One of the most overused terms in sports – aside from “giving it 110%” and “taking it one game at a time” is calling something a must-win game. Sure, there are real must-win games, like an elimination game during the Stanley Cup playoffs, but by and large, calling a game in late October “must win” is nothing more than hyperbole.
And for the Vancouver Canucks, Saturday’s tilt against the Washington Capitals is no different. They don’t have to win. The season won’t be in the tank if they fail to pick up two points. They won’t miss the playoffs with that one loss alone, and the roof of Rogers Arena will definitely not collapse under the weight of a defeat.
But man, wouldn’t a win be nice?
The Capitals, as you may have heard by now, are one of the league’s top teams – they lost their first game of the year Thursday to the surprising Edmonton Oilers – and considering how much the Canucks have struggled out of the gate this year, the game will be likely be the toughest of the season to this point.
The Canucks’ struggles have been well documented so far this season, but imagine what a strong game – and two points – could do for this team. For starters, a good game from the much-maligned Roberto Luongo would get some of the doubters off his back (and set him up for a good November, after a less than impressive Octover); a good game could potentially ignite some of the team’s secondary scorers to, well, score; escaping the game with an even or positive plus/minus couldn’t hurt the likes of Kevin Bieksa or Keith Ballard, either, and a big win over a good team like Washington could give the team momentum going into November.
Or they could lose by six and get laughed out of the building. At this point, with a team this inconsistent (at the moment), either result is possible. But for the sake of staying positive, let’s hope for a win to help this team right the ship.