The Pacific Division playoff race received a significant shake-up on Wednesday night when two contenders announced the injury absences of key players. The Vancouver Canucks, fighting hard to stay in the playoff race, will be without defenseman Chris Tanev “week-to-week” with a lower-body injury. The same generalized injury and timeline was later announced by the Vegas Golden Knights in regards to veteran forward Max Pacioretty as well.
Tanev is no stranger to injury, having missed considerable time in each of the past three seasons. In fact, Tanev was on pace for the first full season of his career and could still top his career high of 70 games played if he returns for only two more contests. When healthy, Tanev is arguably the Canucks’ best two-way defenseman. Fortunately, he is not as much of a lynchpin player this season following the additions of rookie sensation Quinn Hughes and major free agent add Tyler Myers. Still, with the Canucks currently sitting in the final wild card spot out west and already missing starting goalie Jacob Markstrom, the team surely hopes that “week-to-week” might just mean a week or two tops without Tanev.
Meanwhile, the Pacific-leading Golden Knights are dealing with an even bigger loss. Pacioretty is the team’s leading scorer and has been healthy for every game up until this point. His injury comes much around the same time as last season and under similar circumstances. Vegas was hindered by a rash of injuries late last season as well and find themselves in the same place this year, with Pacioretty, Mark Stone, and Alex Tuch all sidelined. With only a three-point lead on the Edmonton Oilers, who hold a game in hand, the Knights’ division lead is at risk if Pacioretty’s “week-to-week” prognosis ends up extending into April.