The Vancouver Canucks will be battle-tested early in 2017-18, as they embark on an extremely tough slate of games in the month of October.
It may not take long for Vancouver Canucks fans to get an idea of what team will be iced in 2017-18. It took five months to figure out they were a sinking ship under old head coach John Tortorella, and about two-and-a-half seasons to see they were a team in need of a rebuild under Willie Desjardins.
But with new head coach Travis Green? Well, we don’t know what to expect in his tenure over the first two or three years. However, we will see what kind of team the Canucks will ice this upcoming season in the early going.
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That’s because the month of October isn’t particularly kind to Vancouver, judging by the plethora of quality opponents they must face.
Should they get through a brutal slate of games, perhaps they will be better than we expect. But if they limp out of the gate, then fans can expect a long season.
Everyone remembers the Canucks’ infamous 4-0-0 start to 2016-17, only for them to close out October with five consecutive losses. Fans could tell immediately that this would be a repeat of the disappointing 2015-16 campaign.
With that all taken into account, let’s dive into the Canucks’ October schedule, taking a look at the tough set of games they have to open up the season.
The Canucks open up the season on Oct. 7, where they’ll host Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers. Had it not been for an epic collapse in Game 5 of the second round vs. the Anaheim Ducks, Edmonton would have been in the Western Conference Final. They’re among the favorites to win the Cup this year.
After that, Vancouver welcomes the Ottawa Senators, who were one goal away from reaching the Stanley Cup Final. With head coach Guy Boucher and his suffocating defensive system, the Canucks’ youngsters will have their work cut out for them.
Vancouver then welcomes Mark Scheifele, Patrik Laine and the Winnipeg Jets, who figure to finally compete for a playoff spot in 2018. With superior depth on forward and on the blue line, Winnipeg will be a huge test for Vancouver.
The Canucks then welcome their best friends (sarcastic, obviously), in the Calgary Flames. After four consecutive home games against Canadian teams, Vancouver then continues its tough schedule on the road.
Rocky road trip
The Canucks will begin a five-game road trip in the nation’s capital on Oct. 17, where they’ll meet the Senators once again. Good to get those two tough games against Ottawa out of the way early.
Vancouver then gets a can’t-miss game against the Boston Bruins, in a 2011 Stanley Cup Final rematch. After qualifying for the playoffs in 2017, the Bruins should be competitive this upcoming season, thus a tough opponent for Vancouver.
The Canucks then visit the lowly Buffalo Sabres, followed by their first visit to Little Caesars Arena against the Detroit Red Wings. But Vancouver has just one win in their last five visits to Detroit, so consider that a not-so-fun matchup.
The Canucks come back home to host the Washington Capitals on on Oct. 26. The Caps have won their last four meetings against Vancouver, and the defending Presidents’ Trophy winners will really push this young team to its limit.
Then the Canucks play an opponent that they hate playing most — the Dallas Stars. With the additions of Ben Bishop, Martin Hanzal, Alexander Radulov and Marc Methot, the Stars appear to be ready for a run at the Stanley Cup. Vancouver also has just ONE win in its last 12 meetings against Dallas, so there’s that.
And there you have it. That’s the Canucks schedule for October, and not a fun one at that. But if these young players can escape the month with a winning record, then maybe the Vancouver Canucks won’t be as bad as many expect them to be.