1) The Canucks had a stretch of 10 minutes of power play time over a 10:22 span in the second period of Wednesday's 4-1 win over the New York Rangers. They scored once with the man-advantage and twice in 11 seconds in those 22 seconds of even-strength time in between. That tells both the story of the night and the season for Travis Green's hockey club. The game turned with a pair of Tyler Motte goals in between Chris Kreider's major penalty for elbowing Elias Pettersson and Brendan Lemieux's match penalty for a check to the head of Antoine Roussel. An unlikely hero, Motte took the lead from 1-0 to 3-0 in the blink of an eye. His goals came after Brock Boeser opened the scoring with on the power play 6:07 into the second period. The puck found its way to Boeser in the circle to the right of Henrik Lundqvist and the Canucks triggerman didn't hesitate and looked the part of an elite goal-scorer hammering home a one-timer for his 23rd goal of the season, but just his fourth on the power play. It was his first with the man-advantage since December 29th in Calgary and his first on home ice since December 16th. With 12 games remaining, the streaky scorer still has an outside shot at a 30-goal season which would eclipse the 29 he scored in his injury-shortened rookie season. It'll be an uphill climb, but a few more power play goals like Wednesday's would go a long way to helping him get there.
2) While the Canucks won the hockey game, they lost Antoine Roussel for the remainder of the season. Roussel suffered a knee injury after falling awkwardly when he collided with Lemieux on the play leading to the 3-0 goal. Roussel's stick appeared to get tangled up with Henrik Lundquist and the Canuck forward ran into Lemieux although it's hard to see where the play warranted a major penalty. The call was for a check to the head and there was some initial concern that Roussel, who missed training camp and the preseason with a concussion, had suffered another head injury. But following the game, Travis Green revealed that Roussel had been diagnosed with a knee injury that will prevent him from playing the final dozen games. A spark plug who often dragged the Canucks into the battle, Roussel picked up an assist on the 3-0 goal and finished the season with 9+22=31 after establishing a career-high for points with 30 on Saturday against Vegas. It's an unfortunate end to an impactful first season for the 29-year-old Frenchman who started the year on the injury list and that's where he'll finish it, too. Roussel should get strong consideration for the team's unsung hero award when year-end hardware is handed out on April 2nd.
3) The news was only slightly better for prize prospect Quinn Hughes. After the game, it was announced that the MRI on Hughes' ankle showed a deep bone bruise, but no fracture. He will be in a walking boot and out at least one more week delaying his highly-anticipated NHL debut. It's unfortunate for the player, the organization and the fan base that Hughes won't be able to jump into the line-up right away. If his recovery goes smoothly, he should still be able to get into a handful of games before the season ends. And with the Canucks on a seven-game homestand after a quick trip to Dallas and Chicago over the weekend, the timeline all but guarantees Hughes will play his first game as a Canuck in front of the home fans. The injury update also ensures that Hughes will not play enough games to be open to an offer sheet when his entry level contract expires nor will he have to be protected in the expansion draft to stock the new Seattle NHL franchise. It was mildly surprising that Hughes was not introduced to the Canucks fans in the building on Wednesday after meeting the media earlier in the day. Not even the club-produced arrival at YVR video was shown on the big screen. It was almost as if Hughes had not yet signed or arrived on the scene. And now it will be a while still before the fans get a chance to see him.
4) The night started with some significant news, too. For the first time since signing his six-year/$36 million contract in the summer of 2016, Loui Eriksson was a healthy scratch. He snapped a 17-game goal drought scoring against Toronto last week, but that was his only goal in the past 20 games. More than that, he has just three assists in his last 37 games -- and two of them were on empty-net goals in the same game against Florida in January. In other words, some solid penalty killing shifts are no longer enough to ensure the 33-year-old winger has a spot in the line-up. And now it raises questions about how much more playing time Eriksson will see the remainder of this season and beyond. In 184 games as a Canuck, Eriksson has 31+38=69 -- offensive totals some had hoped he would reach in his first year of the mega-contract. Obviously, he hasn't come close with 11 goals in the first season remaining the high-water mark after scoring 30 in his final year in Boston. There is some irony that on the night Eriksson was scratched, the fourth line was as productive as it has been all season. But there very well may be a message in there, too.
5) The New York Rangers are not very good. After Wednesday's loss, they have just one win in their last nine games (1-3-5). Scoring leader Mika Zibanejad showed some flash and picked up an assist on Pavel Buchnevich's power play goal midway through the third, but otherwise there wasn't much to their game. Obviously, running into penalty problems did not help their cause. The 13:34 the Canucks spent on the power play on the night was a season-high eclipsing the 10:19 they had in Minnesota in November. The win was just the second regulation victory for the Canucks in the past 18 games and just their third since the All-Star break. It was also the second time the club had scored more than three goals in 18 games -- the other was a 4-0 win over Anaheim on February 25th.