NHL Final Score: Florida Panthers 5, Vancouver Canucks 2
Pregame Notes: After waiting, and waiting, and waiting some more, the Canucks finally had the opportunity to lace ’em up for real. The first NHL game for the BC Boys since New Years Day and their 5-2 win over the Seattle Kraken.
Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser, and Jason Dickinson all back in the line-up off Covid protocols.
Speaking of E, B, and J
How did they look off their respective breaks?
Boeser wasn’t highly involved in the first period. He didn’t factor in any of the chances, but did create some mild havoc on the forecheck. He created a scoring chance on a deflection going to the net early in the second period.
Dickinson scored his second goal in his last four games and his third of the season late in the first period to keep the Canucks in the game, bringing some welcome relief to a bottom-six checker expected to provide a wee bit more to the team’s offence.
“Petey” looked like a serious threat on a first period power play, but for the most part it was more of what we’ve come to expect this season.
Chasing the game in the third, the three didn’t factor in on a Juho Lammikko Canucks goal and otherwise didn’t pose a threat.
Here’s their final game numbers:
Boeser: 22:27, 3:28 on the power play, three shots on goal. One takeaway.
Dickinson: One goal on one shot, 4 hits, played just 12:54.
Pettersson: Played 17:26, somehow managed to win 71% of his draws, blocked five shots, only had two on goal and was a minus-2.
“I thought I had to play these guys a lot to get them back where they’re capable of being,” Canucks Head Coach Bruce Boudreau said postgame. “I didn’t think they had as much energy or strength as they normally would have had … hopefully this one game and the one good practice we had will allow them to get back to where they were before they got the virus.”
There was nothing overly magical about the Panthers creativity in this game. They sent and fired pucks at the net and a decent percentage of them went in.
Aaron Ekblad scored through a heavy screen from the point in the first, and Sam Reinhart pulled off a beautiful tip on another point shot moments later. In the second period, the red hot Jonathan Huberdeau ripped one bar-down from a prime scoring spot, then Maxim Mamin flipped a backhander past Thatcher Demko :26-seconds later with Demko deep in his net off a blown defensive assignment by Nils Höglander. The fifth goal also came in the 2nd period, shorthanded by Aleksander Barkov on a breakaway.
Confident. Opportunistic. With finish. That’s a deadly combination working for the Panthers even having been outshot 44 to 26 for the game.
Lammikko scored the Canucks 2nd goal of the game in the 3rd period with a shot that rebounded out and was bumped back in off traffic in front. A nice homecoming for the former Panther who came to Vancouver via trade just before the season started on October 10th with defenceman Noah Juulsen. It was Olli Juolevi going the other way; he played in just his sixth game with Florida. The former 5th-overall pick of the Canucks in the 2016 NHL Draft didn’t factor in the scoring.
Simmer’s Canucks 3 Stars:
3) Brad Hunt – What the heck?! 2nd game in a row he earns 3rd star here. He picked up 2 assists, had four shots on goal, yet still finished minus.
2) Juho Lammikko – Three shots and a goal in his homecoming.
1) Quinn Hughes – Contemplated Conor Garland, who had an assist and led the team with five shots, but gave it to Mr. Smoothy Smooth who’s always eligible. Led team with 23:55 of ice time.