Some positives for Vancouver Canucks
Vancouver Canucks rookie Nicklas Jensen gives fans some hope for the future. (REUTERS)
While there's so much to be pessimistic about with this Vancouver Canucks team, let's take some time to dwell on a few positives.
For starters, Alex Burrows' revival is a thing of wonder. From seemingly disappearing off the face of the earth to putting up some of his best stretch of numbers in recent years, it's a twist not many expected.
But even though the Canucks forward has five goals and four assists in the last five games, it's coming at a time when his team's playoff hopes are all but lost.
Henrik Sedin is also finding the scoresheet — albeit not at the rate Burrows is. The biggest thing is that the Canucks captain is at least starting to look dangerous again. His two assists against Florida on Sunday ended a 15-game drought that dates back to Jan. 10.
The team's ability to score again is promising and the fact they aren't exactly succumbing to defeat once they find themselves trailing is commendable.
They showed resiliency against the Tampa Bay Lightning and Washington Capitals when they needed to put together a comeback, and despite losing both those affairs, at least there were signs of life.
The Canucks have also averaged three goals per game in their last five, which is a huge improvement from their 2.32 overall average, ranking them second last in the league.
Then there's Nicklas Jensen. A case can be made that he's the one kick-starting the likes of Burrows and Henrik, and a debate rages that the team should have called the rookie up earlier than they did, especially since they were struggling to score.
Since joining the Canucks from the Utica Comets on March 8, the 21-year-old Danish winger has two goals and two assists in six games. He's also compiled 12 shots while looking like one of the most confident players on the ice. At least it gives Vancouver fans something to look forward to for next season — with this year more or less already considered a write-off.
In the end, the negatives outweigh what's actually been going right for this club.
Their 4-3 loss to the Lightning on Monday essentially — but not mathematically — eliminates them from a post-season spot.
The Canucks have 11 games to go, which would mean they'll need to win every single one of them to reach the 94-point mark. That number is an estimated total, based on previous seasons, for the final eighth-place team in the West.
Wednesday, they'll host the Nashville Predators, who trail them by four points, but with three games in hand. And to make matters worse for Vancouver, they'll most likely be without defenceman Chris Tanev, whose hand was in a splint following the loss to the Bolts.
Goalie Eddie Lack has also struggled to find his game, posting some brutal numbers — 3.25 goals against average and .865 save percentage — in the eight games since Roberto Luongo was traded.
But at this stage of the season — and as cliche as it gets — there's not much choice for this reeling Canucks side but to focus on the positives. At least they finally have some to build on.