The Vancouver Canucks wrapped up their six-game road trip on Thursday night with a 4-3 loss in St. Louis.
It is another damaging loss for the Canucks as they cling to whatever slim playoff hopes they have remaining, and is their seventh in the past nine games.
Starting goaltender Jacob Markstrom had a particularly tough night in the crease, allowing four goals on the 21 shots he faced, including two power play goals in the first five minutes of the third period to put the Canucks into a 4-2 deficit they would not be able to overcome.
After the game Markstrom was especially hard on himself and took pretty much all of the blame for the loss, saying that he was “awful.”
“The players on this team played an unreal road game and I was awful,” Markstrom said, via the Vancouver Province. “I was just awful today. It’s not acceptable, especially when we play such a great game and score three goals in a tough building against a tough team. We play a good game like this, and then the poor play by me is very disappointing. I let down my teammates for sure tonight.”
So here is the situation the Canucks are facing after Thursday.
They are currently in 11th place in the Western Conference and five points behind the Calgary Flames for the second wild card spot, with another two teams (the Los Angeles Kings, 5-2 losers against Arizona on Thursday, and the Winnipeg Jets, who lost in overtime in Pittsburgh) sitting between them. The Kings, however, with only 56 games played and just one point back of the Flames are currently on track to take over that wild card spot and on pace for 87 points this season. That means the Canucks would need to finish with 88 points to finish ahead of them, which means they would need to pick up 32 points in their final 24 games. That is at least a 17-7 record.
General manager Jim Benning said on TSN radio on Thursday that the team had five games before the deadline for him to find out where they are when it comes to their approach to the trade deadline. After losing yet again on Thursday, and facing a pretty daunting challenge when it comes to passing the teams still ahead of them, it should be pretty clear as to where they are at this point.