3 significant X-Factors that will ultimately make or break the rest of the Canucks season

Turbulence is inevitable across an 82-game season, and the Canucks have finally started experiencing it recently after dropping three straight.

Feb 20, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Vancouver Canucks center J.T. Miller (9) celebrates his goal in
Feb 20, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Vancouver Canucks center J.T. Miller (9) celebrates his goal in / Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
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Vancouver’s penalty kill needs to find a way to step up

Through 58 games, Vancouver has allowed 39 power play goals out of 183 penalty kill opportunities, good for just a 78.69 success rate. This is slightly below the NHL average, and as of February 21st, their PK unit ranks 21st in the NHL. 

For context, only two teams currently slated to make the NHL Playoffs are ranked lower than Vancouver: the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Winnipeg Jets. Toronto is currently hovering between a top-three and wild card spot, leaving the Jets as the only other pure top-three team in the league ranked in the 20s. Two contenders who could find themselves landing a spot in the wild card are also ranked 20th or worse - the New Jersey Devils (20th) and the Nashville Predators (26th).

A playoff-caliber team like the Canucks can’t allow this to go on for much longer, and they need to find a way to fix the penalty kill before it becomes an issue down the stretch. It’s clear that there is a strong correlation between making the playoffs and possessing a strong penalty kill, and that will become even more important when the playoff race reaches its most intense stages.