What a way to end it. The Vancouver Canucks finished off their franchise-record, season opening road trip of six games with a 4-2 victory Saturday night over the Seattle Kraken in that franchise’s first ever home game. The rivalry is off and running. The Kraken held two one-goal leads in the hockey game before Vancouver came back for good in the latter stages of the third period. It wasn’t the prettiest effort, but the Canucks got away with it against an expansion team whose record falls to 1-4-1.
Simmer’s Three Stars:
3) Conor Garland – Big time. He’s always on or around this list. Scored the game-winner and had an earlier assist.
2) Bo Horvat – Two big goals, the second one on the power play monumental, given the timing of it in the third period and the simple fact the PP clicked in a clutch spot.
1) Thatcher Demko – If not for their goalie, this Vancouver Canucks game is likely over in the second period.
The Canucks started the season and finished the road trip 3-2-and-1, exactly the record we predicted they would have back in early September. Our little prognostications “Five (Too) Early Predictions for the Vancouver Canucks” are now 2-for-2 with four more to go. We won’t get the result of the next one until December, unless Conor Garland gets to 12 goals well before Christmas. After Saturday night he has three.
Speaking of the water bug, here are the Canucks scoring leaders through six games:
Garland – 3 goals, 5 assists, 8 points
JT Miller – 1 goal, 7 assists, 8 points
Bo Horvat – 3 goals, 1 assist, 4 points
Quinn Hughes* – 1 goal, 3 assists, 4 points
Tanner Pearson – 1 goal, 2 assists, 3 points
Elias Pettersson – 1 goal, 2 assists, 3 points
Nils Höglander – 0 goals, 3 assists, 3 points
Five other players have two points and five more players have one point.
The young third-pair D-tandem of Jack Rathbone and Kyle Burroughs are looking for their first goal or helper.
* Hughes reached 100 career points in his 133rd game in Chicago Thursday night, the 10th fastest pace for an NHL defenceman in the last forty years.
Simmer’s Three Stars for the road trip are only slightly modified from what we saw Saturday night:
3) Quinn Hughes – The Canucks are a different team with him in the line-up. His absence was glaring in the loss against Buffalo.
2) Conor Garland – The team’s energy catalyst, shift disturber and co-leading scorer.
1) Thatcher Demko – Again I refer to the old saying “they should change the name of the game to ‘goalie'”.
“It’s a good trip, we did a lot of good things,” Canucks Head Coach Travis Green said after Saturday’s game. “When playing six games on the road there’s a lot of good parts in terms of bonding as a team on the road, being together as a group especially with a lot of new players. Happy to get the win tonight.”
The Vancouver Canucks have another team day off on Sunday, well deserved coming off the win and trip, will practice Monday, and then host the Minnesota Wild in the home opener at Rogers Arena on Tuesday.