Vancouver Canucks centre Elias Pettersson (40) celebrates his goal with teammate Vancouver Canucks right wing Brock Boeser (6) against the Minnesota Wild during third period NHL hockey action in Vancouver, Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Canucks Report: Vancouver finishes October atop Pacific Division

Rookie sensation Pettersson produces 10 points in 8 games

Don’t look now but the injury-riddled Vancouver Canucks find themselves perched atop the Pacific Division after the first month of the NHL season (the first time that’s happened since 2006). A look back at a surprisingly strong October:

By the numbers

Record: 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: Elias Pettersson (8 GP, 7-3-10), Bo Horvat (14 GP, 7-3-10), Jake Virtanen (14 GP, 5-2-7), Brock Boeser (12 GP, 2-5-7). Goalies: Jacob Markstrom (8 GP, 5-3-0, 2.96 GAA, .911 save percentage), Anders Nilsson (6 GP, 3-3-0, 2.67 GAA, .912 save percentage).

Fun number: Brendan Gaunce is averaging two points per game (scoring two points in his first match on Halloween night against Chicago after being called up from the AHL).

Player of the month

It’s Pettersson in a runaway. The rookie sensation, despite missing six games with a concussion, has taken the league by storm, producing at a 100-point pace and drawing comparisons to Pavel Datsyuk and even Wayne Gretzky. Pettersson was named the NHL’s rookie of the month for October. If he’s not already the face of franchise, it’s not far off. Honourable mention: Horvat.

Biggest surprise: With a stick tap to the late-month, minute-munching efforts of defenceman Ben Hutton, the nod goes to Virtanen, who rounded out the month in style on Halloween with the first two-goal game of his career. His goal-scoring exploits have also spawned the humorous ‘Shotgun Jake’ phenomenon.

Biggest disappointment: While a reported nagging groin injury has contributed to the slow start (two goals) for sniper Boeser, veteran Loui Eriksson, he of the six-year, $36M contract, has yet to score in 14 games this season.

Best win: Horvat netted the OT winner in a 2-1 victory on Oct. 20 over the hated Boston Bruins.

Worst loss: On Oct. 27, the Canucks were pounded 5-0 by the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Best fight: A helmet knock to Erik Gudbranson’s tilt with Calgary’s Travis Hamonic on Oct. 3, but the surprise factor of Horvat dropping the mitts with Boston’s Noel Acciari allows that spirited bout to take top spot.

Injury update: The Canucks have been beset by injuries. Currently on injured reserve: promising goalie prospect Thatcher Demko (concussion), veteran centre Jay Beagle (fractured forearm), the team’s top defence pair of Alex Edler (lower-body injury) and Chris Tanev (hip), goalie Nilsson (broken finger), centre Brandon Sutter (upper-body injury) and winger Sven Baertschi (upper-body injury).

On the farm: Vancouver’s AHL club, the Utica Comets, finished October with a 4-6-0 record, good for sixth in the league’s North Division. Darren Archibald, Adam Gaudette, Guillaume Brisebois, Alex Biega, Gaunce, Richard Bachman and Jalen Chatfield have all been summoned at some point by the big club due to the rash of injuries. Reid Boucher (8 GP, 9-3-12) leads the Comets in scoring, while defence prospect Olli Juolevi (10 GP, 1-5-6) is off to a solid start offensively.

Coming this month: The Canucks play 14 times in November, with home games against Colorado (Nov. 2) and Montreal (Nov. 17), sandwiched around a six-game road trip that will see them play in Detroit, Boston, Buffalo, New York (Rangers and Islanders) and Minnesota, all within the space of 10 days. Then it’s back home for a Nov. 19 game with Winnipeg, three California games in four nights against Anaheim, San Jose and L.A., before wrapping up the month at home with games on Nov. 27 against L.A. and Nov. 29 against the Vegas Golden Knights.

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

 

Vancouver Canucks defenceman Erik Gudbranson (44) tries to clear Minnesota Wild left wing Zach Parise (11) from in front of Vancouver Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom (25) during third period NHL hockey action in Vancouver, Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Just Posted

Central Coast Regional District swears in new Board of Directors

There are three new faces representing our region and two returning directors

VIDEO: Black horse signals ‘sign of peace’ for Tsilhqot’in Nation

Justin Trudeau rides black horse provided by Cooper family

Trudeau exonerates hanged war chiefs of 1864 on B.C. Tsilhqot’in title lands

Prime minister rides horseback with Chief Joe Alphonse, TNG Chairman, to Xeni Gwet’in meeting place

B.C. Legions in need of young members to continue aiding veterans into the future

Lest we forget what thousands of men and women did to fight for Canada’s freedoms – but without new membership, many Legion chapters face dwindling numbers

Rain, snowfall warnings in effect across B.C.

B.C.’s Interior set to get hit with snow while the Lower Mainland is expected to see more rain

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Drug-related deaths double for B.C. youth in care, advocate says

Teens say positive connections with adults key to recovery

Children’s strawberry-flavoured medicines recalled due to faulty safety cap

Three different acetaminophen syrups part of nationwide recall

Around the BCHL: Junior A cities to host World Junior tuneup games

Around the BCHL is a look at what’s happening in the league and around the junior A world.

International students hit hard by B.C. tuition fee hikes

Campaign seeks regulatory controls be imposed on post-secondary institutions

Stolen truck involved in fatal collision on Highway 16

Wednesday’s two-vehicle crash killed one man, 23, and injured two others

Trudeau pushes for more Saudi accountability in Khashoggi killing

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada is still seeking clear answers from Saudi Arabia about what happened to Jamal Khashoggi

School bullying video shows how people with disabilities are devalued: advocates

Brett Corbett, who has cerebral palsy, is seen in a video being stepped while lying in water

CFL will use extra on-field official to watch for illegal blows to quarterback

If the extra official sees an illegal blow that has not already been flagged, they will advise the head referee, who can then assess a penalty for roughing the passer

Most Read