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Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Monday Mailbag: The biggest need for game five, Gillis gets some sun, and Rathbone’s chances at making the Canucks

I’m back from vacation, so you no longer have to deal with Faber doing these mailbags, for now. You will still want to check back on Friday for Faber’s Friday Roundup (his new weekly column), but for now, let’s get into this week’s mailbag!

Emotions were high after last night’s loss, to say the least. I’m not sure how to answer this question, but I think I’ve got a pretty good answer:

The reason is because We Are All Canucks®

In all seriousness, games three and four of this series were two games that it felt like the Canucks really could have won had it been for some better puck luck.

In game four, the Canucks needed Jacob Markstrom to play like himself, but he did not.

Markstrom has been nothing short of remarkable all season long and into these playoffs, it’s been the same story.

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Markstrom had an off night, but Hughes and Pettersson (mostly Pettersson) have just been dominant each and every night. Those two and Markstrom are the biggest reasons why the Canucks have found success in these playoffs, but the bottom six really helped push the Canucks over the hump against the St. Louis Blues.

The only problem is, they’ve gone silent in this round. Another big performance from the bottom six players would be a major boost to this Canucks team, but I’m not sure if I would tab it as the biggest need.

The biggest need for game five is some better defensive play in front of Markstrom and a Markstrom-like performance from the Canucks’ starting netminder.

Simply put, they can’t afford to let in five goals. Not against a team as good as Vegas.

My prediction? They get just that in game five to make it 3-2 and force a game six. Markstrom is going to get some much-needed rest and be ready to go, and I’m really not counting this team out yet.

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Obviously the odds aren’t in their favour, but stranger things have happened in the playoffs than a team coming back after being down 3-1.

For example, legend has it that a team once stormed back in the form of three straight overtime victories in the playoffs to win a series.

Yeah, Pink Whitney really isn’t my cup of tea. If you want a sweet drink, have a little crown apple with some Sprite or 7UP, you can’t go wrong.

Before game four got underway yesterday, news broke that former Canucks GM Mike Gillis interviewed for the vacant Florida Panthers GM job.

That’s what’s going on, but it’s important to know Gillis wasn’t the only one to interview for the position.

In fact, he was one of many.

Bill Armstrong, Mike Futa, Chris Drury, Kevin Weekes, Scott Mellanby, Peter Chiarelli, and former Canucks AGM Laurence Gilman are all rumoured to have interviewed for the position. Those are some former GM’s, some well respected AGM’s, and some other guys who could all be excellent candidates in the minds of the Panthers.

If Gillis gets the job in Florida, he’d be teaming up with Roberto Luongo, who is currently a Special Advisor to the General Manager with the Panthers.

All the while, the recapture penalty sits on the Canucks’ books and the two parties who signed it share an evil laugh down south.s

Just kidding, the only people sharing an evil laugh over the recapture penalty is the folks over at the league office who created a rule that only punished the Canucks.

But yeah, that’s what’s going on in Florida.

Gaudette has looked fine manning the third line center role once again in these playoffs. In game three, he actually led all Canucks in Corsi with 62.96%, but in game four last night, Gaudette had an okay night in that department, posting a 46.88 Corsi rating.

But it’s not the Corsi rating alone that makes me say Gaudette is playing well. His play passes the eye test as well.

I’ve noticed it a lot in the past two games, but Gaudette looks solid at both ends of the ice. He’s moving his feet, and looks like he’s playing with a ton of confidence.

His decision making with and without the puck has been exceptional, and he’s looked more physically involved than most of his teammates have so far in this series.

To me, Gaudette has been just fine and isn’t underachieving.

This is a great question. Both Jack Rathbone and Olli Juolevi will be challenging for a roster spot out of training camp, and because Juolevi impressed the coaching staff during the audition he received during these playoffs, I’d give him the upper hand right now.

But don’t count out Rathbone, either. This is a player who is extremely skilled and looks as though he can be a truly exceptional NHL player. Maybe he spends a year in Utica, but I can’t see it being much longer than that. Rathbone is a really, really good player who might even be able to help the Canucks.

His chances may depend on what the Canucks do this offseason, as well. Do they bring back Oscar Fantenberg? Do they improve the blueline through free agency or a trade? These are all questions yet to be answered, but as of now, I’d say Rathbone has a decent chance at impressing the coaching staff enough to earn a roster spot.

Travis Green has done a good job in these playoffs. He was vital in the Canucks winning the series against the St. Louis Blues, and now, it simply appears the overachieving Canucks have simply met their match with a great Vegas team.

That’s nothing to be ashamed of, either. They knocked off the defending cup champions and proved many of their doubters wrong. Green isn’t a problem for this team, in my opinion.

Ask me this question again at the end of next season and let’s see if my answer has changed, but for now, Green is the right coach for this young team.

If Jacob Markstrom re-signs with the Canucks, the Thatcher Demko camp likely isn’t going to be very happy. If you think about it, nobody really expected Markstrom to be this good.

He was once viewed as the filler goalie to stop pucks for the Canucks until Demko, the goalie of the future, was ready to be a full-time starter.

Then Markstrom revealed himself to be one of the most elite goaltenders in the league, and everything changed.

It’s a tough decision to make, and one that will need to be handled carefully, especially with the Seattle expansion draft coming up at the end of next season.

Losing either Demko or Markstrom for nothing would be a tough pill to swallow, especially considering how much value each goaltender holds. A trade garnering valuable assets to make the Canucks better in return is the most ideal scenario, for sure.

That’s all for this week’s mailbag! To ask a question in a future mailbag, follow me on Twitter @Quadrelli and be sure to look out for the weekly mailbag tweet!