Vancouver Canucks 2, Anaheim Ducks 1 – Overtime
Pregame: This was your Vancouver Canucks line-up as it returned to NHL action for the first time in 13 days with a six-game winning streak on the line. Scoring winger Brock Boeser and extra forward Phil Di Giuseppe tested positive for Covid Wednesday and were put into five-day protocol.
Tanner Pearson, JT Miller, Alex Chiasson
Jason Dickinson, Bo Horvat, Nils Höglander
Vasily Podkolzin, Elias Pettersson, Conor Garland
Tyler Motte, Juho Lammikko, Justin Dowling
Quinn Hughes, Luke Schenn
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Tyler Myers
Brad Hunt, Tucker Poolman
Finding Your Legs
This sub-headline is almost a cliche’, because it’s just as much about “finding one’s feel” as it is “finding one’s legs”.
If you’ve ever played any sport, regardless of what it is, and you haven’t played for an amount of time that is abnormal to you, it takes a little bit to get used to the flow and the touch again. That’s what Wednesday night’s first period looked like. Herky jerky, lots of whistles early, followed by mistakes and bizarre decisions.
Two stand out.
Tucker Poolman’s pinch in the neutral zone seemed odd; it led directly to Sam Carrick’s left wing rush and drive to the net that resulted in the only goal of the first period at 16:26.
The other was Alex Chiasson, “Mr. Net Front”, deciding NOT to shoot a puck while alone … in front of the net. He instead chose to make a blind pass back toward where the turnover came from to no avail. As head coach Bruce Boudreau probably urged: “Shoot the puck!!”
1-0 Anaheim Ducks over the Vancouver Canucks after one.
Canucks Step it Up
Veteran Anaheim defenceman Cam Fowler fell into the boards awkwardly late in the first period and didn’t return for the 2nd.
The Canucks started to “feel it” early in the 2nd period and they clearly started to dominate shots and chances. Vancouver definitely controlled possession.
Again, failures in front of the Ducks goal hurt them. Jason Dickinson and Bo Horvat shared a magical opportunity that ended awkwardly. It was almost a standing 2-on-0 off a rebound against Ducks goalie John Gibson that failed to result in a second chance.
Conor Garland generated the other two best chances in the period. Stopped on the backhand on a speedy breakaway and later snuffed by Gibson on a wrist shot during a clear two-on-one with Elias Pettersson. Garland opted to shoot, while Gibson looks unbeatable.
The Vancouver Canucks’ play improved as this game moved on. After two periods, according to Sportsnet, they had out-chanced Anaheim 19-12 and high danger chances were in their favour 10-7.
The Canucks find themselves on the road, down a goal, with one period to play. That’s never a horrible thing in the NHL, especially with a far-less-than-capacity Anaheim crowd not exactly dictating play.
Can this very loose, confident hockey team find a way back and continue the magic?
Just 1:21 into the 3rd period Tanner Pearson ripped a shot home off a pass from Quinn Hughes and we had a brand new hockey game.
The shots and the chances continued to mount, mostly for the Canucks. Gibson continued to have the answers.
JT Miller scores against his fellow American 2013 WJC Gold Medalist just :26-seconds into the extra session and the Canucks remain undefeated under Boudreau.
Simmer’s 3 Stars:
3) Conor Garland – Catalyst. Five shots on goal, most of them legitimate scoring chances.
2) Tyler Myers – Led all Canucks with 24:14 in ice time including a full two-minute penalty kill in the third period. Delivered seven hits.
1) JT Miller – The Canucks leading scorer added a goal and an assist including the game winner :26-seconds into overtime.