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What it would mean for the Vancouver Canucks to “run the table,” and if it would even be enough to get them into the 2022 playoffs

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Photo credit:© Derek Cain-USA TODAY Sports
Stephan Roget
7 months ago
“Run the table.”
That’s a phrase you’re going to hear associated with the Vancouver Canucks a lot over the next week or so.
And, no, folks aren’t talking about a new BC-based, culinary-themed rap duo. They’re talking about what the Canucks will need to do if they want to have any hope of earning a spot in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Most had counted the Canucks out of the postseason race after a string of three key losses to the St. Louis Blues (twice) and the Vegas Golden Knights. But the three straight dominant victories that followed have reignited the conversation for some, and thus talk of table-running has ensued.
But here’s the thing: even if the Canucks do the incredibly improbable and run said table, they’re still not a shoo-in to make the playoffs. Below, we’ll examine exactly what the Canucks winning from here on out would mean, and under what scenarios it would allow them to extend their season beyond April. To do that, we’re also going to need to take a close look at those teams they’re still (realistically) chasing.
All standings current as of Monday, April 11, 2022.
Vancouver Canucks
Current Position: 80 points, fourth in Western Wild Card
Games Remaining: 9
Maximum Point Finish:
98 points
For the Canucks, the century-mark is already out of reach. Should they run the table and win all nine of their remaining games, they’ll finish with a record of 98 points. That’s usually a good enough number to make the playoffs, although whether it will be in 2021/22 remains to be seen.
Hidden within those nine games are three key “four-point” games against the Golden Knights, Dallas Stars, and Los Angeles Kings. By winning those, the Canucks pick up two points and prevent the teams they’re chasing from picking up any.
Even if they do all that, however, there are no guarantees to be had.
Edmonton Oilers
Current Position: 90 points, second in Pacific Division
Games Remaining: 9
Maximum Point Finish (If Canucks run the table): 106 points
At this point, the Oilers aren’t technically uncatchable, but they may be practically so. With 90 points already, Edmonton needs to pick up just eight points in their final nine games to keep ahead of the table-running Canucks. That’s a 4-5-0 record, which seems rather doable for a team that is 7-2-1 in their last ten.
We’ve included them here for completion’s sake, but the Canucks would be wise to keep their attention on more realistic goals than catching up to the Oilers.
Los Angeles Kings
Current Position: 86 points, third in Pacific Division
Games Remaining: 8
Maximum Point Finish (If Canucks run the table): 100 points
No one expected the Kings to be this high in the standings this late in the season, and maybe those expectations weren’t entirely misplaced. Los Angeles has been floundering of late and are losers of their last three in a row, which has brought them back down to Earth and back within reach of those teams behind them — including the Canucks.
But even if the Canucks complete their table-run by beating all nine of their remaining opponents, including the Kings, they could come up two points short. They’ll need LA to notch at least one additional loss somewhere else on the schedule, too.
That part shouldn’t be an issue, given the Kings’ recent record.
Nashville Predators
Current Position: 87 points, first in Western Wild Card
Games Remaining: 10
Maximum Point Finish (If Canucks run the table): 107 points
The Predators represent perhaps the Canucks largest obstacle in obtaining a Wild Card position. The Canucks have no games remaining against Nashville, the Preds have a game in hand, and they’re already up by seven points. The Predators would have to do a lot of work to knock either St. Louis or Minnesota out of the Central Division’s top three, but the same could be said for any of the teams trailing the Preds, including the Canucks.
Even in a table-running situation, Vancouver would need Nashville to go 5-5-0 from here on out to even have a hope of matching their record.
Dallas Stars
Current Position: 86 points, second in Western Wild Card
Games Remaining: 10
Maximum Point Finish (If Canucks run the table): 104 points
The Stars currently hold the final playoff position in the West, but that hold is a tenuous one. Dallas is just a scant six points ahead of the Canucks with a game in hand, and the Canucks can close that gap to four points by winning the upcoming matchup between the two. But even that four-point swing won’t be enough to cinch anything. The Canucks would need the Stars to drop at least three of their other nine remaining games to catch them, leaving Dallas with something like a 5-4-1 record down the stretch.
In other words, it’s less about the Canucks catching the Stars and more about the Stars letting the Canucks catch them — but for a Dallas team that has been up-and-down all season, that’s not entirely unlikely.
Vegas Golden Knights
Current Position: 84 points, third in Western Wild Card
Games Remaining: 9
Maximum Point Finish (If Canucks run the table): 100 points
The good news is that the Vegas Golden Knights are eminently catchable. The Canucks are only four points back, and can reduce that to just a two-point gap by proving victorious in Wednesday’s crucial four-point game. If they do that, and proceed to run the table, the Golden Knights would have to run their own table to stay ahead of the Canucks. Winning Wednesday’s matchup almost gives the Canucks a degree of control over their own destiny.
But here’s the bad news: the Golden Knights aren’t in a playoff position right now, either, so catching them doesn’t exactly do anything for the Canucks’ postseason hopes. Vegas is still without Mark Stone, but they’re as healthy as they’ve been all season, and 7-3-1 in their last ten games.
They stand out as the team that the Canucks are most likely to catch, but it’s still not a guarantee and it might not matter, anyway.
Run the Conclusion
Optimists and pessimists will view the breakdown above very differently.
On the one hand, there’s definitely hope to be found. The Canucks need to run the table and hope that at least Dallas and Vegas don’t do the same, and then they’re in. That’s not too much to ask, is it?
Well, maybe it is. On the other hand, running the table is statistically improbable and — combined with the last three consecutive wins — would constitute the Canucks going 12-0-0 to end their season.
If they do, that’s great. No, actually, that’s legendary, and would easily be the greatest stretch-run in franchise history.
If they don’t, however, then the numbers become decidedly less encouraging. Any given loss adds two points to the gulf that the Canucks are trying to make up, and requires one less win from the teams ahead of them to stay ahead. A loss against either the Stars or the Golden Knights, and you can pretty much kiss any postseason hopes goodbye.
But for those still looking for a chance to cheer for, it’s there to be found.
Now it’s just up to the Canucks to lace up their metaphorical runners and start scuffing up some tablecloths.

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