Pregame: Lots of good vibes around the Vancouver Canucks and their fandom entering this one, with expectations for an excellent performance coming off a 4-0 victory over the LA Kings in head coach Bruce Boudreau’s debut Monday.
Will they once again be singing “BRUCE, there it is …” at the Rogers Arena come postgame? The Bruins are a little bit dinged up and a little bit younger than we’re used to but they’re still a bigger challenge than the LA Kings on the tail-end of a back-to-back.
As it turns out, the 26-year-old-as-of-today goaltender for the #Canucks, Thatcher Demko, earned himself a birthday present: A 35-save, shoot-out victory, where he stopped David Pastrnak (shot wide) and Charlie Coyle (snap shot stopped) in the skills competition.
JT Miller and Bo Horvat scored in the shoot-out to win it for the Canucks. Miller used the same start/stop, deke, reach around and tuck move he used to finish off the shoot-out win in Philadelphia back on October 15th.
By the way, with the abrupt conclusion on Horvat’s shot, no chance for the crowd to serenade the coach.
The difference in the last two games compared to earlier in the season is simple. It’s consistent effort. Regardless of the reason, 200 feet, from one end to the other, this team is giving it their all, all the time. It’s that simple.
Literally two minutes after I wrote that, the first word out of Bruce Boudreau’s mouth during the post-game media conference: “Effort,” as the reason for the two wins.
They Said It:
“That was fun out there to get the win and you could see the excitement after Bo scored,” Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes said. “Just feels good and everyone’s really happy and excited about that and I think there’s a sense of belief that we’re just gonna keep going here.”
“Determination and the will to win is a great attribute,” Boudreau added in his postgame.
The Canucks started the game without key D-man Oliver Ekman-Larsson, a lefty, and then lost righty Travis Hamonic 14-minutes into the 2nd period on an interference hit along the boards in front of the penalty box by Brad Marchand. It wasn’t so much the hit, it appeared from the replay that Hamonic injured his right leg when he started to push off to skate after re-setting from the contact. Possibly a rut along the boards, or a combination of the hit and the awkward step afterwards.
Boudreau kidded a bit with his description of Ekman-Larsson’s injury, not committing to lower or upper body, but going with “body” injury. He said it with a slow, secretive smirk.
Simmer’s 3 Stars:
3) Tyler Myers – He had his moment or two that made you gasp with apprehension, but with the injuries on the blueline, the big guy ate up 28:08 in ice time, 2:45 shorthanded, and saw a big stint in OT. He added two shots on goal and he blocked three Bruins shots.
2) Quinn Hughes – Same deal, led the team with 28:32 in ice time, showed grace under pressure consistently, and directed 12 shots towards the Boston net, four of them on goal.
1) Thatcher Demko – Have to give it to the birthday boy goalie with his 31 saves over 65-minutes and then the shoot-out perfection.