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)

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

CanucksNHL

 

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

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

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

JAK's Liquor Store in Penticton will be donating 10 per cent of its sales on Saturday, June 19, to the Penticton Salvation Army Food Bank. (Photo from JAKS.com)
Stock up your liquor cabinet and support the Penticton food bank

Jak’s beer and wine store is donating a portion of sales to local food banks Saturday

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

The illegal open fire above Naramata continues to smoke on Friday, June 18. The fire was left to burn itself out by BC Wildfire. (Monique Tamminga - Western News)
Illegal open burn in Naramata will be left to smoke

BC Wildfire could not confirm whether the property owner had been fined

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Earls On Top at 211 Bernard Avenue in Kelowna. (Google Maps photo)
Downtown Kelowna’s Earls ordered closed after COVID-19 transmission

Earls on Top on Bernard Avenue will be closed from June 18 to June 27

A motorycle crash has been reported on Westside Road. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: Westside Road reopened following motorcycle crash near Vernon

AIM Roads advises drivers to expect delays due to congestion

(File photo)
Penticton not holding Canada Day activities out of respect for Indigenous people

Cities across B.C. are cancelling the holiday after an increased spotlight on Canada’s dark history

Dereck Donald Sears. (Contributed/Crimestoppers)
Murder charge laid in relation to suspicious Kelowna death

Dereck Donald Sears is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Darren Middleton

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Most Read