The Canucks’ next few games should allow Elias Pettersson to rediscover his scoring touch

Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Gould
7 months ago
Elias Pettersson is undeniably in a little bit of a rut.
The Vancouver Canucks are still firmly in a Pacific Division playoff spot, largely by virtue of their terrific start to the season and the general incompetence of most of their rivals, but their No. 1 centre has gone a tiny bit cold over his last seven games.
Pettersson, 25, has been held to just one goal over the last seven games. Although he also has three assists in those contests, Pettersson has also dealt with a tough stretch of on-ice results over that span.
His minus-8 rating since November 11 is by far the worst on the team. In fact, nobody in the league has fared worse since then. Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos is the only other minus-8 player since Remembrance Day, and at least he has six points in six games during that stretch.
Pettersson is widely believed to be dealing with with some sort of nagging lower-body injury, with The Province‘s Patrick Johnston pointing to a potential groin issue on Thursday’s edition of Sekeres and Price. But whatever the cause of his recent lull may be, the Canucks need No. 40 to be back at his best as they enter the real grind of the regular season.
Here’s the good news: Vancouver has a relatively light schedule over the next few weeks. But here’s the less good news: Pettersson’s last seven games have been against the Maple Leafs, Canadiens, Islanders, Flames, Kraken, Sharks, and Avalanche. Sure, that list is bookended by pretty good teams, but the middle isn’t exactly a murderer’s row.
Nevertheless, this weekend offers an interesting opportunity for Pettersson to rediscover his groove against two very familiar (and underwhelming) opponents. The Canucks will finish up a three-game road trip on Friday and Saturday with games against the Kraken and Sharks, respectively. Those two teams have combined for just 11 wins in 40 games this season — and eight of those are Seattle’s.
It’ll also be worth watching for whether Pettersson is able to end his own personal drought of 10 games without an even-strength goal. He last scored at 5-on-5 back on November 4 against the Dallas Stars. That feels like an eternity ago.
To wrap up the month of November, the Canucks will return home to take on the Anaheim Ducks and Vegas Golden Knights. They’ll kick off December with another meeting with the Flames, this time at the Saddledome, on the December 2 edition of Hockey Night in Canada.
At the end of the day, it’s certainly doesn’t induce much anxiety to focus on Pettersson’s production compared with some of the much larger problems that have ailed Canucks teams of the past. He’s still alone in sixth place on the leaguewide scoring leaderboard. But if the Canucks truly want to take the next step toward contention, their standards need to be sky-high for absolutely everyone.
EP40 included.

Check out these posts...