Vancouver Canucks’ Jake Virtanen, right, is checked by Los Angeles Kings’ Dion Phaneuf during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Canucks Report: Not a November to remember

Vancouver stumbles to 3-8-3 monthly record

What a difference a month makes.

Heading into November, the Vancouver Canucks found themselves atop the NHL’s Pacific Division – the first time since 2006 they held the division leads after the first month of the season. Despite a rash of injuries, they still sat seventh overall and thoughts of the playoffs danced through the heads of fans around the province.

One dismal 3-8-3 November later (shoutout to the NHL schedule makers, who don’t seem to like the Canucks too much), Vancouver sits sixth in the Pacific, 24th overall and thoughts may soon turn to the 2019 NHL draft, which just happens to be in Vancouver.

By the numbers

Team record: 11-14-3 (5-5-1 home, 6-9-2 away) 25 points (6th, Pacific Division; 24th overall); GF: 81 (13th overall); GA: 100 (30th overall); PP: 18.9% (19th overall); PK: 76.2% (25th overall)

On Nov. 1: 8-6-0 (4-2-0 home, 4-4-0 away) 16 points (1st, Pacific Division; 7th overall); GF: 40 (9th overall); GA: 44 (27th overall); PP: 17.0% (20th overall); PK:83.3% (9th overall).

Leading scorers: Bo Horvat (28 GP, 11-13-24), Elias Pettersson (22 GP, 13-9-22), Nikolay Goldobin (28 GP, 4-12-16), Brock Boeser (15 GP; 6-7-13), Jake Virtanen (28 GP, 8-4-12). Goalies: Jacob Markstrom (20 GP, 8-9-3, 3.31 GAA, .897 save percentage), Anders Nilsson (7 GP, 3-4-0, 2.86 GAA, .902 save percentage).

On Nov. 1: Pettersson (8 GP, 7-3-10), Horvat (14 GP, 7-3-10), Virtanen (14 GP, 5-2-7), Boeser (12 GP, 2-5-7). Goalies: Markstrom (8 GP, 5-3-0, 2.96 GAA, .911 save percentage), Nilsson (6 GP, 3-3-0, 2.67 GAA, .912 save percentage).

Fun number

Forward Tim Schaller has played 24 games and has yet to record his first goal as a Canuck.

Player of the month

Horvat. He-who-should-be-captain put up 14 points in 14 games despite random linemates. In the absence of the injured Brandon Sutter, Horvat draws the toughest defensive assignments and was even for the month in the plus/minus category. He leads the league in faceoffs taken with 708, a whopping 158 more than runner-up Mark Scheifele of Winnipeg. Horvat has won 386 of those draws (54.5 per cent), 73 more than Jonathan Toews of Chicago.The flashy rookie Pettersson (12 points in 14 November games) should be the team’s leading scorer for many years, but Horvat will be the club’s heartbeat.

Best goal

Pettersson channels his inner Sedin with a creative bank pass to set up Boeser in a win over Colorado.

Biggest surprise

Last month, it was Virtanen, who is approaching his single-season career high (10) in goals just two months into the season. But ‘Shotgun Jake’ fans are feeling a little dry as he ended the month on an eight-game goalless drought. November’s quiet surprise has been Goldobin, who has 16 points in 28 games and is second on the team in assists.

Biggest disappointment

Last month’s ‘winner’ Loui Eriksson managed four goals in November after a scoreless first month, so he happily hands the crown to Schaller. While no one was expected huge offensive numbers from the free agent pickup, the club surely hoped for more than a big donut in the goals column.

Best win

Derrick Pouliot netted the OT winner in a 7-6 thriller over the Colorado Avalanche on Nov. 2.

Worst loss

On Nov. 18, Patrick Laine had a hat trick as the visiting Winnipeg Jets doubled the Canucks 6-3.

Best fight

Canuck players have only been involved in five bouts all year. In November, Darren Archibald’s dismantling of the smaller Torey Krug was the best of the lot.

Injury update

The Canucks continue to be beset by injuries. Veteran centre Jay Beagle (fractured forearm), centre Brandon Sutter (upper-body injury) and winger Sven Baertschi (upper-body injury) have been on injured reserve for lengthy stays. Defenceman Erik Gudbranson (neck) and winger Antoine Roussel (upper body) are listed as day-to-day. Defenceman Alex Edler was hit from behind by Ryan Reaves late in Thursday’s loss to the Vegas Golden Knights and did not return.

On the farm

Vancouver’s AHL club, the Utica Comets, headed into Friday night’s game with the Belleville Senators with a 9-11-1-1 record, good for sixth in the league’s North Division. Reid Boucher (12 GP, 10-6-16) leads the Comets in scoring and had a brief callup to the Canucks. Top defence prospect Olli Juolevi (18 GP, 1-12-13) is playing well offensively, but is a minus-12. Heralded goaltending prospect Thatcher Demko returned after a long absence due to concussion issues, and won two of his three starts.

Coming this month

The Canucks play 14 times in December, with eight of the first 11 at home. A rare 1 p.m. Saturday start on Dec. 1 against Dallas is followed by home games against Minnesota on Dec. 4 and Nashville on Dec. 6. A three-game road swing versus St. Louis (Dec. 9), Columbus (Dec. 11) and Nashville (Dec. 13) is followed by five more at home against Philadelphia (Dec. 15), Edmonton (Dec. 16), Tampa Bay (Dec. 18), St. Louis (Dec. 20) and Winnipeg (Dec. 22). After Christmas, the Canucks finish the year on the road in Edmonton (Dec. 27), Calgary (Dec. 29) and (woo!) New Jersey on Dec. 31.

RELATED: Canucks October report

Extended Canucks coverage here

Vancouver Island Free Daily editor Philip Wolf can be reached via email at philip.wolf@blackpress.ca or on Twitter @philipwolf13

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Vancouver Canucks’ Elias Pettersson, of Sweden, skates during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Los Angeles Kings in Vancouver, on Tuesday November 27, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Just Posted

Ballenas Whalers football players honoured after stellar high school season

Chomolok, Rykers earn most valuable player accolades

‘Elizabeth Little Waterfront Park’ proposed in Qualicum Beach

It was first announced in 2018 that St. Andrews Lodge would be turned into a public space

RDN budget talks to include public consultation results

Director not impress with level of engagement

VIDEO: Music stars pay tribute to Kobe Bryant at Grammys award show

Music artists including Billy Ray Cyrus, Rick Ross and Kirk Franklin paid tribute to Bryant

Pregnant B.C. woman stuck in Wuhan, the epicentre of coronavirus outbreak

Woman is due to give birth in Wuhan, China unless she can get out

Victoria-area wolf tranquilized after being seen running around neighbourhood

Officials say wolf unharmed during its ‘arrest’

Ontario confirms second presumptive coronavirus case in wife of first patient

Both arrived on a China Southern Airlines flight after having been to Wuhan

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

Bryant was an 18-time NBA all-star who won five championships

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

Kobe Bryant, daughter killed in California helicopter crash

Bryant entered the NBA draft straight out of high school in 1996

Most Read