The Vancouver Canucks will need Quinn Hughes at his best if they plan to bump the slump and takedown Cale Makar and the visiting Colorado Avalanche.
It’s game 67 of the Vancouver Canucks 82 game regular season and they’ll be head-to-head versus their Western Conference foes, the Colorado Avalanche. Desperate for a victory, Vancouver will come out guns blazing giving it everything they’ve got as the club has dropped their last four straight and are quite close to being wiped out of a playoff spot altogether.
The Canucks’ twitter page reminded the fanbase that Friday night is the final Era Night in Van-City as the Canucks will be rocking their old school Orca jerseys in the warmup. 2000s night will surely up the spirits of the current Canucks roster, hopefully, it gives the team another gear and they can skate away with a much-needed win.
Nearly every team in the west is creeping up on the Canucks. It’s really no surprise considering Vancouver is battered and bruised, missing a handful of regulars including all-star netminder, Jacob Markstrom, and the 2018 All-Star Game MVP, Brock Boeser. Nonetheless, there’s no time for excuses and this once very promising playoff team must find a way to dig deep and get some lucky bounces.
The moment everyone has been waiting for will finally go down. The two Calder favourites, Quinn Hughes and Cale Makar will battle it out, with each of them not only hungry to outplay the other, but also very determined to get two points this late in the season. The better performer on Friday night might be the difference-maker, but according to Hughes himself, he doesn’t think any rookie across the league has been better than him in his last 30 contests. His words will be put to the test. Can he back it up?
Players to watch:
Quinn Hughes: The newest Canucks rookie is blowing minds with his skating ability alone. But that’s just scratching the surface of what this kid can do from the backend. He has made the Calder Trophy a two-horse race, and many believe he’s the frontrunner. He’s gathered 52 points already this year, with a 5 point gap ahead of Makar, which gives him possession of fourth overall in points by a defender.
Cale Makar: He cooled down a touch where he was pointless over a three-game span, but he’s got an assist in each of his last two games. With the rookie scoring race slipping from his grip, look for Makar to hit the back of the net on Friday. It’s been exactly a month since he scored last, he’ll need to change that if he hopes to begin his NHL trophy case with a Calder award for best rookie.
Bo Horvat: If there is ever a time for the captain to step up, it’s now. Not so long ago, the Canucks held the top spot in the Pacific and looked to be an actual playoff threat. Now, Vancouver has been handed the short straw and the young core needs some guidance from the team’s biggest leader. He’s done everything he can to help this squad, but he needs to do more. Can Horvat get things done? Don’t be surprised if the captain drops the gloves early in an attempt to make a statement.
Nathan MacKinnon: He’s got 88 points already, he’s one of the league’s very best, and he’s hot right now. Three points in his previous two games, MacKinnon knows how to get the job done. He’ll be matched up against the Canucks best. Can the Canucks find the answer to keep Mackinnon at bay? Expect the Canucks’ oldest blueliner to stick to him like glue and shut him down.
Prediction: 5-3 Canucks
The Canucks will do whatever it takes to win this game. After a bad road trip, some horrible puck luck and maybe some losses that should have been wins, Elias Pettersson and the Canucks will not be denied. It’s always good hockey when these two teams meet. Maybe Pettersson can have another 5-point night. It wouldn’t be the first time as he’s done it before versus the Avs. Can he do it again?