Evaluating the Games Remaining on the Canucks’ March to the Playoffs

By: Brayden Fengler / March 9, 2024  

It’s currently nearing the end of the first full week of March and in the back half of the NHL season, the Vancouver Canucks and their fans are in a place that they have not been for some time.

Vancouver sits comfortably, not just in a playoff spot, but second in the league and first in the conference and division. We are beyond speculating when the other shoe is going to drop, there is no other shoe, the dogs are out, the dogs are barking and this team is hungry for the playoffs.

With that said, there is still a good amount of regular season hockey to be played between now and then, and although these upcoming games shouldn’t be must-wins for Vancouver, it will still be important hockey. The Canucks have 18 games left to go before they start the playoffs, and looking at the road ahead there are some interesting match-up still to come.

The Toughest Games Remaining

Winnipeg Jets – March 9th & April 18th

comp stats vs opponent this season as of (3.9.2024)


The Jets are one of the best teams in the NHL and thankfully for the Canucks they are in another division and as a result, have less impact on the Canucks playoff positioning. Unfortunately for Vancouver, they will have to play the Jets two more times before the end of the season, however.

Winnipegs’ 4-2 win over the Canucks back in February wasn’t overwhelming, but the Jets did get the best of Thatcher Demko and the Canucks defence with all four Winnipeg goals coming in the slot below the hash marks. Vancouver should hope to prove their worth against the Jets in at least one of their two remaining battles.

Colorado Avalanche – March 13th

comp stats vs opponent this season as of (3.9.2024)


The Canucks will face the Aves during the regular season only once more. So far the Canucks have not shown much reassurance in the way of being effective against a team they could very possibly play post-season games against shortly.

Since the Canucks last played the Avalanche, the Aves have made six trades to improve their roster. The most notable trade is that for Casey Mittlestadt with the Buffalo Sabres. The Avalanche team will be much different than the last time they played the Canucks, but it’s hard to argue that they would be any worse.

It will be interesting to see how a team like Vancouver, who has made zero trade deadline moves, stacks up against a team they already struggled against before they loaded up for a playoff run.

Los Angeles Kings – March 25th & April 6th

comp stats vs opponent this season as of (3.9.2024)


The Canucks will play the Kings once more in each of the remaining two months of the season. Since their last game against the Kings on March 5th, they could almost be considered an easy match-up for the Canucks to face in the postseason. However, the 5-1 loss in their initial meeting with the team at the end of February certainly puts a question mark over their remaining contests.

The closer the playoffs get the more it looks like the Kings, with their playoff veterans like Drew Doughty, and Anze Kopitar, are ready for the games to start getting tighter and lower scoring. Vancouver may be the better team, but a playoff-hungry Kings squad has the chops and the experience to play a defensive, frustrating style of hockey as we get closer to the post-season.

Dallas Stars – March 28th

comp stats vs opponent this season as of (3.9.2024)


Dallas currently sits atop the Central Division and just recently loaded up with Quinn Hughes’ dad, Chris Tanev. Dallas is a serious playoff contender this season and their previous battles with Vancouver this year have been close, indicating the matched skill levels of both teams.

During the Stars’ first contest against the Canucks in November, Vancouver edged out a 2-0 victory, but their meeting the following month saw a 4-3 OT win go Dallas’ way. In a similar fashion to the battles against a team like Winnipeg, neither club seems to fully have the other figured out, which should make for an entertaining season series conclusion this month.

Las Vegas Golden Knights – April 2nd & April 8th

comp stats vs opponent this season as of (3.9.2024)

Golden Knights1555.0%99.4

Vegas has lost eight out of their last ten games, but that doesn’t mean they should be overlooked just yet. I’m sure their recent downtick is why they had been spending like crazy ahead of this year’s trade deadline. With Mark Stone on LTIR, this has allowed them a lot more room to acquire highly skilled assets.

In a three-way trade on Thursday Vegas became the new home of Noah Hanifin, and just prior to the deadline buzzer, the Golden Knights inked a deal for Tomas Hertl. Hertl and Hanifin were two of the most significant players moved at the trade deadline, and they both ended up in Vegas.

While the Canuks recently had the better of Vegas this week, the next time they play the Golden Knights it’s not going to be the same team.

Edmonton Oilers – April 13th

comp stats vs opponent this season as of (3.9.2024)


Gone are the days of the Oilers winning every single game for over a month straight, but still the Oilers are second to the Canucks in the Pacific and their recent run of games has still been impressive. The Oilers only just lost their first game in March last night after a respectable five-game win streak.

