With the Canucks beating the Detroit Red Wings in a shootout this past weekend, the Canucks officially punched their ticket to the postseason. Now that they have secured a spot in the playoffs the only question the Canucks and their fan base have left on their minds is who will their opponent be in the 1st round?
Currently the Canucks have the 3rd seed in the Western Conference, and hold 1st place in the Northwest division. If the playoffs were to begin today, the Canucks would be matched up against the 6th seeded St. Louis Blues. It was not long ago that the Canucks swept the St. Louis Blues in the 1st round of the playoffs. Since that time though the Blues have changed tremendously. The Blues offer a tough Defence led by newly acquired Jay Bouwmeester and Barret Jackman. If you were to compare them to a team the Canucks recently played in the playoffs, the Nashville Predators would be the perfect fit. They both play a slow, grind it out sort of style. They both also offer big physical fore checkers who will get into the dirty areas, and wear out opposing offenses. Now with the Canucks offering a tremendous amount of offensive firepower the key for the Canucks will be to force the tempo of the game, and get as many shots on net. If they fail to do so, their season may end too soon.
Another opponent the Canucks could face in the 1st round may very well be the Sharks of San Jose. This is another team the Canucks know very well, and have had some recent success against in the Western Conference Finals. Unlike the Blues, the Sharks offer a bit more offensive power in the form of Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, and Logan Couture. A match-up with the Sharks would be a much faster paced series, but will definitely put more pressure on Vancouver’s goaltenders. Now these are only two possible opponents the Canucks could face in the 1st round, but just from examining these two opponents, one thing becomes very clear. Every team plays a somewhat different style of play and what comes along with that is that the Canucks will show teams their true strengths, but as well their glaring weaknesses.
With the playoffs just around the corner the Canucks must gear up for the long run, and be ready to be their fast paced style of Canuck hockey. GO CANUCKS GO!
Written by: Hamed Amiri