By Amy P.
After an explosive start to the season complete with quadruple wins in a row, Canucks fans on October 20th were feeling more excited and hopeful than they have in many agonizing and long months.
However, the warning signs were there. Three out of the four victorious games were shootout or overtime wins due to weak starts on our part, after which we were humbly and heroically dubbed the “Comeback Canucks.” The fourth and only regulation win was against the Buffalo Sabres, a team not many were expecting to be much of a challenge initially anyway, in particular as their injured star player Jack Eichel was noticeably missing from the line-up.
To rebut the skeptics, many fans argued that after such an explosive start, did it really matter how we won games, as long as we snagged the two points in the end?
Now, after a string of eight losses, the answer seems to be a yes.
With that being said, let’s skip over this glaringly low point in our season to arrive at what must be a silver lining: upcoming games with rivals or former teammates that are guaranteed to be entertaining.
- December 3rd – vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
Hockey Night in Canada on the third of December will absolutely come alive, as the Canucks, who don’t easily forgive and forget (and rightfully so), vengefully take on the Leafs at Rogers Arena. We’ll be facing the deadly wrist shot of first overall draft pick Auston Matthews, unforgettable for his historical four-goal NHL debut, along with Mitch Marner, Tyler Bozak, and … Nazem Kadri, who is also unforgettable in my eyes, but for another reason altogether, one that ties together with the events of November 5th, 2016.
The question of ‘what in the world happened that game’ concerns itself not with why the fights started, but how they ultimately ended. Midway through the game, Leafs player Morgan Rielly lay a shoulder-to-shoulder hit on the Canucks’ Jannik Hansen, deemed clean by the referees, followed by a very unnecessary and dangerous shoulder-to-head hit from the Leafs’ Nazem Kadri on our very own Daniel Sedin. Slight bias on my part may be detected, but anybody who isn’t a blind and staunch Leafs supporter would see why that violent hit subsequently led to a line brawl in which our rookie is targeted and chaos ensues.
Now it becomes clear why December 3rd is the day to watch.
2. December 10th – vs. Florida Panthers
A week after the Leafs, the Canucks visit the Florida Panthers. It seems that every season we make a trade, small or significant, with the Panthers; noteworthy trades include Roberto Luongo and, most recently, young rookie Jared McCann. Erik Gudbranson, who we acquired just this season, will face his former team for the first time.
3. February 11th – vs. Boston Bruins
DailyHive Vancouver’s Bailey Meadows writes “there’s no love lost between these two teams.” The 2011 playoffs may have been about 6 and a half years ago, but the memory of our tremendous loss still scorches my mind. No matter when or where, the Boston Bruins versus the Canucks is a game teeming with old rivals, seething sentiments, and, like the Taylor Swift song, lots of bad blood.
4. February 14th – vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Happy Valentine’s Day; time to play the 2016 Stanley Cup Champions! Canadian ‘GOAT’ (greatest-of-all-time, this is not an insult) Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Phil Kessel are a consistently fruitful and offensively potent trio. February 14th will also be the first time Brandon Sutter has returned to Pittsburgh for a game since being traded; last season he faced an injury during the Canucks’ only away game against the Penguins.
5. April 8th and 9th – vs. Edmonton Oilers
In the 2014-15 season, we swept the Oilers. Last year, however, our record was a less-stellar 2-2-1, thus proving many things, one of which includes the fact that the Oilers are increasing their offensive game, partially due to the likes of Connor McDavid. Not only will the Edmonton Oilers be the last team the Canucks face in the regular season this year, they will be in back-to-back games, in which both teams will be fighting hard to gain those last few points for, hopefully, the Playoff runs.