their last three opponents.
They sat back against the Kings and were outshot 37-20 in the victory. They looked awful against the Ducks on Friday, until Anaheim started to wear out on the second night of back-to-backs. Their victory against the Oilers might have been the most impressive, but they still relied heavily on Markstrom, who made 44 saves in the victory.
"Winning is fun. Everything is better when you're winning and there's a great vibe in the room right now." – Sbisa
— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) January 2, 2017
Colorado has had an absolutely disastrous season under first-year head coach Jared Bednar. With the Canucks recent win streak, they are now 12 points clear of the basement in the Western Conference, a place that Colorado unceremoniously holds.
Colorado Avalanche at Vancouver Canucks
Rogers Arena – 7:00 p.m. PST on Monday, January 2
Broadcast channels: SNP, ALT2
2016-17 Season Series: Nov 26 – Vancouver Canucks 3 – Colorado Avalanche 2 (SO)
Colorado Avalanche: 12-23-1 – 25 Points
Road Record: 8-10-0
Hot Players: Nathan MacKinnon and Tyson Barrie
Key Injuries: Erik Johnson and Semyon Varlamov
Mikko Rantanen – Matt Duchene – Jarome Iginla
Gabriel Landeskog – Nathan Mackinnon – Rene Bourque
Mikhail Grigorenko – Carl Soderberg – Blake Comeau
Andreas Martinsen – John Mitchell – Cody McLeod
Fedor Tyutin – Tyson Barrie
Nikita Zadorov – Francois Beauchemin
Patrick Wiercioch – Eric Gelinas
Vancouver Canucks: 17-18-3
Home Record: 12-6-2
Hot Players: Bo Horvat, Loui Eriksson
Key Injuries: Jannik Hansen, Erik Gudbranson, Derek Dorsett
Daniel Sedin – Henrik Sedin – Jayson Megna
Markus Granlund – Brandon Sutter – Loui Eriksson
Sven Baertschi – Bo Horvat – Anton Rodin
Brendan Gaunce – Michael Chaput – Jack Skille
Alex Edler – Troy Stecher
Luca Sbisa – Chris Tanev
Nikita Tryamkin – Ben Hutton
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap] With Alex Burrows sitting out this contest due to a scratch on his eye, it means that Anton Rodin will draw into the lineup for his second career game. He only logged seven minutes of ice time in his first contest, and Willie Desjardins didn’t have good things to say about his play. Rodin will get a chance to play with Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi tonight, who were both fantastic in Vancouver’s last game against Edmonton
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap] It’s truly mind boggling how bad the Colorado Avalanche have been this season. It’s been a steady decline for the Avalanche after they finished first overall in the Western Conference back in 2013-14. Their starting to remind me of the Edmonton Oilers. Lots of great young offensive talent, but not enough depth, defensive structure, or solid goaltending to make them a relevant team.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap] That being said, the Avalanche have fared marginally better on the road this season than they have at home. They are 8-10-0 on the road, but only have four home wins on the season. Their road record did take a hit in the month of November, where they won only three of 15 games in the month. That included a 10-1 loss in Montreal against the Canadiens on December 10th.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap] Vancouver needs stellar goaltending if they expect to compete for a playoff spot heading into the second half of the season. They’ve gotten it over their past three games, with Ryan Miller and Jacob Markstrom combining to stop 102 of their last 107 shots. Looking towards the future, the Canucks must be looking at giving Markstrom more starts. Not to take away anything from what Miller has done, but the Canucks need to start looking towards the future. It’s time for the 27-year-old to see what he can do when he starts a slew of games.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]5)[/miptheme_dropcap] With the Canucks only three points out of a Wild Card spot, they have a chance to tease fans by sneaking into a playoff spot next five games. After tonight, the Canucks play Arizona, Calgary twice, and Nashville. If they win the majority of those games (or if they steal a few points from Calgary), they may find themselves in a Wild Card position. This really isn’t the best thing for the franchise, who has routinely shown over the season that they aren’t a playoff contender. Nonetheless, they have a legitimate chance to sneak into the top eight in the Western Conference over the next five games.
KPU Journalism Graduate. Trevor has been writing for The Hockey Writers since October 2014. He has contributed articles related to the Ottawa Senators, Vancouver Canucks, and other issues/stories regarding the game of hockey. Trevor currently lives in White Rock, B.C.