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Tocchet: 'It's go time' for playoff-bound Canucks

Jeff Vinnick / National Hockey League / Getty

In a span of less than 24 hours, the Vancouver Canucks clinched their spot in the playoffs and then beat the Anaheim Ducks to secure their 100th point of the season.

Head coach Rick Tocchet acknowledged the "big" moment but isn't about to take his foot off the gas.

"Coming into this situation, we were supposed to be a bubble (team). ... It was good that the players didn't hear the outside noise and they just believed in themselves," he told reporters after Vancouver's 3-2 win Sunday.

"I thought they did a hell of a job this year to get us to this situation, but now it's go time," he added. "We need some guys to find their game. Our team's gotta find our game."

The Canucks now have a six-point edge over Edmonton for first place in the Pacific, though the Oilers have played two fewer games.

The Canucks haven't appeared in the playoffs since 2020 when they fell to the Vegas Golden Knights in the second round. Those games took place in Edmonton because of the pandemic, so the last time Vancouver's Rogers Arena hosted a playoff game was in 2015.

Canucks forward Conor Garland knows how much a return to the postseason means to the hockey-hungry city.

"To play in a Canadian market, there's a lot of pressure," he said, per Sportsnet. "But the reward is when you can play in the playoffs and have that crowd behind you, have the city behind you.

"We've earned that right to have a home game here in Game 1."

Only six players on the roster - Tyler Myers, Brock Boeser, Quinn Hughes, Elias Pettersson, J.T. Miller, and Thatcher Demko - were part of the Canucks' playoff run four years ago.

Dakota Joshua, meanwhile, only has one game of playoff experience under his belt.

"We can feel and tell how important it is, not only player-to-player, but for everybody involved," he said. "It was a goal of ours when we started off. Just to get into the dance is the first step, then you go from there."

Vancouver last eclipsed the 100-point mark in 2014-15. That team was led by Daniel and Henrik Sedin, who had 76 and 73 points in 82 games, respectively. Hughes, Pettersson, and Miller have already surpassed those offensive marks with eight games remaining this season.

The Canucks will face the Golden Knights on Tuesday.

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