The Vancouver Canucks will be without one of their key players for the final seven games of the year.
On Friday afternoon, the team announced that Bo Horvat would be sidelined for at least two weeks with a lower-body injury, making him unavailable for the remainder of the season.
The injury occurred during Thursday’s 7-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes, when Horvat blocked a shot just above his right ankle early in the second period. The 27-year-old centre managed to hobble his way to the bench, but did not return for the rest of the game.
Horvat only logged eight shifts in just over eight minutes of ice time as a result.
Initially, it appeared that Horvat’s injury wasn’t considered too serious, with head coach Bruce Boudreau just ruling him out of Monday’s game with a “day-to-day” injury.
Unfortunately, the diagnosis turned from bad to worse over the next 12 hours, ultimately leading to the team’s Twitter announcement.
The injury could not have come at a worse time for Horvat, who had been on an offensive tear as of late.
Since returning from the All-Star Break in early February, Horvat had amassed 18 goals and 11 assists in just 28 games, including eight multi-point outings, putting him at just over a point-per-game pace for the club during that span.
The former 2013 first round pick also found some personal success during his streak, surpassing his previous career-high goal total of 27 that he set back in 2018-2019.
This accomplishment marked the first time that Horvat reached the 30-goal milestone in his career, while also placing him amongst some elite company throughout the league in the process.
Barring a miraculous comeback, Horvat will finish this season with 52 points in 70 games, including a team-leading 31 goals and 13 powerplay goals. He also currently sits fourth in team scoring, only behind J.T. Miller, Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes.
Of course, Horvat’s injury could not have come at a worse time for the team’s current playoff aspirations, either.
With Thursday night’s victory, the Canucks were able to keep themselves very relevant in their postseason chase, sitting just five points back of the Dallas Stars for the second and final wild card spot in the Western Conference.
Although it’s unlikely that the Canucks will be able to catch up to the Stars, given their remaining games in hand, as well as the strength of the Central Division combatants, there’s still a decent chance that Vancouver could sneak into the playoffs through the Pacific Division, with only Los Angeles and Vegas slightly ahead of them.
Unfortunately, the uphill battle will become a lot more steep given how many players, including Horvat, have recently been declared unavailable to the team.
As mentioned, Höglander will be out indefinitely after undergoing successful core muscle/groin surgery, while Pearson is still listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury.
However, Boudreau did hint that both Boeser and Highmore could return as early as next week, giving the team a much-needed boost to their top-nine forward group.
The Canucks are back in action on Monday night, squaring off against Dallas in yet another do-or-die game for the club. Puck drop is set for 7:30pm PST.
What are your thoughts on Horvat’s injury and its impact on the team’s playoff hopes? Let us know in the comments!