November Will Be Vancouver Canucks Month – TechVerdant


October was the Vancouver Canucks month. They finished the season’s open at 6-2-1, with the losses coming against teams outside their division. Heck, outside the conference. And there’s every reason to think it will get better from there.

The Canucks Best Month(s) Will Continue

That was almost the best start the Vancouver Canucks could have hoped for. They scored 36 goals with just 21 against, hitting top-three in both categories. A top-five power play paired with a penalty kill that…well, it wasn’t historically bad. And that’s quite the improvement.

There were plenty of questions heading into the 2023-24 season, though cautious optimism was prevalent. The big questions were whether the defence could hold up, if Hughes is a suitable captain, and what Elias Pettersson thinks about the team.

If Pettersson isn’t happy with the start the Canucks had, then there isn’t much keeping him in Vancouver. As for the defence holding up, that goals-against number is legit. Yes, Thatcher Demko has returned to form and Casey DeSmith has been great. But the defence has also worked.

And Hughes has lept to the top of league scoring, bookending October with three-assist games against the Edmonton Oilers and Nashville Predators. In short, October was the best Canucks month in years. So what’s November looking like?

Remember, Remember

Last season, the Canucks managed to get seven wins and a .500 month in November. That was better than their opening month, but still nowhere near good enough to pull the season out of its nosedive.

But last year started with a condensed and disastrous road trip. This time, the road trip included days between games and plenty of practice time and rest. That not only let the team get refreshers as needed – particularly after the Philadelphia game – but to relax as well.

November is going to be a more condensed part of the schedule. It has 15 games in 29 days with eight on the road and three back-to-backs. There is, however, reason to believe that the team can strengthen their hold on a playoff spot by December.

Set ‘Em Up

The biggest reason to be optimistic about the Canucks month being the best of the season is the team. Just looking at them on the ice, everyone on the team has bought into Coach Rick Tocchet‘s vision. And it’s working.

The two games played so far – against San Jose and Dallas – are a study in opposites. The way Vancouver played in each gives a nice contrast to see what the team does in a given circumstance.

The Sharks are a bad, BAD team. Possibly the worst the league has seen since themselves in 1992-93, winning 11 times in 84 games. The Canucks opened the game early with two power play goals before the five-minute mark, essentially ending it.

From there, the team was in practice mode, focused on making clean plays at five-on-five and on special teams. Yes, they were relaxed, relatively speaking, but only about the score, not their play.

It’s hard to accuse them of running up the score when the scorers past the halfway mark were Pius Suter, Sam Lafferty and Anthony Beauvillier. They didn’t challenge Fabian Zetterlund‘s goal because they were the visitors and, well, it wouldn’t be polite.

Dallas proved a whole different challenge. A tight match with excellent goaltending made for a scoreless first, which would normally make the less-skilled team nervous. Individual talents can break a game at any time, and the Stars have plenty of those.

Instead, Vancouver applied pressure, eventually outshooting their opponents 14-5. A scrambled play got them their first goal, and an excellent no-look pass got the second. After that, it was a matter of control and guiding the win home safely.

Knock ‘Em Down

Today, the Canucks month continues with a home match against the Oilers. How long they will look the same is a question, from coaching to management to the talent on the ice. But ideally, Vancouver will face a dispirited road squad. Not a guaranteed win, of course, but close.

Then comes a three-game swing through Eastern Canada. All of the Senators, Maple Leafs, and Canadiens are having a rough patch right now, with four wins between them since October 26th.

A nasty little switchback happens next, with the New York Islanders coming to town and the Canucks going to Calgary the next day. An emotional reunion with the former captain on a decent squad followed by a quick road trip will be a challenge.

They come home to the slightly disappointing Seattle Kraken and Sharks. Off on a short if long-travelling road trip to Colorado, Seattle and San Jose back-to-back, then home again.

The last two games of the month are facing the surprising Anaheim Ducks and the Vegas Golden Knights. That last, of course, is by far the hardest opponent Vancouver will face for the entirety of November.

The Canucks Month Makes the Season

Vegas only has one loss in regulation as of this moment. They’re a steamroller. Colorado’s record will improve by finally getting some home games.

Of all the other teams the Canucks face this month, only Anaheim has more than five wins in ten games played. And those guys are punching above their weight.

Good teams beat the teams below them in the standings. If Vancouver wants to prove they are now a good team, then a 12-win November is what they should expect of themselves. They already have two in convincing fashion.

Now, since the game is played in the real world, we all know that’s a tough call to make. The team’s PDO right now is a bit lunatic, sitting at 107.5 where the average is 100. Shooting percentage is through the roof – but that’s what happens when you score quickly.

Expect some normalization to happen. Bad luck happens, injuries happen, and travel can make players sick or tired. That part’s predictable. But all that also happens to other teams. Points won now still count at the end of the year, a saying Canucks fans are all too familiar with.

With the number of games played this month against division opponents, there is every opportunity to bury their rivals. Build the cushion when you’re playing hot and when bad luck strikes it’s not as painful.

The Canucks month doesn’t need to include 12 wins for them to improve their standings. Even just eight – against the right teams – will do for them. It would be a nice change if Vancouver entered April thinking about who their playoff opponent might be instead of just hoping to be there.

Main Photo Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports


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