Canucks have a legitimate chance to win the Stanley Cup

Vancouver Canucks. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Vancouver Canucks. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Following Tuesday’s win against the Vegas Golden Knights, it’s clear that the Vancouver Canucks are capable of winning it all.

Without a doubt, the Vancouver Canucks have been the biggest surprise story of the 2020 playoffs.

For many fans, simply defeating the Minnesota Wild in the qualifying round — to officially qualify for the postseason — was good enough. The five-year playoff drought was over, and anything that happened afterwards was simply a bonus.

Well, the fans were rewarded with quite a bonus in round one. The Canucks completely dominated the St. Louis Blues — defeating the defending Stanley Cup champions in six games.

That set up a round two showdown with the Pacific Division rival Vegas Golden Knights, who are just two years removed from a trip to the Stanley Cup Final.

Vegas embarrassed the Canucks by a final score of 5-0 in Game 1 on Sunday. It was easy for several fans and pundits to write off a younger and less experienced Vancouver team, but don’t tell that to head coach Travis Green.

The Canucks were a much different team in Game 2. They weren’t intimidated by the size and physicality of the Golden Knights. They didn’t let Ryan Reaves get in their heads. Robin Lehner was overwhelmed with a flurry of scoring chances. Vancouver defended Vegas’ speed and quick puck movement much better, and it all added up to a convincing 5-2 victory.

Now, we have a series. And  it’s time to realize that these Canucks could actually win it all in 2020.

Vegas is still the better team, without a doubt. But the Canucks have:

  1. The better goalie in Jacob Markstrom
  2. The league’s leading playoff goal scorer (eight) in Bo Horvat
  3. Elias Pettersson

These Canucks are more than capable of going toe-to-toe with Vegas over the remainder of the series. If Markstrom and the young stars continue to give the Golden Knights problems, and if they continue to push back, Vancouver could very well advance to the Western Conference Final for the first time since 2011.

The Canucks would then face the Colorado Avalanche or the Dallas Stars (who lead that series 2-0). Those two teams, like St. Louis and Vegas, have experienced inconsistent and often frustrating goaltending throughout the playoffs.

Vancouver isn’t as defensively sound as Dallas, but they have more skill and scoring depth up front. The Avalanche are better in most key phases, but again, the Canucks would have the advantage in goal.

Many didn’t give this team a chance against St. Louis. Many thought the Game 1 blowout loss was a sign that this would be an easy series for the Golden Knights. Nope.

Believe it or not, Vancouver could be far more than a short, sweet and nice Cinderella story. They are clicking in every aspect right now. Markstrom is playing lights out. The forwards are all doing their jobs, and scoring is coming up and down the lineup. The blue line has done a fine job in shutting down the opposition’s best players.

Next. Canucks: 3 takeaways from Game 2 win over Vegas. dark

If the Canucks can find consistency and continue to play the way they did against Minnesota, St. Louis and Vegas (in Game 2), the dream of this city finally welcoming the Stanley Cup might actually become a reality.