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A Wild Ride with a Brock Boeser Shift Diary, Canucks-Oilers

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Vancouver Canucks, Brock Boeser
Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser just before scoring his 100th career NHL goal.

Heading into Saturday night’s game between the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers, one of the keys for the home team was getting a strong showing from some of the Canucks upscale offensive performers. Among them, Brock Boeser. In the five games he has played since returning from a lower body injury that occurred near the end of September and kept him out of the line-up through the first three games of the season, the winger has one goal and one assist.

Since we’re not feeling the urge to profile or log the slumping Elias Pettersson (“Petey”) every single night, although it’s tempting, let’s shift-diary his linemate Boeser, the 24-year-old fifth-year Canuck from Burnsville, Minnesota. Among others, his performance Saturday night could make or break the Vancouver Canucks against the Oilers.

1st Period

The “Lotto Line” intact for this game to start, with Boeser, Pettersson and JT Miller from right to left.

:56-2:15 Came on just as Pettersson was making a solo rush through centre ice, gaining the zone and firing a shot on goalie Mikko Koskinen, who cradled it and held on. Face-off in the LW circle, won by the Canucks, Tucker Poolman immediately fired a shot wide from the point. After an Edmonton clear, the puck was sent out of play near their bench. Petey lost the neutral zone draw. OIlers up ice, chipped puck deep. Boeser shadowing Connor McDavid. Canucks clear via Boeser, on the far boards.

5:20-6:25 Joined the play for a nifty rush through the neutral zone, Boeser flipping it to Miller along the left wing boards crossing the Oilers blueline, the return pass across for Petey heading to the net was broken up. Back came the Oilers, they gained the Vancouver zone but fired a shot wide. Boeser worked his way to protect the point and there were no scoring chances.

8:48-9:40 The Lotto Line has dominated its shifts. Boeser picked up a puck on the off wing and started a cycle. This possession led to two shots wide off good scoring chances and another being blocked. The Oilers cleared and the Canucks quickly turned it right back into the Edmonton zone. Same story, quick cycle, no shots registered. The entire sequence ended with Tyler Myers being called for hooking. Uh oh.

1-0, Edmonton – Warren Foegele (2) – Nurse and Bouchard – 11:39 (Power Play Goal)

11:39-12:40 After the goal, Petey lost the centre ice draw and quickly gave up a golden two-on-one scoring chance for the Oilers, saved and held by Thatcher Demko. With the whistle came a TV timeout. The shift continued with a D-zone draw, controlled by Edmonton. A shot went wide, the Canucks cleared and Boeser was primary forward (F1) on the forecheck. The Oilers gained the Canucks zone again, cycled, lost the puck, but on the breakout pass, Boeser went cross ice in his own end and had the pass picked off by McDavid, who flipped a pass to Jesse Puljujarvi, who ripped a shot off the post stick-side of Demko. Wow, not good.

15:15-16:30 Spent most of the shift in the D-zone, watching the points and the covering the high slot. Showed good stick on one half-wall to point pass by deflecting it out of the zone. Edmonton backpedalled and again Boeser was in on the forecheck. After some neutral zone play, with the Canucks trapping, with possession gained and a re-group, they changed.

18:45-19:50 Defensive posture first, followed by Boeser’s best scoring chance of the period off the rush. Oliver Ekman-Larsson fired a shot-pass down low to the left wing circle where Boeser deflected it wide of the near post. Then spent time backpedalling in the neutral zone.

Edmonton Oilers 1, Vancouver Canucks 0

2nd Period

:55-2:10 On a stretch pass from Hughes to Miller along the left wing boards, Miller gained possession and the zone and didn’t see Boeser alone on the far wing. He was calling for the puck and it would have been a clear lane to the net. Time and space closed up on Miller. On the next rush, the Canucks created successfully. Boeser fanned on a shot in the slot, but the puck ended up with Ekman-Larsson who ripped a shot off the cross bar. In the scramble, the puck was in Boeser’s feet, but no luck. After an icing call, the Lotto Line stayed out for the O-zone draw in the left wing circle. They won it and the group had another scoring chance.

4:55-5:36 Right off the bench a 2-on-1 give-and-go developed with Petey. Boeser held it and fired a shot wide from the right circle. The Canucks kept it in, Petey got a good shot off, a scramble ensued with Boeser and Pettersson in the slot flailing, but Koskinen covered. Pettersson won the draw in the LW circle, Boeser got a quick shot off that was turned aside by Koskinen. Oilers rushed and the puck went out of play after a McDavid drop pass and shot by Puljujarvi.

8:30-10:00 A summary suffices here. The Lotto Line was buzzing. Barnstorming the Oilers zone with chances, a prolonged cycle, and a busy Mikko Koskinen. An impressive, dominating offensive shift. At the end of the chances, after the Oilers finally cleared and his linemates had changed, Boeser got caught out on the long change on the far boards and appeared gassed as Edmonton gained the Canucks zone. Fortunately for him the sequence didn’t last long and he was able to change off a clear.

11:46-12:28 D-zone watching the left point man. Break out off a takeaway resulted in a failed entry. Back came the Oilers, play along the boards in the Canucks zone. Shot from a tough angle, gloved and held by Demko. TV time-out, line change with face-off coming up in Canucks zone.

13:29-14:15 RW O-zone face-off off an Oilers icing. More swarm. The Vancouver Canucks were inches away from tying the hockey game with chances off the cycle.

16:20-17:02 Teams swapped rushes but nothing developed. (Ekman-Larsson took a high-sticking penalty after this shift at 17:53. Uh oh)

2-0, Edmonton – Leon Draisaitl (2) – Nugent-Hopkins and McDavid – 19:20 (Power Play Goal)

Edmonton Oilers 2, Vancouver Canucks 0

3rd Period

:49-2:00 All D-zone, as McDavid’s line cycled and created chances. Near the end of the sequence, Demko absolutely robbed McDavid on the left post with his right pad. McDavid got knocked over into the crease.

5:02-6:02 RW O-zone face-off. Oilers win draw, Canucks steal and get a scoring chance. Recovery and cycle. Boeser gets a shot off from the left circle, blocked. Oilers clear, next Canucks zone entry fails. McDavid makes a dramatic solo rush around Luke Schenn and Demko makes a beautiful kick save. Change.

8:55-9:40 Offensive zone draw lost and not much happening from there. D-zone, no real threat, good stick, Canucks clear, Oilers right back for easy shot that Demko gloves for a whistle.

11:40-12:20 Line rush, Miller to Petey for a good chance.

14:43-15:40 LW O-zone draw. Canucks control but Hughes loses puck under pressure at the left point. Moments later on recovery, Canucks guilty of icing. Face-off glove side of Demko. Canucks win it, Boeser rushes with it but loses it at Oilers line.

15:13-20:00 LW )-zone draw. Oilers win it and clear. They gain zone and put on pressure.  Canucks gain puck and send Demko to the bench. 6-on-5. Canucks able to gain zone. Petey makes a bad pass that leaves the zone and Canucks have to start over. After an icing, same group out for LW O-zone draw. Vancouver wins it. Point shot. Save. Scramble. Darnell Nurse picks up a cross checking penalty.

Now 6-on-4 with 3:01 remaining in 3rd period. Face off LW circle. Canucks swarming. Koskinen makes two incredible saves, including a blocker save on Boeser alone in the slot. Craziness. Time-out taken by coach Travis Green with :40-seconds remaining to give his main group some rest before a right wing circle draw. Canucks finally control for a point shot wide. After puck is chipped free, the puck ends up on Boeser’s stick in the left wing circle alone. He tees it up, waits, fires, and goes top shelf blocker side. Unfortunately the goal came with just five second remaining in the game.

2-1, Vancouver – Boeser (2) – Miller, Horvat – 19:54 (6-on-5)

It was Boeser’s 100th career NHL goal.

Final Score: Edmonton Oilers 2, Vancouver Canucks 1

VHN Managing Editor Rob Simpson has been covering the NHL for three decades on live TV, radio, and as a journalist. He worked his first ever game getting postgame sound as a teenager; it was Vancouver vs. Detroit.

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