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Photo Credit: © Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Bo Horvat’s second postseason proves he’s a force to be reckoned with

The second postseason for the captain was one to remember.

Bowie William Horvat led the playoffs in goals with ten during the Canucks run, despite being in a matchup role against the other team’s best players, i.e., Ryan O’Reilly.

A bull-like effort throughout the welcomed playoff run, Horvat took charge and led by example as a great captain.

“Horvat has responded by elevating his game in these playoffs as he paces the NHL with nine (ten) goals. The four-goal stretch he had to open the St. Louis series almost singlehandedly powered the team to the critical 2-0 lead they claimed, and he’s chipped in with another three goals in the Vegas series. By stepping up on hockey’s biggest stage, Horvat is upping his stock as a leader and clutch performer.” –The Athletic

Horvat vs Wild

Horvat’s game-winning goal gave the Canucks the team’s first win in the postseason since 2015. The last Canuck to score a game-winner was the future hockey hall of fame inductee Daniel Sedin who beat Jonas Hiller back in 2015.

Horvat added another goal during the series and was a point per game. His underlining numbers were fantastic, winning 58.3% of his face-offs while just shy of averaging 20 mins per game (19:53). Horvat’s Corsi percentage was third on the team among forwards who played 15 mins or more in the series with 52.94%.

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His contribution led the Canucks to the round of 16 to play against the defending champs.

Horvat vs Blues 

If the series against the Wild was any indication. Canucks fans were in for a treat with what Horvat brought to the table.

Panels across North America had picked the defending Stanley Cup champions to beat the Canucks and move on to the second round. However, Horvat had second thoughts. Horvat helped push the team to a quick 2-0 series lead with back to back two-goal games while winning 53.6% of his face-offs in game one and 69% (nice) in game two.

Overall in the series, his face-off percentage was 55.6% despite playing against one of the best two-way players in the league in O’Reilly. Horvat averaged 22:07 minutes per game, however, because he was playing in a matchup role, Horvat’s Corsi numbers don’t jump off the page. The only Canuck player with 50% or more was Jake Virtanen, Horvat sat at 41.38%.

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Horvat was all over the ice against the Blues while pushing and pulling the group in the first round of the playoffs like a true captain would and endured a date with the top-seeded Knights.

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Horvat vs Knights 

Many didn’t even think the Canucks would win the series, let alone a game against the Vegas Golden Knights, but Bo n’ co took them to seven games staving off elimination twice.

It wasn’t a strong series overall among any player outside the crease. Everyones Corsi was under 50%, and Horvat was 38.84%. Not great, but nothing was great about the series.

Horvat managed to pop in four goals during the seven games against the Knights, averaging 19:45 of ice time and going 62.4% on draws. Horvat’s strong defensive plays were there all postseason long.

The wrap

Overall the Canucks management and coaching staff made the right call back in training camp, rewarding the hard-working centre with the “C.” Horvat has shown in this playoff run that his best hockey comes later in the year.

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The only “C” Horvat got this season was the captaincy. In the playoffs, his performance gets an A- from me.