Yes, the Canucks have won all of their games against the Oilers this year, but those three battles came very early in the season before either team knew what they had, for good or for bad. We highlighted this April 13th contest in another article last month because, by the time these two play each other for the last time this season, it will have been over 190 days without playing each other. The Oilers of 2024 are not the Oilers of 2023 that much is for sure.

Easiest Games Remaining

Washington Capitals – March 16th

comp stats vs opponent this season as of (3.9.2024)


The Washington Capitals are far removed from a playoff spot this year, sitting 20th in the overall standings. Washington has just not been converting on chances and has seemingly not recovered after Ovechkin and the team’s slow start to the year. The Capitals’ actions at the deadline indicate they are very much aware of their position, trading away, Anthony Mantha, Joel Edmundson, and Evgeny Kuznetsov for future assets.

Vancouver won in OT during their last battle, and it should not have come that close in the first place. With more skill subtracted from their line-up since the last time they played the Canucks, this should be a simple game for Vancouver.

Buffalo Sabres – March 19th

comp stats vs opponent this season as of (3.9.2024)


As mentioned earlier in this article the Sabres just lost Casey Mittelstadt in their deadline deal to the Avalanche. And while Buffalo got back Bowen Byram, this is more of a place for the young D-man to get a fresh start rather than the former Vancouver Giant being expected to make any major impact for the Sabres this season.

Buffalo sits with a 29-29-5 record on the year and could barely be further out of the playoff picture if they tried. Vancouver beat them during their only contest so far this season back in January, and that should be the same result once again towards the end of March.

Montreal Canadiens – March 21st

comp stats vs opponent this season as of (3.9.2024)


What’s worse than the Sabres? Well, next in line is the Montreal Canadiens. An uneventful year for the Habs who by early February were well aware of their position this season, and made the move to trade away Sean Monahan. They made another significant move at the deadline as well, sending Jake Allen to the Devils for a 2025 3rd round conditional pick.

When Vancouver played Montreal last, they handily beat them in their own barn 5-2 in November. Now the Canucks will have home-ice advantage in their next and final game against the Canadiens this season. There is no reason why their next match-up shouldn’t be a similar blowout

Calgary Flames – March 23rd & April 16th

comp stats vs opponent this season as of (3.9.2024)


As mentioned, the Flames sent Tanev to the Stars and Hanifin went the way of Vegas. While Calgary sits only one position out of a wild card spot in the West, the moves their management has recently made are not an indication that they are going all in this year.

The Canucks got the better of them in their most recent contest back in December. Now with two more games against a Flames team that, like so many on this list, has thrown in the towel ahead of the trade deadline, the Canucks should be walking away with four more points from the Flames by the end of the season.

Anaheim Ducks – March 31st

comp stats vs opponent this season as of (3.9.2024)


Vancouver’s contests against the Ducks this year have not been high-scoring, but the Canucks have not lost either of them. Allowing Anaheim to score only 2 goals across two contests, Vancouver clearly has their number, and so too does the rest of the league as the Ducks sit 30th out of 32 NHL teams.

With Ducks star Trevor Zegras also still out of the lineup in Anaheim with an ankle injury, it’s hard to imagine the Canucks losing this one.

Arizona Coyotes – April 3rd & April 10th

comp stats vs opponent this season as of (3.9.2024)


Excluding the Ducks, Arizona is the worst team that the Canucks have left to face this season. At 27th in the league Arizona is far removed from any team that should be able to hold a candle to the Canucks.

Vancouver had a low-scoring win against the Coyotes earlier this year, however, in that contest the Canucks outshot, hit, and dominated the Yotes in the faceoff circle, winning 71.7% of attempts. Although Vancouver did not bulk up at the trade deadline, that should not be a problem in their remaining battles against Arizona.

Record at the End of the Season

Vancouver sits with a 40-17-7 record at the time of this article. Even if Vancouver falls flat in all of their remaining match-ups against the more challenging opponents, if they pull through in all the easier matches and don’t end up in OT, they will end the season with a 48-26-7 record for a total of 103 points on the year.

That result would be earned from playing just under .500 hockey and so again, it’s clear that Vancouver’s path to the playoffs, and even their path to a 100-point season is only a whisper away. The more the Canucks can cut their teeth and win against some of the teams that have added assets at the deadline the better their chances will seem in the playoffs.

But no matter what happens in the remaining games, this Canucks team although not perfect, after 82 games will be positioned in a place they could have only dreamed of last year.