VANCOUVER – The best way issues are going today, nearly each opponent seems like Goliath to the Vancouver Canucks’ David. However nobody is larger within the Nationwide Hockey League proper now than Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews.
A couple of-third via the season, the Edmonton Oilers’ McDavid is on tempo for 104 factors. Matthews has 18 objectives in 19 video games, placing the Toronto Maple Leaf on tempo for 52 objectives. We remind you, it is a 56-game season.
These totals are nearly unthinkable. Fifty objectives or 100 factors in a pandemic-shortened yr could be talked about ceaselessly in Canada. Both achievement could be considered historic.
And but the Calgary Flames, embarrassed 7-1 by the Oilers on Saturday and approaching a disaster level after 4 losses in 5 video games, went into Toronto on Monday and shut out Matthews and the mighty Maple Leafs 3-0. The Flames held Matthews to simply three photographs on purpose because the early Hart Trophy co-favourite, who had scored seven occasions within the earlier 4 video games, had a 16-game factors streak finish.
Tuesday night time, the equally determined Canucks should discover a solution to restrict McDavid, who’s coming off a hat trick and five-point recreation towards those self same Flames.
It will assist to observe Calgary’s blueprint: get excellent goaltending and rating a few occasions on the ability play. Each have been points for the Canucks.
However the recreation is more likely to come down merely to how nicely Vancouver defends towards McDavid and the Oilers’ different celebrity, Leon Draisaitl.
Of their season opener, which appears a decade in the past however was solely Jan. 13, McDavid was held pointless and the Canucks beat the Oilers 5-3. That was the excessive level of Vancouver’s season to date as a result of McDavid’s revenge got here 24 hours later when his 4 factors included a hat trick in a 5-2 win towards the Canucks.
“He’s probably the greatest within the league and everybody is aware of it,” Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes mentioned after Tuesday’s morning skate. “I feel he’s going to get his possibilities – he’s too good of a participant to not. For us, we’ve simply received to do nearly as good a job as we are able to to restrict what number of he will get. As a five-man unit, you’ve received to know when he’s on the market and also you may need to suppose defensive on that shift once you’re on the market.”
Canucks coach Travis Inexperienced will seemingly attempt to get his prime defence tandem of Alex Edler and Nate Schmidt out towards McDavid, fronted by Vancouver centre Bo Horvat, who performed certainly one of his greatest video games of the season head-to-head towards the Oiler in that fondly remembered season-opener.
Inexperienced revealed Tuesday morning solely that his goaltender will likely be Thatcher Demko, which was anticipated after Braden Holtby appeared terrible on one purpose and suspect on two others because the Canucks blew a two-goal lead and misplaced 4-Three in time beyond regulation Sunday towards the Winnipeg Jets.
It continued a dispiriting pattern that has seen the Canucks play vastly higher since their atrocious begin to the season, solely to search out the outcomes largely unchanged. Regardless of being the higher crew over their final seven video games, Vancouver is simply 2-3-2 in that span and teetering close to the underside of the North Division.
“It may well undoubtedly be exhausting at occasions to remain constructive,” winger Brock Boeser mentioned. “However all of us really feel within the room that we’re taking part in higher and we’re proper there. We’ve carried out quite a bit higher job defensively and never giving the opposite groups a whole lot of possibilities, working collectively to interrupt the puck out cleanly. There are just a few small particulars in a few of these video games … that price us. I feel if we deal with these, we’ll string a number of wins collectively, and that’s one thing we actually want proper now.”
The Canucks have had one profitable streak this season, a four-gamer on the finish of January that included three victories towards the last-place Ottawa Senators.
The Oilers and Canucks play a rematch at Rogers Area on Thursday. Edmonton has received 9 of its final 11 video games and, apparently, crushed each different crew within the division besides the Canucks.
“I feel our group is in a great mind-set,” Inexperienced mentioned. “I feel it’s unlucky that we’ve solely come out of the final six video games with six factors. However I do like the place they’ve come to from the place they had been in that stretch of video games. We met with our group right this moment … and talked about not wanting again and controlling what you possibly can. And what you possibly can management right this moment is what you do right this moment.”