Vancouver Canucks 3 stars of the week: The Lotto Line returns and Pius Suter emerges

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Dave Hall
5 months ago
The Vancouver Canucks have managed to score 13 goals in the year 2024, 12 of which stem from just two games.
The scoring has included the usual suspects in the top six, a highly effective third line, and even contributions from the backend (looking at you, Ian Cole.)
Everything was going great…until it wasn’t.
Despite the majority of the season going swimmingly, there continues to be an underlying issue of a revolving door of line combinations. With the exception of the third line, we have yet to see and enjoy a set forward group, which has led to inconsistent play in various stretches over the past few weeks.
Even though they manage to carve out victories, there appears to be something missing within this group.
Luckily, the trio of Conor Garland, Teddy Blueger, and Dakota Joshua have stepped up and picked up the slack when necessary. However, there is no question that the team needs to find a more permanent solution, preferably of the top-six contributor variety.
As the Canucks approach the midway point of the season, they currently hold a strong position in the standings, sitting second league-wide with a 25-11-3 record.
This time, all the teams have caught up in games played, so it’s a much more true placement.
With just a few games left before reaching the midpoint of the season, a playoff appearance for the Canucks is increasingly looking like a secure bet.

Third star: Pius Suter

The Vancouver Canucks have been enjoying a luxury that has been somewhat scarce in recent years: consistent secondary scoring.
Pius Suter emerged as a key contributor during the week, most notably, with a big game against the Ottawa Senators, netting two goals and adding an assist and plus-four, en route to a 6-4 victory at home.
Impressively, he led the team with 10 shots this week, and if he wasn’t scoring goals, he was quietly providing tons of pressure, winning puck battles and setting up linemates.
In a stretch where the lineup continues to run through the blender, Suter has demonstrated his versatility by seamlessly adapting to various roles for coach Rick Tocchet.
Whether stationed on the top or fourth line, occupying a wing or centre position, or contributing to penalty kills or power plays, Suter has proven his ability to contribute effectively across different situations.
You name it, he’ll play it.
He even managed to score the Blooper Goal of the Year.

Second star: J.T. Miller

J.T. Miller entered the week on an eight-game goalless streak, and as this week’s second star, you better believe he tossed the monkey off his back.
On just five shots, Miller scored three goals and added two primary assists. Notably, he led the league with a plus-six rating over the week, with a standout plus-five night on Saturday after being reunited with Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser.
With this strong week, Miller reaches the 50-point mark (53), making him the first player on the Canucks to reach the milestone this season and placing him fifth in league scoring with 18 goals and 35 assists.
After what some considered a “down” year with 84 points in the 2022-23 season, Miller is back on track, and then some, producing at an impressive 111-point pace clip.

First star: Elias Pettersson

Elias Pettersson kicked off the New Year in spectacular fashion, netting four goals.  This included multiple two-goal games, a game-winner, and five points over the week, four of which came at even-strength.
Saturday’s match witnessed the revival of the “lotto line”, and the trio delivered an outstanding performance, combining for eight points and leading the team to a 6-4 victory in New Jersey.
Pettersson has demonstrated his ability to contribute offensively regardless of his linemates. However, the inconsistent revolving door of wingers, often featuring players more suited for bottom-six roles, has most certainly impacted his production.
Saturday’s game provided a glimpse into the potential offensive output for Pettersson when playing alongside legitimate scoring options.
Sure, the team is winning games, and the Swedish star is firing at a 101-point clip for the year, so it’s not all negative And yet, one cannot help but wonder how high the offensive production could go had he been given proper NHL scoring linemates all along.
As CanucksArmy’s Wyatt Arndt so eloquently put it:
The Canucks will continue their Eastern road trip throughout the week, playing in four games over six nights. This stretch includes a matchup against their former captain, Bo Horvat, on his new home turf.
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