The Vancouver Canucks have lost three straight, and their Pacific Division lead is slipping. But the fans shouldn’t hit the panic button just yet.
After winning the first two of a five-game road trip, the Vancouver Canucks proceeded to lose the final three contests — and their lead on the Pacific Division is down to two points.
Vancouver (65 points) is barely ahead of the Vegas Golden Knights (63 points), though it should be noted that the Pacific Division leaders have played one less game. The Edmonton Oilers aren’t far behind at 62 points, and they have a game in hand on the Canucks.
But the three-game losing skid isn’t the biggest concern in Vancouver. Rather, it’s the health of Elias Pettersson, who was inactive in Thursday’s 4-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild. The 21-year-old was injured after taking a hard hit from Matt Grzelcyk in Tuesday’s tilt with the Boston Bruins.
It’s unknown how long Pettersson could be out for, though head coach Travis Green called it day-to-day, per Patrick Johnston of the Vancouver Province. Obviously, the playoff hopes take a hit if Pettersson is out a while, but that’s likely not going to be the case.
Now, despite the three-game losing streak and concerns about Pettersson’s status, Vancouver fans shouldn’t start worrying just yet. The team was due for a minor road bump after winning seven of their last eight. You can’t stay hot forever.
Luckily for the Canucks, three of their four challengers in the Pacific have also been slumping. The Oilers fell 6-3 at home to the lowly San Jose Sharks on Thursday, and they’ve dropped three of their last five games.
The Calgary Flames have dropped three straight games (all at home) and five of their last six overall. Their top stars haven’t been consistent whatsoever, and at some point, you have to wonder if it’ll ever come around.
And finally, the Arizona Coyotes have fallen mightily after a superb first half. They’ve gone 2-6-3 over their last 11 games, and unless Darcy Kuemper continues to mask a heavily flawed team, it’s unlikely that the Coyotes will be a playoff team. I don’t see them as a threat to win the Pacific at this point.
The Canucks are now heading home for a six-game homestand, and four of those contests are against teams who aren’t in the playoff race.
If Vancouver continues its dominant play on home ice during the homestand, they should be able to distance themselves even further from the divisional foes. Take a deep breath and exhale, Canuck fans, because everything is going to be okay.