WASHINGTON– Bruce Boudreau would have preferred to get his 600th NHL victory in one of the Vancouver Canucks’ first two games this season or in their final last season.
Instead, the Canucks coach has a chance to hit the mark in familiar surroundings against the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena on Monday (7 p.m. ET; CITY, SNP, NBCSWA, ESPN+, SN NOW).
Boudreau’s NHL coaching career began with the Capitals on November 23, 2007, after replacing Glen Hanlon. He went 201-88-40 in five seasons, including 37-17-7 in his first season to win the Jack Adams Award as NHL Coach of the Year.
“Honestly, before the start of this season, I didn’t think about it,” Boudreau said Sunday. “…When you start to think about it, it drags on, but it would be a nice place. I’m sure they don’t want me to win here, but I just hope we win a game for the guys. mental [confidence].”
The Canucks are 0-2-0 after blowing a three-goal lead in a 5-3 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday, and a two-goal lead heading into a 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers Saturday. With three games remaining on the road to a season-opening five, Vancouver feels the urgency to secure a win on Monday, even with two games remaining in the season.
“I never think of it as just two games down because you look at the standings every day and say, ‘Oh man, we’re four points down’ or ‘Vegas have won three games in a row, we’re six points down. late,'” Boudreau said. “So you want to get that first win. All teams do that.”
That will be the goal on Monday, although the Canucks would like to get No. 600 for Boudreau, who is 599-319-125 in 16 seasons with the Capitals, Anaheim Ducks, Minnesota Wild and Ducks. Vancouver went 32-15-10 in 57 games after Boudreau replaced Travis Green as coach on Dec. 5, 2021, but dropped five points to advance to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Canucks finished last season with a 3-2 shootout loss to the Oilers on April 29 in their first attempt at Boudreau’s 600th win. The 67-year-old would be the 22nd manager to reach that number.
“We’re trying to get his 600th win since Edmonton last year, so that’s unfortunate,” the Vancouver forward said. Brock Boeser said. “We just want to win. Obviously we know we need the first [of the season]. It’s his 600th so if we get the first one it will be a special moment for him.”
Looking for a spark, Boudreau shuffled the line combinations on Sunday, with center Bo Horvat replace JT Miller on the top line between Tanner Pearson and Boeser, and Miller moving into Horvat’s former location between Vasily Podkolzin and Conor Garland. Curtis Lazar also replaced Nils Hoglander to the right wing on a line with Andrei Kuzmenko and Elias Petttersson, and Hoglander moved on to Lazar’s previous location with Dakota Joshua and Nils Aman.
The Canucks also worked on their power play, which was 1-for-13 (7.7%) with two shorthanded goals allowed in their first two games. Their penalty kill, which allowed four goals in nine shorthanded games (55.6%), also struggled.
“We didn’t play the way we wanted to, so we have to learn from that,” Pettersson said. “I think we played some good hockey, but we didn’t play two good 60 minutes and I think we were sloppy in some areas. The power play wasn’t good, but we just found a way and worked hard for 60 minutes.”