Former Washington Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau became the third bench boss in NHL history to lead his new team to seven straight wins to begin his tenure when the Vancouver Canucks beat the Anaheim Ducks, his former club, by a score of 2-1 at Honda Center on Wednesday. The game was the Canucks’ first in 13 days due to COVID-19 issues.
The streak has powered the Canucks just four points back of the Edmonton Oilers for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference, though the Oilers have two games in hand. The team is also back to the .500 points percentage mark after starting 8-15-2 under Travis Green before he was fired on December 6. Overall, the Canucks have won nine of their last 10.
The hot start is nothing new for Boudreau as he led the Capitals to a 37-17-7 record after getting hired on Thanksgiving during the 2007-08 season. The team started 6-14-1.
After missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs with the Anaheim Ducks in the 2011-12 season where he was hired a quarter of the way through, Boudreau not only led them to the postseason but second overall in the Western Conference. He also took the Minnesota Wild from the second wild-card prior to his arrival to second in the West in his first season behind the bench in the State of Hockey.
Since getting hired, the Canucks are tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins for the NHL lead in points percentage, rank 20th with a 2.83 goals-per-game average, are third with a 1.83 goals-per-game average, are tied for the league average with a 21.4% power-play efficiency, and eighth with an 85.7% penalty-killing rate. The team’s 64.6% penalty kill through 25 games was the worst in NHL history during that span of a season.
While the Canucks have had plenty of success since Boudreau got behind the bench, there is still plenty more digging to do and it will not be easy in a division with the Vegas Golden Knights, Edmonton Oilers, and Anaheim Ducks. They are chasing six teams for the final wild-card spot and all of them have games in hand.
The Canucks will look to extend their winning streak on Thursday when they continue their Pacific coast trip against the Los Angeles Kings at Crypto.com Arena (10:30 PM ET, ESPN+).
Boudreau and the Canucks will visit Washington on January 16. The Capitals will head out to the Pacific Coast to face Vancouver on March 11.
By Harrison Brown