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And that is what Markstrom was known for the last two seasons. A huge part of the Canucks even being in the playoff chase last year was the stellar play of the goalie.

If the Canucks are going to right the ship, they do need to get bigger performances from their goalies than they have to date.

Pettersson’s play

Which is the more likely Elias Pettersson: the guy who was an electric force in his first two NHL seasons, carrying forward from dominant performances at every other level of hockey, or the player who admitted earlier this week that he’s lacking confidence and hasn’t had his usual zip so far this season.

The answer is obvious. That said, the Canucks don’t have time to waste and need him to find his groove ASAP. Otherwise things could start getting really ugly.

The penalty kill

The power play seems to have found its way but the penalty kill has mostly been terrible. Along with their even-strength defending, if they can’t get their PK right, whatever else they’re doing right won’t matter.

The road ahead

So, add it all up: the Saturday game against the Habs, followed by the three-game set with the Senators, will tell us a lot about the future course of this team.

They were always most likely in a race with the Edmonton Oilers and the Winnipeg Jets for the fourth spot in the North Division playoffs and, since they still have plenty of games left against their six Canadian rivals, there’s plenty of time to make up ground even if you fall behind early, but how you’re doing after 10 games tells us a lot about the overall trend they’re on.

If they can’t find their way in the next six days, it’s hard to see things turning around on the eastern road trip that follows.


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