Vancouver Canucks: Analyzing the November schedule

WINNIPEG, MB - MARCH 26: Alexander Edler
WINNIPEG, MB - MARCH 26: Alexander Edler /

The Vancouver Canucks have a tough schedule in October, but their slate of games in November won’t be any easier. Here is an in-depth look at at their opponents.

The upcoming 2017-18 season will mark the first unofficial year of a Vancouver Canucks rebuild in the 21st century, so fans don’t really know what to expect.

New head coach Travis Green replaces the fired Willie Desjardins, and the Canucks are hoping their younger players will be able to assume the responsibilities of leading this team into a different era.

We’ll certainly get a good look from the Canucks in October, but their play in the opening month of the season won’t necessarily dictate how they play through the rest of the season. Remember the good ol’ Northwest Division-winning days when the Canucks always slumped through October? Then they’d wake up and run away with the division?

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Oh, and they started out 4-0-0 last season, only to finish as the second-worst team in the NHL last season.

It could take a while for the Canucks players to figure out Green’s system, in which he hopes to implement more speed and better puck transition.

The good news for the Canucks is they have some tough opponents in October. The kids will be well battle-tested and they’ll see what it takes to beat the top teams.

But the bad news? This brutal schedule in November will be overwhelming for a rebuilding Canucks team.

Now, let’s take a look at Vancouver’s schedule in the second month of the 2017-18 season.

No place like home

The Canucks will welcome back old friend Cory Schneider and his New Jersey Devils to kick off the month of November. All eyes will be on first-overall pick Nico Hischier, of course. Vancouver’s owned New Jersey over the years, but Hischier could be a tough test for the Canucks’ inconsistent defence.

The Canucks will then welcome the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins (yikes). Sidney Crosby and co. have won four consecutive games against Vancouver, and eight of the last 10 overall. Let’s just assume it may not be a pretty site for the Canucks and their fans.

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After that, their five-game home stand concludes with a visit from the Detroit Red Wings. One of the Canucks biggest rivals in the 2010s, it’s always a pleasure to welcome the Winged Wheels back to Rogers Arena.

Vancouver will hopefully take care of their home contests, because the road trip doesn’t look all that pleasant.

Life on the road

Vancouver then has a scary four-game road trip following their home stand. It begins with a visit against the Calgary Flames, who happen to be Vancouver’s biggest rival by far. Always must-watch television when these two meet.

The Canucks will then visit the three California teams, from Anaheim to San Jose to Los Angeles. It’s only the most brutal road trip any NHL team has to take every year, so what could go wrong for Vancouver?

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Vancouver then gets a pair of home games, first vs. the St. Louis Blues and then their first contest against the Vegas Golden Knights.

After that? Hold on for dear life. The Canucks visit Nolan Patrick’s Philadelphia Flyers, followed by rematches with the Penguins and Devils. They then visit the New York Rangers and New York Islanders, before concluding the month (and their road trip), against the Western Conference champion Nashville Predators.


So many elite matchups in such a little time frame. Vancouver is going to have their hands full, especially when you take into account how much they struggle on east and west coast road trips.

The good news for the Canucks is that they get through one California road trip early. They’ll be done with the Penguins for the season in November (barring a Stanley Cup Final between the two teams), and will have that grueling Atlantic coast trip out of the way.

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But all that matters is that this team finds a way to escape the month of November with a string of W’s. Given how unkind November has been to them the last few years, the Vancouver Canucks really need to reverse their fortunes if they want to enter December in the playoff race.