You know by now the Vancouver Canucks lost 4-1 to Anaheim on Tuesday night at Rogers Arena. They surrendered two goals in the first 97 seconds, and at that point the outcome was no longer in question.
The result was hardly a surprise given the strength of opponent and the opposite directions the two clubs are headed with less than two weeks to go in the National Hockey League regular season. So, sure, it was just another loss for the Canucks in a season full of them, yet at the same time it was much more than that. It was the team’s 97th loss since the start of last season as the Canucks close in on a ghastly and almost inconceivable 100th setback in just two cycles of the schedule. That’s a lot of losing.
The Canucks dropped 51 of their 82 games a year ago going 31-38-13. The hope was this team in transition had reached rock-bottom with its 75-point campaign. That was the hope. The reality has been a continuation of many of the same issues that plagued the hockey club in 2015-16: struggles to score, special teams woes, a lack of elite level talent and a rash of late-season injuries.
This year’s version of the Canucks is now very much in danger of failing to reach the 75 point mark – the low bar established just one season ago. With six games to go, the 2016-17 Canucks are now 30-37-9 on the season with 69 standings points to their credit. Combine the regulation and overtime/shootout losses, and the team has dropped 46 of its 76 games played. Add that to last year’s 51 losses, and you’re looking at a team that has tasted defeat a staggering 97 times that last 158 times it has taken to the ice. Three more losses in the final six games and the Canucks will have the dubious distinction of suffering 100 losses in a two-season span. That’s a lot for an organization to absorb and challenging, too, for a fan base demanding progress to process, too. To put it in perspective: only Colorado, nearing the end of an epically bad season, has lost more games than Vancouver over the past two seasons – but not by much. The Avs have dropped 99 games and the Canucks have now lost 97 (61-75-22).
So how do you lose 100 games? Well, as the Canucks have demonstrated over the past 18 months, there are many ways. The following is a breakdown of how the Canucks arrived in this spot. They have suffered 51 of their setbacks on the road and 46 in front of the home fans. They have lost at least once to each of the other 29 teams in the NHL over the past two seasons. San Jose and Calgary have stuck it to the Canucks more than any other teams while Columbus and Tampa Bay are the only teams that have not beaten the Canucks in regulation time since the start of last season.
No team in the league has feasted on the Canucks more than San Jose over the past two seasons. The Sharks are 6-2 against the Canucks with two more head to head meetings over the coming week. Calgary has also posted six wins against Vancouver since the start of last season going 6-4 in their ten meetings.
The five-win club includes Anaheim, St. Louis, Winnipeg, Dallas and for now Edmonton, although the Canucks still have a home and home set with the Oilers to finish the season.
Perhaps, not surprisingly, given the talent levels on both teams Pittsburgh and Washington both swept the Canucks in each of the past two seasons posting regulation wins in each of the games. New Jersey also beat the Canucks in all four of their match-ups winning twice in regulation and twice in overtime.
Here is the Canucks record against all 29 other NHL opponents over the past two seasons: