When the Vancouver Canucks got out to a 4-0 start to the 2016-17 season, the consensus within the hockey world was the Canucks weren’t just regression-worthy, a drop-off was imminent.
Well, what do you know? Since a shootout loss to Los Angeles on Oct. 22 to keep its season-opening point streak going but falling to 4-0-1, the Canucks have dropped four straight games – all in regulation – to fall to 4-4-1. Vancouver has been outscored 14-4 in the three losses, three of which came at home.
The Canucks have been outshot by nearly nine shots per game in that span, losing the shots on goal battle by an average of 31.8-23. Vancouver’s score and venue adjusted corsi-for percentage has slumped to the lowest in the league at 42.65; No. 29 is the Islanders, at 45.5. Its shots-for per 60 minutes of 22.54 is nearly three shots lower than 29th-place Winnipeg (25.32).
The bright spot for the Canucks has been its goaltending, ranked ninth in the league with a .925 save percentage. Vancouver can only be helped in the crease with the return of starting goaltender Ryan Miller.
Beyond that, however, the Canucks don’t have much to offer. The Sedin twins, at their height two of the best players on the planet and Hall of Fame locks, are declining as the two climb into their thirties. Big offseason pickup Loui Eriksson has yet to score a goal in nine games.
If there’s a team that would be best served bottoming out and getting a chance to have a choice of either Nolan Patrick or Timothy Liljegren in next June’s draft, it’s this one. And it looks like it’s trending more and more of that being the case with Vancouver, a franchise in need of a reboot.
The NHL announced the rosters for the league’s all-star game in Anaheim, Calif. later this month, with Bruins center Patrice Bergeron the lone player representing Boston in the three-on-three tournament among the four NHL divisions.
Under the new format, a three-on-three tournament with the four divisions have 10 players selected by the league. Each division also has a captain selected by fans. Florida Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr was voted to represent the Atlantic, with his counterparts being Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin (Metropolitan), Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane (Central), and Arizona Coyotes forward John Scott (Pacific).
Yes, John Scott was selected as a captain. Fan votes never let us down.
The teams are composed of six forwards, three defensemen, and two goaltenders.
Bergeron is the Bruins leading scorer, with a 15-22–37 scoring line in 38 games, which ties for 12th in the race for the Art Ross Trophy. His 37 points is the second-highest total of his career through 38 games, the high-water mark coming in 2006-07, when he put up 42 (13-29) in his first 38 contests en route to a second straight 70-point season.
It’s the second straight year Bergeron will be flying solo at the event, barring injuries or withdrawals from other players. Candidates for replacements include Brad Marchand (15 goals), Loui Eriksson (34 points in 38 games), Zdeno Chara (plus-10 rating fifth-highest among defensemen in Atlantic), and Torey Krug (one of five defensemen in Atlantic with 20 points).
When Jimmy Hayes scored in the final second of regulation for the Bruins on Tuesday night against Ottawa, it put an exclamation point on the B’s 7-3 win over their Atlantic Division rivals. It also gave Hayes his first NHL hat trick.
But in terms of reaching a statistical milestone not recorded in quite some time – or in Hayes’s case, ever – the job had already been done.
With Hayes’s three-goal night along with two-goal performances from Patrice Bergeron and Matt Beleskey, the Bruins had three multiple goal scorers in the same game for the first time since Dec. 28, 2001.
In that game, the Bruins defeated the Florida Panthers, 7-1, on the heels of two-goal performances by Bill Guerin, Mike Knuble, and Glen Murray. The other goal scorer that night was Rob Zamuner.
Also in that 2001 game, Joe Thornton notched five assists, which has been done by a Bruin just once since, when Bergeron assisted on five goals on Dec. 19, 2006 against Ottawa. Overall, there have been 25 such performances since the night Jumbo Joe had a helper for each hand.
While there was no five-assist performance on Tuesday night, there were certainly no puck-hogs wearing black-and-gold, as 13 Boston assists were recorded on the scoresheet, the highest since the B’s recorded 14 on Feb. 18, 2014, a 7-2 win over the Sens. Loui Eriksson, Torey Krug, Ryan Spooner, and Max Talbot each had two assists on Tuesday.