Bo Horvat said he is confident in his Vancouver Canucks teammates who could be playing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time.
"I think they will be up for it," the Canucks captain said Thursday. "They know what it takes to win, and they know what playoff hockey is like. I think they are going to be ready for it. They have the game to suit the playoffs."
Forwards Brock Boeser, Elias Pettersson, defenseman Quinn Hughes and goalie Jacob Markstrom are among the Vancouver players who have never participated in an NHL postseason.
Boeser had 45 points (16 goals, 29 assists) in 57 games this season; Pettersson, the Calder Trophy winner as NHL rookie of the year in 2018-19, had 66 points (27 goas, 39 assists) in 68 games; Hughes, a Calder favorite this season, led rookies with 53 points (eight goals, 45 assists) in 68 games. Markstrom was 23-16-4 with a 2.75 goals-against average, .918 save percentage and two shutouts in 43 games.
"I don't think there's much to be said, I think they just know what needs to be done and our main goal at the end of it," Horvat said.
The NHL season was paused on March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus but under the NHL Return to Play Plan, the Canucks will be one of 24 teams competing for the Stanley Cup. The Canucks (36-27-6; .565 points percentage) enter the Stanley Cup Qualifiers as the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference. They will play the No. 10 seed, the Minnesota Wild (35-27-7, .558), in one of eight best-of-5 series, with the winner advancing to the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the loser having a chance at the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft in the Second Phase of the NHL Draft Lottery.