The Vancouver Canucks are off until Feb. 21 and they will need the extended break because their final five matches this month have significant playoff implications.
After winning just one of three games on their California road trip, the Vancouver Canucks are in practice mode until Feb. 21.
The Canucks enter the four-day break coming off a tough 3-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Feb. 16 at the SAP Centre. With the loss, Vancouver’s point total stays at 59, one point out of the final Wild Card playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Minnesota Wild hold that postseason berth with 60 points, entering play on Sunday.
Given that the rest of the conference is technically within arms reach of the final wild card spot, the Canucks in for a grueling finish to the 2018-19 campaign. Needless to say, this extended break is coming at a good time because three of their five remaining games in February boast major playoff implications.
Their first game back from the four-day hiatus comes against the Arizona Coyotes, who are right behind Vancouver in the Wild Card standings. At 57 points, the ‘Yotes are fresh off a 2-0 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs and are 4-5-1 in their last 10 games.
They will have two games against the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers before heading to Vancouver for the Feb. 21 affair. By the time the Canucks and Coyotes clash, there is a decent chance Arizona will hold the eighth Western Conference playoff berth. If that is the case, extra pressure is on the Canucks’ shoulders.
Vancouver takes on the New York Islanders on Feb. 23 and the Anaheim Ducks two days after before squaring off with another pesky Wild Card contender on Feb. 27, the Colorado Avalanche. They are tied with Arizona at 57 points.
Although the ‘Avs have one win in their last ten games, they still feature two game-breaking scorers in Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon, who have 76 and 75 points respectively. If they find their groove, the Canucks could be in for a challenging road match.
One day later, the ‘Nucks head to Glendale, Ariz. for another tilt with the Coyotes. Not only are the ‘Yotes in the thick of the Wild Card chase, but they have also excelled against Vancouver this season. Arizona defeated the Canucks in each of their previous two meetings, so recent history will favour on the Coyotes in their next two games.
Squeeze in those matchups with the red-hot Islanders and a Ducks team Vancouver has lost to twice, and the Canucks could be in for a bumpy finish to February. If they want to continue thier push for the playoffs, winning those three games against Colorado and Arizona are crucial.