Vancouver Canucks: Analyzing the December schedule


There will be no place like home for the Vancouver Canucks in December, as 10 of their 13 games in the month will take place at Rogers Arena.

The Vancouver Canucks will be given a nice Christmas gift in the month of December, courtesy of the very generous elves/NHL schedule makers.

That is, the Canucks will be playing 13 games in the month of December, and 10 of them will be at home. Their only road games aren’t even that far from home, as the Canucks will only visit the Calgary Flames, Winnipeg Jets and San Jose Sharks.

So the Canucks basically save a lot of money on plane tickets, meaning the players and staff can be a lot more generous with their Christmas shopping.

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The Canucks don’t have an easy set of opponents in the months of October or November, and December doesn’t get all that much easier.

Highlighted by visits against some of the league’s top teams from 2017, Vancouver will have their hands full in the final month of this year.

Now, let’s take a look at how the Canucks stacks up in December.

Tell the world they’re coming home

The Canucks conclude the month of November with a grueling six-game road trip down the east coast. But in December, they’ll be welcomed back with a three-game homestand.

Vancouver’s schedule begins with an intriguing matchup against Auston Matthews and the Toronto Maple Leafs. It’s always a thriller when these two teams meet, as half of Rogers Arena becomes invaded by Maple Leafs fans. The Canucks have lost to the Maple Leafs at home just once since the lockout.

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The Canucks will then host the Carolina Hurricanes and Philadelphia Flyers. It’s worth mentioning that the former hasn’t won in Vancouver since 2000. So the Canucks will be happy to welcome these three.

After those three games, will embark on a two-game road trip.

Road, then home

The Canucks will have a short two-game road trip, as they visit the Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets. Two of the youngest and fastest teams in the NHL, both the Flames and Jets will be extremely tough challenges for Vancouver.

Calgary and Winnipeg are through rebuilding, while the Canucks are just beginning the long and painful process. It’ll be exciting to see how Bo Horvat and Vancouver’s youngsters stack up against the likes of Johnny Gaudreau, Patrik Laine and Mark Scheifele.

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After the road trip, Vancouver will host the defending Western Conference champion in the Nashville Predators. After that, matchups against the San Jose Sharks, aforementioned Flames and Carey Price‘s Montreal Canadiens take place.

Not exactly an ideal homestand for the Canucks. It doesn’t really get a whole lot tougher than four NHL powerhouses, so they should be thrilled if they can find a way to split the four-game set.

Grinding to the end of 2017

If the Canucks want to close out the year on a high note, they’ll have it in tough against four the toughest teams to play against. It starts on Dec. 21, when they visit the physical Sharks. On the bright side, it will be their final road game in two weeks.

Vancouver will return home on Dec. 23, hosting the St. Louis Blues — whose suffocating and physical defensive style really wore down the Canucks last season. This will be yet another very challenge for the kids.

After the Christmas break, the Canucks visit the Chicago Blackhawks — which of course is always can’t-miss television. The ‘Hawks have enjoyed visiting Vancouver, winning four of their last six trips to Rogers Arena.

Vancouver then closes out 2017 with a home game against the Los Angeles Kings, who have battered and bullies the Canucks since eliminating them in the opening round of the 2012 playoffs. Though L.A. is on the verge of needing a full-scale rebuild, they’re bigger and faster than the Canucks. They will not be a friendly opponent.

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And there you have it. The Canucks have plenty of home games in December, and must take advantage during their lengthy time here at Rogers Arena. A strong showing on home ice could make or break their hopes of making the playoffs in 2018.