The Vancouver Canucks desperately need the secondary scoring to show up if they want to bust out of this recent skid.
Having lost four games in a row, the Vancouver Canucks have seen their lead in the Pacific Division shrink down to a single point over both the Edmonton Oilers and the Vegas Golden Knights.
The Calgary Flames, who skated to an easy 6-2 victory at Rogers Arena on Saturday night, are only three points behind the Canucks. Simply put, the Pacific Division leaders missed a prime opportunity to distance themselves from the field.
Vancouver’s five-game road trip got off to a promising start with wins against the San Jose Sharks and the New York Islanders. They proceeded to lose the next three, before Saturday’s frustrating outing against the Flames.
Injuries to Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser haven’t helped during the four-game losing skid. And Jacob Markstrom can’t be Superman in the crease every night. It’s just not possible to steal that many contests when you’re facing extremely high numbers of shots and scoring chances like he has on a gamely basis
There are plenty of reasons why the Canucks struggled over these past four games, but the lack of secondary scoring has been especially concerning:
- Jake Virtanen, in the midst of a career year, has zero points in his last five games.
- Bo Horvat hasn’t scored a goal since Jan. 27. He’s been limited to two assists over his last six games.
- Tanner Pearson has one goal and zero assists in his last six.
- Brandon Sutter has one goal in the new year.
- Loui Eriksson got off to a nice start in 2020, but he hasn’t hit the score sheet once in the last five contest.
- Antoine Roussel has one goal since Jan. 7.
Most of these players will eventually regain their forms. Virtanen is especially a streaky scorer, so he’ll likely score in bunches again in short time. Horvat and Pearson should be just fine, too. At least, their track records say so.
But from now until the end of the season, the Canucks really need some consistency from their forwards — and the bottom-six have got to produce some goals every now and then. If Vancouver becomes a one or two-line team again, their playoff hopes will be in serious jeopardy. It’s time for the Canucks bottom-nine to step up.