3: No time for the blues
The standard Jake Virtanen goal is one of a sudden rush, lightning acceleration, blazing speed, and a quick shot taking the opposition goalie by surprise. The Vancouver Canucks took on the St Louis Blued on December 20th riding a 5-1-1 record over the previous seven games, having won just one of the previous 13 games before that. This was the period of the season where the Canucks turned their season round in an ultimately vain attempt to challenge for a playoff spot.
On this occasion, Jake subverted expectations by wiring a laser of a shot from the point past Jake Allen in the Blues’ net, putting the team’s fourth goal on the board en route to a 5-1 scoreline. It was Virtanen’s 11th goal of the season, in just his 38th game, and the assist he also picked up gave him a stat line of 11-7-18. At this stage, he was still on track for 20 goals.
In his final 32 games of the 2018/19 season, Virtanen picked up just 4-3-7. Like Nikolay Goldobin before him, Jake has suffered from a lack of consistency – both in his own performances, and in having regular linemates. The chance to create some permanent chemistry would surely pay huge dividends for both player and team, and Jake showed us enough offensively this season to justify a bigger role next year.
This was a season of what could have been for Jake Virtanen. We continue to hope for an offensive breakout – which may never come – but there is no denying Jake can be an electrifying presence in the lineup. Let’s hope for a big summer from the Canucks’ 6th overall draft pick from the 2014 Entry Draft and to plenty more Shotgun Jake moments next season.