Canucks Schedule: A style of playoffs in January will go a great distance come April

‘A mucky kind of recreation — which is type of good. I like when we now have a majority of these video games and also you see the resolve.’ — Rick Tocchet on playoff-style 1-0 win in Buffalo.

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You’ll be able to discuss it. You’ll be able to even think about what it is likely to be like.

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Nevertheless, there’s nothing fairly like experiencing the tempo, push and gritty in-your-face actuality of the NHL postseason that’s as a lot a check of will as ability.

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The Vancouver Canucks are as soon as once more first-overall in league standings and setting a sustained normal to win video games in any method, which bodes nicely for the stretch drive and the playoffs.

What occurred Saturday in Buffalo was extra than simply securing a 1-0 victory over the Sabres to push their report to 5-1-0 on a seven-game highway journey and bettering to 29-11-3. 

It was delivering and taking hacks and whacks, dropping the gloves, and discovering a approach to grind out a win minus their Grade A recreation. The Lotto Line went pointless after piling up a gaudy 27 factors (13-14) within the earlier 4 video games, however they discovered a manner.

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It was J.T. Miller and Elias Pettersson throwing 4 hits apiece. It was Miller answering the combat problem bell for his heavy finish boards hit on Rasmus Dahlin. It was Pettersson making a sensible late-game learn within the defensive zone to maintain the Sabres from getting the equalizer.

And it was Sam Lafferty attending to the web and getting hit by a Nikita Zadorov level shot earlier than spinning and placing the puck dwelling. For his effort, the fourth-line grinder took a excessive uncalled hit to the face from Jordan Greenway.

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Canucks winger Conor Garland strips Sabres ahead Tage Thompson of the puck in the course of the golf equipment’ edgy encounter in Buffalo on Saturday. Picture by Jeffrey T. Barnes /AP

“It wasn’t fairly, however we stayed to our construction and all people performed laborious,” stated Lafferty, who sported an enormous welt on his proper cheek from the Greenway hit. “We simply locked it down, Demmer (Thatcher Demko) performed nice and, generally, that’s what it takes.”

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For Rick Tocchet, who logged 145 playoff video games as an abrasive and productive winger and has received two Stanley Cups as an assistant coach and one as a participant, there was an appreciation of what was transpired on the the ice Saturday.

“A mucky kind of recreation — which is type of good,” stated the Canucks bench boss. “I like when we now have a majority of these video games and also you see the resolve and we did a great job. 

“All of the video games on this journey there was some adversity, whether or not it’s killing penalties, getting an enormous objective or having the fourth line come up large.”

That response would carry a smile to the mug of Ian Cole.

The well-travelled Canucks defenceman has had his share of postseason battle scars. He is aware of successful back-to-back Stanley Cup titles with the Pittsburgh Penguins got here with battle wounds and perseverance to prevail.

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The enormity of the problem is one thing playoff newbies must embrace. And getting any type of comparable aggressive style within the common season ought to assist preparations.

“You’ll be able to discuss it, however by no means actually absolutely perceive it till you do it,” harassed Cole. “You’ll be able to at all times say it’s the identical recreation and nothing modifications, however every part is quicker and issues extra. Not solely do you might want to be clear, it must be intense on a regular basis.

“You’ll be able to’t sleepwalk by means of video games. The one manner is to do it and understand it.”

Right here’s what the Canucks face the rest of this week:

Canucks at Blue Jackets

When and the place: Monday 10 a.m. | Nationwide Enviornment

TV: SN Pacific | Radio: Sportsnet 650

Why watch: Exclamation mark on terrific journey

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The Blue Jackets are twenty eighth general, received simply two of their final 10 (2-4-4), have hassle scoring and are permitting second most objectives per recreation (3.74). An apparent hazard recreation for the Canucks, however NHL’s highest-scoring membership (3.84) ought to care for enterprise.

Who to observe: Winger Ilya Mikheyev

The hard-luck Russian winger hasn’t scored in 11 video games. Mikheyev had smarts and pace Saturday to be sprung on breakaway, however put a shot off the put up. He additionally had one other probability off an Andrei Kuzmenko spin. Mikheyev completed with three pictures, 4 makes an attempt.

Coyotes at Canucks

When and the place: Thursday 7 p.m. | Rogers Enviornment

TV: SN Pacific | Radio: Sportsnet 650

Why watch: Desert Canine have some chunk

Arms up. Who had the Coyotes taking part in above .500? On Saturday in Minnesota, they laid a 6-0 whipping on the Wild as Nick Bjugstad struck for a hat-trick and Connor Ingram made 38 saves as Arizona improved to 21-18-2.

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Who to observe: Winger Clayton Keller

The seventh-overall choose within the 2016 draft has seven factors (4-3) in his final 4 video games and the speedster leads his membership in scoring with 38 factors (17-21) in 41 video games. Additionally has six power-play objectives and 4 game-winners.

Maple Leafs at Canucks

When and the place: Saturday 4 p.m. | Rogers Enviornment

TV: Sportsnet. Radio: Sportsnet 650

Why watch: By no means uninteresting, at all times entertaining

It has at all times been appointment viewing as a result of the Canucks have typically risen to the problem on dwelling ice. Add the Lotto Line, all these All-Stars, and a rivalry that can by no means go away, and it ought to set the stage for a memorable evening.

Who to observe: Centre Auston Matthews

The Leafs’ sniper leads the NHL in objectives with 33 in 39 video games — together with 4 in his final 5 video games — and his skill to search out open ice is as spectacular as his 19.5 per cent taking pictures success price.

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