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

Nearly 200 motorcycles take off from Cloverdale for Brenden’s Ride

Annual fundraiser supports programs that empower people with disabilities

VIDEO: 5X Festival takes over Surrey’s Central City plaza

Second annual event draws thousands of people throughout the day

Cloverdale’s 5 most-read stories of the week, June 7–13

Vet leaves dead dog in freezer for 78 days, local high school goes into ‘hold and secure,’ and more

City shifts proposed transit station to King George after cancellation of LRT

Council to consider Newton Town Centre plan in fall

Surrey mayor suggests building a canal on ‘less busy’ road

Doug McCallum likens the idea to canals in Venice and Qatar shopping centre

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

Pride flag taken down by Township of Langley

Woman said she was told it was removed from her front yard because of a complaint

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

Most Read