Final Score: Vancouver Canucks 2, Carolina Hurricanes 1
Pregame: No doubt the big news prior to the start of this one was the announcement that Sebastian Aho was ill and would be unable to play. The Finnish centreman leads the Carolina Hurricanes in scoring with 32 points and had an opportunity to extend his consecutive multi-point game streak to six. Aho factored in on all three goals Saturday night against the Oilers in Carolina’s 3-1 win in Edmonton.
It likely means captain Jordan Staal will slot in between Nino Neiderreiter and Teuvo Teravainen on the Canes top line.
With five minutes remaining in the 2nd period, we saw Elias Pettersson with one of his more aggressive, sustained, and physical shifts of the season. On the forecheck he chased down Canes defenceman Ian Cole, rubbed him out along the endboards with a heavy hit and then got into a physical battle for the puck.
Not surprising, the shift came about six minutes after a massive adrenaline boost for “Petey”, when he scored his fifth goal of the season, his first in six games, and just his second in the last fifteen. Petersson pumped his arm in joy and seemed relieved at the same time. It gave the Canucks a 2-0 lead in a hard fought, well played period.
“When you score a goal you get an extra boost in your body,” Petey said afterwards.
Two Kinds of Discipline
There’s the type of discipline that keeps you out of the penalty box and then there’s discipline to shifts and systems. The Vancouver Canucks handled both very well on Sunday night. Head Coach Bruce Boudreau rolled four lines effectively, keeping ice times relatively even-steven. A key element against the fast, feisty, high-pressure Hurricanes.
Justin Dowling, who replaced Alex Chiasson in the line-up on the fourth line earned 8:44 in ice time after just two periods. That’s more than Chiasson played in the entire game on Wednesday against the Boston Bruins and again on Friday against the Winnipeg Jets. Dowling finished with 12:15 in TOI.
Limiting sustained puck possession for the Canes was based a lot on the Canucks keeping fresh legs. Boudreau mentioned postgame that the success in sharing the load was great for team camaraderie.
Other Goals …
… with comments. We talked about Petey’s that came at 7:44 of the second period. The others …
Brock Boeser opened the scoring for the Canucks and gave them a 1-0 lead at 18:29 of the 1st period. It was his 7th of the season and continues his recovery from a very slow start.
Martin Necas scored his 7th of the season as well, on the Vancouver Canucks single glaring mistake. A ill-timed pinch at the Canes blueline by Kyle Burroughs ended up in a two-on-one the other way with Necas finishing it off at 2:32 of the 3rd period. Despite the moment, Burroughs and Brad Hunt, the third pair, were solid and finished with 13:39 and 12:42 in ice time respectively. The Canucks team fended off the Canes the rest of the way.
OMG – Are We Checking the Standings?!
As it turns out, with the win, Bruce Boudreau becomes the first head coach in Vancouver Canucks franchise history to win his first four games.
With the four consecutive wins for the Canucks and the Edmonton Oilers sliding back into the pack with a five-game losing streak, things are getting a bit cosier in the NHL’s Pacific Division. Dare we say, the BC Boys are now six points out of the Western Conference wild card chase.
Simmer’s Vancouver Canucks 3 Stars:
3) Tyler Myers – The big man played 25:05, blocked three shots, had an assist, and was on the ice for both Canucks goals.
2) Thatcher Demko – Broken record. Always a star. Stopped 28 of 29 shots on goal.
1) Elias Pettersson – Petey’s best game of the year from my vantage point. Played 15:09, was fully engaged, and scored the game winning goal. Despite still getting smoked at the face-off dot, this is a welcome back 1st-star honour for a guy who may finally have his game back.