Facing the Arizona Coyotes, losers of 10 straight heading into Thursday and in the battle for the Connor McDavid sweepstakes, the Vancouver Canucks looked to have two points just waiting for them.
All they had to do was put in the time, take them, and move on to the San Jose Sharks on Saturday.
Instead, the Coyotes came away with a 3-2 shootout victory after the Canucks got off to a horrendous first-period start and needed a third-period comeback just to earn the single point. Against a team that is in a quick spiral down the Western Conference standings, the Canucks were guilty of some egregious turnovers and Eddie Lack was forced to make some huge saves in overtime.
Just seven days before their loss in Arizona, the Canucks were beaten in Buffalo.
In a playoff race, teams can’t afford to throw away points against lesser opponents. In seven days, the Canucks wasted four points against the Coyotes and Sabres alone. Could mean the difference between a post-season berth or another early start on the golf course.
“It’s something that we get reminded of but we have to take it on as players and be professional,” said forward Derek Dorsett, speaking on TSN 1040 radio in Vancouver on Friday.
“We all want to get to the playoffs, and we know what we have to do to get to the playoffs, and that’s win games. We’ve got to get as many points as we can, when we can. It doesn’t matter if we’re playing (Arizona) or San Jose, we’ve got to come with our best effort every night this time of year.”
And at this time of year, there are going to be injuries and ailments.
Shawn Matthias back on wing, Linden Vey back from purgatory and Ronalds Keninis back to reality.
In what looks more like a playoff-ready lineup — one that will be bolstered when Brad Richardson returns from an ankle injury — the Vancouver Canucks talked Friday about getting their heads and their games into postseason mode as they prepare to face the San Jose Sharks on Saturday.