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Photo Credit: © Bob Frid | 2019

The toughest part of the Canucks’ schedule still lies ahead

The Canucks have been infamous in recent years for getting off to a hot start, only to see the wheels fall off the wagon in November. Obviously, it’s too early to know where they’ll finish the season in the standings, but so far, it looks to be more of the same. After setting the NHL on fire through the first month of the season, they have just four wins through the month of November.

They faced some good teams over the course of that stretch, including the St. Louis Blues, Dallas Stars, and the Colorado Avalanche and have managed to salvage four points through five games of what was arguably toughest road trip of their season.

The road trip consisted of six games in 12 nights in Dallas, Nashville, Washington, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and the Edmonton Oilers, who the Canucks will face tomorrow night.

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It’s easy to understand why some fans were worried about the trip potentially derailing the Canucks season and undoing all the work they did in the month of October. It’s easily one of the toughest stretches of games they’re going to face all year.

Unfortunately, the team’s schedule-related woes  aren’t necessarily going to come to an end along with the month of November. There are still two more stretches of games coming up that could also give the team a fair bit of trouble. The first torublesome trip starts on January 7th, with a jaunt down to Tampa Bay to do battle with the Lightning. Then the Canucks will play the Panthers on the 9th, the Sabres on the 11th, the Wild on the 12th, and the Jets on the 14th. That’s five games in eight nights against some fairly decent competition.

The second burdensome road trip will take place roughly two weeks later, opening with a trip to San Jose on the 29th of January. Then the club will make stops in New York to play the Islanders on the first of February, then travel to Carolina to play the Hurricanes just a day later. Then the Canucks will wrap it up by playing the Boston Bruins on the 4th, and the Minnesota Wild on the 6th. The thing that makes this road trip a little less troubling than the first is that the Canucks will be off from the 18th to the 27th, when they will play one home game before heading out to San Jose to face the Sharks.

As you can see in the graph above, the Canucks have fallen off the rails in January and February in past seasons. If history repeats itself with this year’s team (as it has during the months of October and November), then the Canucks’ toughest road trips of the season could be the ones that they embark on in January and February.

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These two road trips late in the season, when the Canucks have played poorly in recent years, could very well turn out to be their greatest test of the season.