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Canucks Lock Up Playoff Spot With Help From Division Foes

The Vancouver Canucks backed into a playoff spot during their off day, and then reach 100 points on the following day

By Clyde E. DawkinsPublished 21 days ago 4 min read
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On Monday, March 25, the Vancouver Canucks had the NHL's first clinching scenario of the season, but they came up short in becoming the first team to clinch. They had another chance three days later, but they were defeated by the Dallas Stars. On the penultimate day of March, the Canucks were idle, but could still get in. They needed losses from the St. Louis Blues and the Minnesota Wild to get in. Minnesota's loss didn't have to be in regulation. St. Louis' loss, however, had to be in regulation.

Minnesota lost to the Vegas Golden Knights, 2-1, in OT, and it was the rare occurrence that saw them pull the goalie in OT (which worked for them a few weeks prior), only for Vegas to score into the empty net. By rule, not only did Minnesota lose the game, they also lost the point they received for reaching OT. So that was fulfilled, but St. Louis was facing the San Jose Sharks--one of the worst teams in the league. Surprisingly, the Sharks blanked the Blues, 4-0, which ended up placing the Canucks into the playoffs. On the following day, the Canucks celebrated their playoff berth and won Easter Sunday's only game, 3-2, over the Anaheim Ducks.

The Vancouver Canucks became the seventh team to clinch a spot in this year's Stanley Cup Playoffs, but on a larger scale, they became the first Canadian franchise to do so, meaning the chase is officially on for the Canadian Cup drought to come to an end. The Canucks are making their 29th playoff appearance in franchise history. That is tied with the Buffalo Sabres for the most playoff appearances without ever winning the Stanley Cup. The Canucks also share an unfortunate distinction with the Sabres: both teams debuted in the NHL in 1970, and have yet to win the Stanley Cup--the longest wait for Cup #1.

The Canucks have reached the Stanley Cup Final three times: 1982, 1994, and 2011--with the last two appearances coming since the Canadiens' last Stanley Cup. Since 2011, however, the playoff appearances haven't been plentiful, and definitely haven't been fruitful. Their best run since that 2011 Cup Final appearance came in the 2020 bubble. That year, Vancouver ousted the Minnesota Wild in the Qualifying round, and went on to eliminate the then-defending Cup Champion Blues before losing a seven-game thriller to the Vegas Golden Knights. It looked like the Canucks would build off that, but that run was followed by three straight seasons with no playoffs.

Now? The Vancouver Canucks appear to be a machine.

Once upon a time, I had Quinn Hughes on my fantasy team. This was because at the time, Hughes was coming off being a Calder finalist along with Cale Makar, which told me that the kid was good. However, the year I had Hughes on my fantasy team was disastrous for him. The numbers weren't racking up, and his Plus/Minus was deplorable. Fast forward to this year, and we are seeing the Quinn Hughes I wanted to see a few seasons back. He is absolutely tearing it up.

Quinn Hughes definitely belongs in the Norris conversation this year. Now let's get one thing straight here. I am a Colorado Avalanche fan. Cale Makar is my guy when it comes to blueliners. However, I have to be fair, I have to be objective, and I have to be factual about this. The fact of the matter is this: Quinn Hughes is an absolute beast this year. The numbers say so. 82 points, 69 of them helpers. He not only leads Vancouver blueliners in points, he is leading all defensemen this year, with only the aforementioned Makar being his main foe. Oh, and Hughes' Plus Minus? +38. The Norris race will be absolutely amazing.

Hughes' 82 points trails only JT Miller (94) and Elias Pettersson (84) in that category. Brock Boeser leads the team in goals with 38. As for goaltending, Thatcher Demko's making a case for the Vezina this year. He's sporting at 34-13-2 record, with a 2.47 GAA, a .917 SV%, and five shutouts. Only Connor Ingram (ARI) and Tristan Jarry (PIT) have more shutouts (six each).

So entering the month of April, seven playoff spots have been clinched, with nine to go before the NHL's Sweet 16 is completed. The Canucks look really good, though history says that no matter how good of a regular season the Canucks have, it's not enough for them to win the big one. They have a strong lead in the Pacific Division, so chances are, they'll finish first in the Pacific and face one of the Wild Cards. The Canucks have such a strong chance of winning the Cup. We will see if that comes to fruition.

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About the Creator

Clyde E. Dawkins

I am an avid fan of sports and wrestling, and I've been a fan of female villains since the age of eight. Also into film and TV, especially Simpsons and Family Guy.

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  • Philip Gipson20 days ago

    This recap definitely has me hyped after I read up on it.

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