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

 

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

Port Ed council chambers full over campground dispute

Port Edward council puts decision to fund Lester Centre on hold

Prince Rupert 2030 Vision ready to be shared with the public

Redesign Rupert is unveiling their plan for the city

Q&A with Lax Kw’alaams Mayor John Helin

Helin spoke about topics in his community ahead of the village’s upcoming election

Ottawa urges CN and union to continue talks as 3,200 workers go on strike

The rail workers began their strike after failing to reach a deal by a midnight deadline

In Our Opinion: This is why shopping Rupert First matters

Shop in Prince Rupert before you go online

Your Prince Rupert 55th Rotary Auction guide

Online guide to all the items up for bid before Monday’s live auction

B.C. mom, kids on bike turned away from Tim Hortons drive-thru

Car-free for years, Charity Millar ‘felt gross’ being denied service

B.C. woman puts call out for 10,000 personal, heartfelt Christmas cards for the homeless

Christmas Card Collective enters into third year of making spirits bright

No turn signals, double-parking among top concerns for B.C. drivers: poll

Two-thirds of B.C. drivers said that not using turn signals was their biggest pet peeve

Man accused in fatal Shuswap church shooting also charged with arson

Parmenter family home badly damaged by fire a month before killing

‘Our culture is not a religion,’ Indigenous educator tells B.C. Supreme Court in case of smudging at school

Mother also gave evidence Tuesday in Nanaimo courtroom, case continues Wednesday

B.C. man who killed Belgian tourist near Boston Bar gets life in prison, no parole until 2042

Sean McKenzie pleaded guilty to second-degree murder of 28-year-old Amelie Christelle Sakkalis

Most Read