Canucks return home with a positive mindset after winless road trip

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VANCOUVER– The Vancouver Canucks are back home and won’t panic despite not having a win in their first five games this season.

They began with an 0-3-2 road trip that concluded with back-to-back 4-3 overtime losses to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday and the Minnesota Wild on Thursday. Vancouver remains the only team without a win in the NHL and has given up the lead in all five games.

But coach Bruce Boudreau is trying to focus on the positives after the Canucks’ season began with three straight regulation losses.

“The [Stanley Cup Playoffs] You don’t win in October, unless you’re playing baseball,” Boudreau said. “We just watched a lot of clips from the last game, and there are so many positives that if we keep doing the right things, these losses will turn into wins, and they’ll still be wins. for a long time”.

The Canucks began the season with a 3-0 lead against the Edmonton Oilers on October 12, only to allow five straight goals in a 5-3 loss. They then blew two-goal leads against the Philadelphia Flyers, Washington Capitals and Columbus, becoming the first team in NHL history to lose four straight games after holding a multi-goal lead in each.

They have been tied or leading entering the third period of every game, including Thursday’s 3-2.

Boudreau, who has been stuck at 599 NHL wins for six straight since the end of last season, called his team “mentally weak” after giving up a two-goal lead against the Capitals on Monday, but said the Friday he has seen an improvement in both games. as.

He’ll try again for No. 600 in the Canucks’ home opener against the Buffalo Sabers at Rogers Arena on Saturday (10 pm ET; CBC, SNO, SNP, MSG-B, ESPN+, SN NOW).

“We’ve been through parenting where you’re tough on them and then you build them back up,” Boudreau said. “It’s not like we’re losing 6-1 every night and getting outmatched. We’re there until the end in every game we’ve played, and it just hasn’t bounced back in the last seven minutes of the third period.

“We haven’t had that luck, but the things that we’re doing much better than we were doing a week before, the things that we’re doing better than we were doing two weeks before, at that continued pace, I’m very excited.” about what’s coming.”

Special teams have played a big role in the winless start. The penalty kick, which also struggled at the start of last season, ranks 31st in the NHL at 58.8 percent; Power play ranks 25th in the league at 10.5 per cent after scoring two goals on 19 occasions and has allowed two short-handed goals to tie games.

“We pride ourselves on building momentum and making a difference, and a lot of games in the NHL come down to penalties and power plays,” the forward said. jt millerwho plays in each

The power play, which finished ninth in the NHL at 23.5 percent last season, had a chance to put the Canucks ahead in the final six minutes of the third period in each of the past two games, but didn’t could convert. But Miller thinks he’s heading in the right direction.

“We did everything we could in the last game to score on those two chances we had. [in Minnesota], especially the last one,” Miller said. “I think everybody had a chance to score, so once again, we know it’s a long process and we feel good about the power play of the last game. We have faith in it.”

Miller, who signed a seven-year, $56 million deal on Sept. 6 that begins next season, has three points (two goals, one assist) in five games but is the worst team minus 5 after being on the ice for the first nine goals against.

“I felt like the last couple of games, I actually started to feel more comfortable,” Miller said.

As for the rest of the Canucks, Miller echoed Boudreau’s sentiments.

“It’s not that bad,” Miller said. “It’s five games and we’re going in the right direction, whether people realize it or not. We believe a lot. It’s optimistic there. We’re excited to play [Saturday]. We are excited to be home.

“It’s not down [in the locker room]. There were moments on the road trip that were depressing, for sure, but it will make us stronger at the end of the day, and it’s important that we get through it.”

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