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Canucks can clinch NHL’s first playoff spot Monday

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The Vancouver Canucks can become the first team this season to clinch a playoff berth on Monday night. 

After missing the playoffs for the seventh time in eight years last season, the Canucks have spent this season contending for the Presidents' Trophy and are currently tied with the New York Rangers for first place in the league. 

Vancouver will clinch their playoff spot if the St. Louis Blues fail to win against the Vegas Golden Knights Monday and they defeat the Los Angeles Kings. Alternatively, the Canucks will clinch if the Blues lose in regulation and Vancouver picks up at least a point. 

With 98 points through 71 games, the Canucks already have their best total since hitting 101 points in 2014-15. 

It's been a significant turnaround for the team after starting 18-25-3 under Bruce Boudreau last season before Rick Tocchet took over as head coach.

“Ah, I do think that we had hopes during the process that we would be going in the right direction, but I wouldn’t think we would be in first place, no, definitely not,” Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun in The Athletic last week.

“I think we’re still learning every day,” Allvin added. “I do give the coaches and the players a lot of credit for working as a unit and having a partnership together. Everything starts with trust. That’s been the biggest thing.”

Allvin noted to LeBrun that the Canucks are lacking in playoff experience. J.T. Miller, Elias Pettersson, Quinn Hughes, Brock Boeser and Tyler Myers still remain from the team that reached the second round of the playoffs in the NHL bubble in 2020, along with goaltender Thatcher Demko who served as Jacob Markstrom's backup during the run. 

The Canucks have won three straight games after opening their current nine-game homestand at 1-2-1.