Final Score: Vancouver Canucks 4, Los Angeles Kings 0
Pregame: A new head coach and a peppy attitude: The Vancouver Canucks hosting the Los Angeles Kings in NHL action at Rogers Arena. The arrival of new coach Bruce Boudreau Monday has put the pep back in the step of at least a few of the Vancouver Canucks. With little time to institute his full systems and philosophy, he’s hoping the adrenaline of change and positive reinforcement can carry his new club to two points against LA.
The two Pacific Division rivals are separated by six points in the standings. The Kings with 24, sitting in 6th, the Canucks in the basement with 18.
With the standings in mind, just how realistic is it for Boudreau to seriously consider his new team becoming a playoff contender, should it get on a roll. He doesn’t look at it so much as a mountain to climb but as step by step process. He takes a slightly more detailed look at it, staying outside the cliche’ “one day at a time.”
“You take care of the smaller steps and the bigger steps take care of themselves,” Boudreau stated. “Right now we just need to get playing better, then we win two out of three, then two out of three, and then you win two out of three, or you keep winning for weeks and all of a sudden you look up in January and you’re four points out.”
Another great way to chart progress and to gain confidence is to “reel them in”. Climb over one team at a time, which leads us to Monday’s opportunity realized. It’s a four point game, the Canucks first win in the Pacific Division since October 23rd in Seattle. With the win in regulation the Canucks have taken a small bite out of the gap.
Brock and Petey
Glad we brought the conversation up in the story previous to this one. The conversation between Boudreau and struggling forward Brock Boeser.
“Shoot the puck!” was the message and Boeser has already begun listening. He also scored. His first goal in 14 games, since the Dallas home victory back on November 7th. Simply shooting the puck also means sending it to the net where good things happen. Boeser’s power play shot went in off LA defenceman Drew Doughty’s skate at 3:17 of the second period to give Vancouver a 1-0 lead. It doesn’t go in if he doesn’t at least fire it. He had the one shot on goal and one wide.
Petey might need a few more reminders. He’s all over the puck, all around the net, but seems to be picking and choosing a bit much. He was firing, but he could have been firing even more on the power play. He had two on goal, one blocked, and two missed the net.
At 3:17 of the 2nd period, Pettersson was awarded a short-handed penalty shot after being hooked by Phillip Danault on a breakaway. Petey fired wide, stick-side on his chance.
All in all, an invigorating evening for both players.
Many Canucks fans may have forgotten that long-time Vancouver defenceman Alex Edler is now an LA King. Edler hopped off the bench during the first TV time-out of the first period to a rousing ovation from the Rogers Arena faithful. The all-time leading scorer among Canucks defenceman in all categories, 99 goals, 310 assists, for 409 points, signed with the Kings this summer on July 28th.
Edler is fourth all-time in games played for a Canucks player of any position with 925. With his game total increasing this year, should the 35-year-old return for another season, he’ll very likely eclipse the 1,000 game mark.
Simmer’s Vancouver Canucks 3 Stars:
(With a rare sweep of the stars, I went with the Canucks broadcaster choices)
3. JT Miller – Goal and an assist, both on the power play.
2. Brock Boeser – Goal and an assist, both on the power play.
1. Thatcher Demko – First shut-out of the season and the second of his career.