The Sunday Crease: Kids break the streak, Evander Kane and Playoff Watch

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All it took was 227 minutes and 57 seconds.

Despite all the odds being stacked against them, the Vancouver Canucks scored three goals on Saturday night against the San Jose Sharks, ending a nearly four-game long scoring drought that included being shutout in three straight games by the Coyotes, Kings and Ducks.

They still lost to the Sharks 5-3, but hey, baby steps.

The score doesn’t do the Canucks justice considering how hard they worked to stay in that game. Nikolay Goldobin had one of his best games in a Canuck uniform, Bo Horvat lead by example and the power play was on fire, scoring all three Vancouver goals.

The streak ending goal was my clear favourite of the night, and not just because of its importance. Jake Virtanen started the play, Reid Boucher set it up and Derrick Pouliot found an open Goldy who wired the puck past Aaron Dell.

It was a wave of youth that broke Vancouver’s scoring drought, and it was the way we needed it to end. If the youngest members of the Canucks continue to gain the trust of Travis Green and Canucks management through plays like that, it sets the team up for a better future no matter where the team picks in the upcoming draft.

Any first round pick the Canucks add in June will be an important piece to the rebuild, and nobody’s going to deny that. But one player can only do so much for an NHL team. Just ask poor Connor McDavid.

There’s still plenty of work ahead for guys like Goldobin, Pouliot and Boucher, but with ten games left on the schedule, now is a great time to give them votes of confidence by playing them in tougher situations.

I get that some people won’t like this strategy since it could “help the tank”, but showing prospects that you believe in them will go so much farther than the last stretch of the season.

Keep playing the kids, Travis. You won’t regret it.

Around the Rinks

The race to the playoffs has officially begun, with the Predators and Lightning becoming the first teams to clinch a spot in the postseason over the weekend. That means it’s time for the clubs at the outside of the playoff picture to slam their foot on the gas, but who still actually has a chance?

2018EastPlayoffs18-3-18

In the East, the Panthers dropped two crucial points in a 4-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers yesterday, but they’re still the likeliest team that could upset the Eastern Conference’s current playoff spot holders, especially with the Hurricanes and Islanders going on massive cold streaks lately.

NHL Hockey Standings _ NHL.com (1)

The Western Conference is where the real action is, with the Avalanche and Kings currently clinging onto the wild card spots, with the Stars, Blues and Flames right behind. Dallas is actually tied with Los Angeles in points, but the Kings have the tiebreaker in regulation and overtime wins.

The Flames and Stars have been struggling a lot lately, so I don’t expect them to crack the top eight as a result. If any team is going to squeak into the playoffs, it’s St. Louis. As long as their goaltending holds up, they can definitely steal a wild card spot.

Last night was Evander Kane‘s first visit to Vancouver since being traded to San Jose at the Trade Deadline, where he’s rediscovered the scoring knack that made him a 4th overall pick back in 2009. Kane has 10 points in just nine games with the Sharks, including an amazing four-goal performance against the Flames on Friday.

A lot of people have questioned his work ethic (I’m admittedly one of them) after some controversial moments in his last two homes in Winnipeg and Buffalo. But I’m really happy to see how much success he’s already had in the Bay Area, especially since I has the fortune of being able to watch Kane as a Vancouver Giant over a decade ago. I sincerely hope this is the exciting turning point in his NHL career that we’ve all been waiting for.


Do you think Travis Green should play the Canucks’ prospects more in the last ten games of the season? Leave a comment below!

One thought on “The Sunday Crease: Kids break the streak, Evander Kane and Playoff Watch

  1. Yes.
    Now is the best time to give them an opportunity to really experience different challenging situations and scenarios that would only benefit the players as well as management in the years to come.
    Experience is gained from play time …
    You can only learn so much from watching others and tapes etc.
    I really enjoy your reporting .
    Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

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