Don’t look now, but the Vancouver Canucks haven’t lost a game since December 4th. Of course, it’s been almost two weeks since they last played a game, but their six-game win streak is impressive regardless. As the NHL’s extended Christmas break finally comes to an end, you may have forgotten exactly what’s going on in the league. Here’s a refresher on the current situation of the Canucks and their upcoming opponent, the Anaheim Ducks.
Immediate success has graced the Canucks under new Head Coach Bruce Boudreau, who has yet to lose a game behind the Canucks’ bench. The team also brought in Scott Walker as an Assistant Coach and Jim Rutherford as President of Hockey Operations.
In case you haven’t seen it on Canucks Twitter in the last five minutes, I’ll remind you: Tyler Myers is a good defenseman now. Boudreau encourages his players to play a north-south game, which allows Myers to rush the puck. He’s much more responsible in his own end, and has allowed only two even-strength goals against since the coaching change. The recent spike in his playing time allows him to shine even more. No more “Chaos Giraffe”, at least for now.
Brock Boeser is another benefactor of the change in coaching staff. Boudreau has been nicknamed “The Brock Whisperer”, as Boeser owns five goals and seven points under Boudreau. Previous to the coaching change, Boeser sat at four goals and ten points on the season, causing many trade rumours involving his name.
Boudreau is using Elias Pettersson and Bo Horvat on the penalty kill. Special teams were the root of the Canucks’ problems for the first quarter of the season, but they’ve improved significantly under Boudreau.
The Ducks are one of the biggest surprises in the NHL this year. They were expected by most to be in that awkward position between the playoffs and the draft lottery — not that that’s a problem for the Ducks, whose cupboards are currently stocked with young players most teams can only dream of. They sit in second place in the Pacific Division, tied in both points and games played with the Vegas Golden Knights.
Perhaps the biggest surprise about the Ducks, however, is Troy Terry. The 24-year-old is one point short of a point per game. Previous to this year, he’d never scored more than 20 points in a season. His 18 goals have him tied for fourth in the league in that category.
Trevor Zegras is making a strong case for himself in Calder Trophy debates for Rookie of the Year. If you haven’t seen his Michigan-style pass to Sonny Milano at least a dozen times over the past couple of weeks, you should go watch it again. He sits at 25 points in 30 games. Not bad for someone who can’t even legally drink in the US. Fortunately for the Canucks, however, Zegras is in COVID protocol, meaning they won’t have to face him on Wednesday.
Ducks Captain Ryan Getzlaf is earning every penny of the $4.5 million contract he signed this off-season. He makes up for his lack of goals (one) with 20 assists over 27 games. As always, he’s the guy everyone looks up to in the locker room, and provides an excellent example for the young guys to follow.
Season Series Overview
The two teams played once this year already: A 3-2 overtime win for the Ducks. The Canucks were down 2-0 for most of the game, but managed a couple late goals to force the extra frame. Terry potted the OT winner for the Ducks.
Both teams will come out swinging. They’re well-rested and ready to go. This is a four-point game, as the two teams are in the same division. Can Boudreau knock off his former team, or will the Ducks go up two games to none in the season series?
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