Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
More than halfway there, will the Canucks crack the 100 point mark this season?
1 month ago
With a record of 24-10-3 and 51 points through 37 games, the Vancouver Canucks are on a 113-point pace this season. The thing about point projections is that they are just that – projections – a forecast of the future based on the past. And so it doesn’t necessarily mean the Canucks are going to collect 113 points when all is said and done. But with the impressive results they have posted through the first three months of this National Hockey League season, it certainly feels like the Canucks are headed to the team’s first 100-point campaign since 2014-15.
With Tuesday’s 6-3 win over Ottawa, the Canucks padded their point total and crested the 50-point mark with four games still to go before they reach the midway mark of the schedule. Again all indications are that the Canucks will reach the century mark this season. But saying it is one thing, it’s on this group of players to go out and make it happen.
And there are certainly some challenges awaiting in the second half of the season when both goals and wins are generally harder to come by.
The Canucks need not apologize for feasting on lesser competition this season. When you’re near the top of the standings, just about everyone else falls into that category. Using the NHL standings to date, the Canucks are a respectable 4-2-2 against teams currently in the league’s top 10. By extension, however, they have punished the rest of the league to the tune of 20-8-1.
That’s where the cautions come into play. The Canucks have only played eight of their 37 games so far games against the nine other teams currently occupying a spot in the top 10. They still have 17 games remaining on the schedule against that cluster of high-end opponents. So the second half of the schedule is littered with far more games against higher calibre foes than they’ve seen so far.
And of their final 27 games, a dozen are against four of the other top six teams in the Western Conference: four vs Los Angeles, three each against Vegas and Winnipeg and two still to come against Colorado. And really, that quest for 100 points could very well boil down to how the Canucks fare in those tough 12 tests. If they can sharpen themselves for the playoffs against high-end opponents, then most definitely the Canucks will join the century club and will likely surpass the 101 points the ‘14-15 team wrangled the last time the franchise qualified for a standard Stanley Cup tournament.
However, should the Canucks struggle against the rest of the best of the West, they may run out of games required to crack the triple-digit mark.
Look at the hockey math: the Canucks have 45 games to go meaning a potential of 90 points still up for grabs. They need 49 of them to reach 100. A record of 24-20-1 will get them there. That seems well within their grasp given that they already have 24 wins on the season. The regulation loss column will be the key to this equation. Incredibly, the Canucks have only 10 outright losses on the season so far. They have lost back to back games on just two occasions as they near the midway mark of their schedule. Just stop and read that sentence again. It’s truly remarkable stuff.
And so the idea that they will somehow lose 20 games in regulation the rest of the way when they’ve only dropped 10 to this point feels far-fetched. The club’s ability to bounce back from rare poor performances and nip any kind of substantial losing streak in the bud is one of the key reasons the Canucks are where they are in the standings.
Vegas just lost four in a row and has just one win in its last six. Colorado had a stretch of one win in six in early December. Boston had a run of two wins in eight last month. It happens. Even good teams go through funks over the course of an 82-game season. And yet to this point and to their credit, the Canucks have avoided any lengthy kind of skid. If that continues, then again, they’ll be laughing as they cross the 100-point threshold with games to spare.
Just about everything has fallen the Canucks way so far this season. They got off to the start they were looking for, their stars have levelled up, they have had remarkably good fortune on the injury front and they have rolled all that into a well-deserved perch atop the Pacific Division.
They may still hit a pothole or two before the season is done. That’s the nature of the business they’re in. They’ve set themselves up to be a playoff team and now it’s a question of how high they can finish.
And the very fact we’re asking questions about whether the Canucks can be a 100-point team is astounding on its own and a reflection of the way this hockey club has changed the narrative with its performance on the ice. Their pace has them angling for 113 points when all is said and done. It’s more likely, though, given the schedule and quality of competition still to come that there will be a slow down and, with it, some drama about whether the Canucks will be a 100-point team this season.
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