The Vancouver Canucks overall record after 50 games does not look incredibly positive from the outside: 20-19-11. Looking closer tells the story of two very different seasons within a season.
What do I mean by two different seasons? Let’s dig a little deeper.
After the first 33 games the Vancouver Canucks’ record was: 11-14-8. Not exactly a record that screams playoff potential. Add to that the mass of injuries that caused countless line changes every game or the fact that consistency was hard to find early in the season. In the first 33 games, overtime was their kryptonite. Yes, they survived a few shootouts, but they could not solve the new 3-on-3 overtime conundrum. Injuries were happening left and right on the blue line taking out both of Luca Sbisa and Dan Hamhuis indefinitely.
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Quietly in the 17 games that have followed beginning on December 18th, the Canucks have begun to turn a tide, posting a respectable 9-5-3 record. They picked up their first 3-on-3 overtime victory against the Edmonton Oilers on December 26th and even picked up a few more overtime wins against the Carolina Hurricanes and the Florida Panthers.
Bo Horvat, who had just ten points in the first 39 games, has found his groove with twelve points in the last eleven games, including two game-winning goals against Carolina. Goaltending has stepped up, overtime is suddenly not as fear-inducing, injured players are returning to the lineup and after all this time, the Sedins are still committing acts of Sedinery including that franchise record goal versus Boston. Speaking of the twins, Daniel Sedin is representing the Canucks in his third all-star appearance this weekend.
Speaking of the twins, Daniel Sedin is representing the Canucks in his third all-star appearance this weekend.
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Yes, the odds are stacked against them as every single team in the division picks up points every day and the Western Conference tightens. The Canucks may not be the most explosive team on paper or even one of the teams that most people expect to be playoff bound. Perhaps the best part of this season for the Canucks is that so many people have low expectations due to their early struggles.
If they continue to build upon their early success in 2016, who knows what is possible, but one thing is certain: playoffs or no playoffs, how they finish the season is up to the team.
Who needs the odds? Odds were made to be broken. Are there still areas that the team can adjust? Yes, and the Canucks have 32 games left on their regular-season schedule to let how they play determine the how and where their season ends. Here’s to overcoming the odds and enjoying every step of the season’s journey wherever it leads.
Many fans will even say they would rather see the team play poorly down the stretch if it means a higher draft pick come June. Why not hope that no matter how the season ends, your team went out every single game with their best effort? Expect the unexpected.
Are you hoping for a high draft pick at season’s end or a team that defies the odds despite what the experts say? Leave us a comment below or tweet at us @FSTheCanuckWay.