hockey-nhl-van-ana-.jpg

Canucks schedule: Who ordered these Ducks? Not much meat on the bone

Bruce Boudreau’s calm at the Canucks helm is critical. He’s wary of a wounded beast in the 2-6-1 Ducks, without a road victory heading into Tuesday night at San Jose

Article content

You won’t find Bruce Boudreau’s extensive hockey Rolodex on his cellphone, in a folder or filing cabinet.

Advertisement 2

Article content

It’s located between his ears.

Article content

The Vancouver Canucks’ head coach is not only cut from an old-school cloth, he easily can cut to the chase and vividly recall losing and winning streaks, big comebacks and brutal collapses and those who made it all happen.

When the Canucks stumbled out of the gate to start this season, Boudreau cranked up his Way Back Machine. 

He referenced his Anaheim Ducks, who started 1-7-2 in the 2015-16 season and would go on top the Pacific Division with 103 points. It came on the strength of stellar netminding from John Gibson, who finished second in goals-against average (2.07), plus Corey Perry’s 34 goals and Ryan Getzlaf’s 50 assists.

However, the Ducks were dispatched in the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs by the wild-card Nashville Predators in seven games. The Ducks dropped three of four games on home ice, including Game 7, and it cost the coach his gig.

Advertisement 3

Article content

Boudreau is guiding another turnaround as the Canucks are finding their mojo, and the proof is not hard to find.


NEXT GAME

Tuesday

Vancouver Canucks vs. New Jersey Devils

7 p.m., Rogers Arena.

TV: SN 360. Radio: Sportsnet 650.


It’s about improving roster health and top players heeding a demand by general manager Patrik Allvin to be the best players every night and not just on some nights. It’s better structure and transition in unison and it’s also Boudreau. His calm at the helm is crucial.

Boudreau knows to be wary of a wounded beast in the Ducks. A 2-6-1 record without a road victory heading into a Tuesday test in San Jose, isn’t a true read on a club with emerging young talent. But his focus is singular on the Canucks to find consistency and make a playoff push credible and not laughable.

Advertisement 4

Article content

“I’ve been through this all before and the playoffs aren’t won in October,” said Boudreau. “I always look at things in a positive light or at least I try to. We’ve gone through the parenting where you’re tough on them and then build them back up.”

Here’s what awaits the Canucks in the next seven days:

Could this be it in Anaheim, if the Ducks keep struggling, for veteran winger Jakob Silfverberg, here chasing Canucks forward J.T. Miller in a 2020 Canucks-Ducks game.
Could this be it in Anaheim, if the Ducks keep struggling, for veteran winger Jakob Silfverberg, here chasing Canucks forward J.T. Miller in a 2020 Canucks-Ducks game. Photo by Bob Frid /USA TODAY Sports files

Ducks at Canucks

When and where: Thursday at 7 p.m. | Rogers Arena.

TV: SN Pacific | Radio: Sportsnet 650.

Why watch: Last look at veteran wingers?

The Ducks are stuck in that perplexing place between rebuild and retool on the fly. 

The latter isn’t working, and despite overtime wins over the Maple Leafs and Kraken, with a league-worst 2-6-1 mark heading into Tuesday’s tussle with the Sharks, doesn’t bode well for the coach or players.

Advertisement 5

Article content

Something has to give when you’re bleeding goals (third-worst 4.22 per game) and can’t score (second-worst 2.22). Whether it’s that tough transition for young players like Trevor Zegras, Troy Terry and Mason McTavish to lead, it could mean veteran wingers Jakob Silfverberg and Adam Henrique may agree to move elsewhere for better shots at winning. 

Who to watch: Centre Trevor Zegras

With a flair for dramatic goals — lacrosse style while wheeling around the net or flipping a pass from behind the cage for a mid-air tap-in — he’s part of the new wave of players who have taken inventiveness to another level. Led the Ducks with six goals in their first nine games this season. 

Nashville Predators defenceman Roman Josi (right) is always a lot to handle for any opponent.
Nashville Predators defenceman Roman Josi (right) is always a lot to handle for any opponent. Photo by Steve Roberts /USA TODAY Sports files

Predators at Canucks

When and where: Saturday at 7 p.m. | Rogers Arena.

Advertisement 6

Article content

TV: CBC, SN 360 | Radio: Sportsnet 650.

Why watch: No power in Preds’ power play

It’s still early, but when your power play operated at 24.4-per-cent efficiency last season to rank sixth overall and is 30th this season at a pitiful 8.3 per cent, it goes beyond a quirk. It’s the big question in a 3-5-1 start.

The Preds have had the sixth most chances through their first nine games and went 3-for-36. Hard to imagine that on a PP1 unit that includes Roman Josi, Filip Forsberg and Matt Duchene firing blanks.

Who to watch: Defenceman Roman Josi

Led all defenders last season with 96 points (23-73). His ability to drive the offence and also unleash a shot that carries accuracy and velocity is why he finished second to Cale Makar in Norris Trophy balloting. Has been held to just four points (1-3) through nine games despite 43 shots.

Advertisement 7

Article content

Senators winger Brady Tkachuk takes out Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes along the boards during an April 2021 NHL game at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa.
Senators winger Brady Tkachuk takes out Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes along the boards during an April 2021 NHL game at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa. Photo by Errol McGihon /Postmedia News files

Canucks at Senators

When and where: Tuesday, Nov. 8 at 4 p.m. | Canadian Tire Centre
TV: SN Pacific, TSN5 | Radio: Sportsnet 650.

Why watch: Can the Sens be sensational?

The Senators nearly swept a five-game homestand last week for the first time in franchise history, but fell 4-2 to the Minnesota Wild last Thursday. In their ongoing transition to youth, the Senators are now playing to win in the third period instead of trying not to lose.

Ottawa was 4-4-0 heading into Tuesday’s test against Tampa Bay. And without centre Josh Norris, who had 35 goals last season and is out long term with a left shoulder injury suffered in a 6-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Oct. 22, remaining competitive won’t be easy.

Who to watch: Left-winger Brady Tkachuk

Advertisement 8

Article content

The immovable force had six goals and 30 shots in his first eight games, and the 6-foot-4, 221-pound beast is a load to deny in the offensive zone — especially when setting up shop in the crease. He’s coming off a 67-point season (30-37) and has found chemistry with linemates Tim Stutzle and Drake Batherson.

bkuzma@postmedia.com

twitter.com/benkuzma


More news, fewer ads, faster load time: Get unlimited, ad-lite access to the Vancouver Sun, the Province, National Post and 13 other Canadian news sites for just $14/month or $140/year. Subscribe now through the Vancouver Sun or The Province.

Advertisement 1

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.




Source link

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *