Final Score: Vancouver Canucks 6, Dallas Stars 3
Hockey Fights Cancer Night at Rogers Arena meant the Vancouver Canucks had the opportunity to honour Terry Fox. Forget being just one of the greatest Canadians of all time, I’d call his Marathon of Hope in 1980 one of the most courageous and unbelievable acts in the history of human history. I’m one of those who falls under the category of continuously awestruck; it’s difficult not getting misty and mildly overwhelmed every time I hear “he ran a marathon every day for 143 days on one leg.” I know of nothing else in my somewhat lengthy, somewhat worldly existence that compares.
The game progression …
Here’s something different … NOT! First period, Thatcher Demko makes an incredible save, in this case almost beyond incredible, robbing Dallas’s Jamie Benn with a diving stick stop in front of an otherwise empty net. The Rogers Arena faithful cheered continuously after the save, even before seeing the effort from five different angles on the big screen, which brought more ooo’s and ahh’s.
Then, which is also customary, the Canucks played a pretty even first period as it related to five-on-five. Both teams had less than a handful of scoring chances and the shots ended up even after 20 minutes, 11-11.
Only two of those shots on goal for Dallas came on their power play, and one of them, as has also become customary for the Vancouver Canucks penalty kill, went in. Joe Pavelski tucked it inside the left wing post at 13:35 with an assist to Jason Robertson.
For the tenth time in twelve Vancouver Canucks games, the opponent scored first. More come from behind hockey.
When the puck pundits of the world give their early thoughts on the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games, one of the areas they naturally bring up is goaltending, and the feeling looking ahead is that Team USA will have an advantage in net. Yes, they have depth, and options, but most tend to lean toward Connor Hellebuyck of the Winnipeg Jets as the number-one. I would suggest they take a seriously long look at Number-35 in that Vancouver Canucks sweater. Holy moly, he’s been tough to top this early season. Veteran John Gibson of the Ducks is another in the mix.
The built-in irony of course is that Canucks fans will spend February rooting against their favourite netminder.
The Vancouver Canucks shook a gigantic monkey off their backs with a power play goal at the 2:19 of the 2nd period on their first man advantage of the evening. It didn’t take long, just seven seconds after Miro Heiskanen went to the box for tripping, JT Miller tallied his 4th goal of the season from Quinn Hughes and Brock Boeser. It came off a face-off win by Bo Horvat in the LW circle. The goal ended an 0-for-18 drought for Vancouver on the power play.
Confidence renewed, the Canucks scored another power play goal on their next opportunity, Elias Pettersson with just his second goal of the season at 6:37 of the 2nd, going top shelf glove-side from the high slot.
Purely a coincidence, but the Vancouver Canucks power play exhibited way more movement than usual, less than 24-hours after we published this ditty on the fixable problems with their “crappy” power play. The Canucks finished the evening 3-for-6 on the man advantage.
Having had a lengthy recent stint covering the NHL, not so much the Leafs but the road teams, at the Air Canada Centre turned Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, there is simply no comparison. The fans at Rogers Arena in Vancouver are consistently louder and more involved throughout a hockey game, without prompting, than their Ontario brethren. The crowd prompts that do exist are fewer and less obnoxious.
Also, the rhythmic nature of the crowd’s efforts are soccer-like and the energy is infectious. Having been to all 32 NHL buildings over the last four years, interrupted by Covid of course, and having spent an extensive amount of time at New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings, and Philadelphia Flyers games, it would be difficult to find a better atmosphere than Rogers Arena.
Another recent key element, the crowds on-hand the last two weeks didn’t give the Canucks too much grief during their homestand struggles.
Simmer’s Canucks 3-Stars:
3) Thatcher Demko – Sorry Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson, and others who contributed to this offensive outburst, but the ten-bell saves Demko made throughout the game, particularly the timing of them, slots him here at number-three.
2) JT Miller – With two goals and a shot just wide of an empty-net trying to convert the hat trick, we give the intense Mr. Miller slot number two. He put the Canucks on the board and provided the insurance goal in the third. He had four shots on goal and five hits in 22:19 of ice time.
1) Bo Horvat – Besides a goal and two assists, Horvat won the offensive zone face-off that ultimately led to Miller’s first goal. Horvat had six shots on goal and won half his face-offs.