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NHL Final: Canucks 4, Capitals 2 – Five Tidy Takeaways

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Vancouver Canucks, Elias Pettersson
The Vancouver Canucks celebrate the first of Elias Pettersson's two goals on Sunday against the Washington Capitals.

Vancouver Canucks 4, Washington Capitals 2

Notes Heading In:

With Jaroslav Halak confirmed as a Covid protocol’er, Thatcher Demko gets the start in net on back-to-back days. Spencer Martin backs him up with Mike DiPietro added to the taxi squad list.

I’d be shocked if we didn’t see defenceman Kyle Burroughs in the line-up today after Brad Hunt’s performance yesterday.

Gabby’s First NHL Home

We talked a bit about Bruce Boudreau’s first NHL gig in our game preview for this one. He was promoted from the AHL Hershey Bears as head coach early in the 2007-’08 season and took the Washington Capitals to the playoffs in four consecutive seasons with captain Alexander Ovechkin leading the way.

Gabby took heat for getting knocked out of the postseason in the 1st round, 2nd, 1st, and 2nd again respectively. He was replaced 22 games into his fifth season and immediately took the head coaching job with the Anaheim Ducks.

“I love this town,” Boudreau said. “We had a special time … the fans were unbelievable when we got here and we started something from 6,000 fans to “Rocking the Red”, so that time will always be very special for me.”

Rocking the Red, still in use today, became a successful marketing campaign that helped lead to sell-out crowds on a consistent basis.

Goal Scorers

1st Period: 1-0 Washington – Alex Ovechkin (26) – Justin Schultz, Evgeny Kuznetsov (10:31) Power Play

2nd Period 1-1 Vancouver – Elias Pettersson (7) – Bo Horvat, Quinn Hughes (:33) Power Play

2nd Period 2-1 Vancouver – Elias Pettersson (8) – Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Nils Höglander (4:48) Even Strength

2nd Period 3-1 Vancouver – Bo Horvat (13) – JT Miller, Quinn Hughes (18:50) Power Play

3rd Period 3-2 Washington – Tom Wilson (11) – Evgeny Kuznetsov, Nicklas Backstrom (6:22) Power Play

3rd Period 4-2 Vancouver – JT Miller (12) – Brock Boeser (19:02) Empty-net
Power Surge

The Canucks man advantage looked extremely confident, somewhat surprising given its 0-for-12 run through the first three games of the road trip. Plus, the Capitals penalty kill is no slouch, entering action on Sunday 9th best in the NHL at just above 82%.

The two power play goals clicked in :33-seconds. The first one :33-seconds into the 2nd-period on a carry-over call from late in the 1st period, while Horvat’s goal came in the exact same amount of time after Garnet Hathaway went off for roughing late in the 2nd. Pretty efficient.

We reiterate a quote Saturday from Boudreau: “Power plays go in fits-and-starts a little bit, you can go 0-for-15 and then 5-for-10 and then all of a sudden your numbers look about equal.”

The Canucks finished 2-for-4.

Simmer’s Vancouver Canucks 3 Stars:

3) Quinn Hughes – Two assists, 24:58 in ice time. Simply the best defenceman on the ice.

2) Thatcher Demko – Huge day with big saves throughout. Looks like he’s worked out whatever kinks he may have had coming out of the long break. Stopped 31 of 33 shots.

1) Elias Pettersson – Have to give it to the Swede for looking confident and producing. Physically engaged. 2 goals and 4 shots on goal in 18:20 of ice time.

VHN Managing Editor Rob Simpson has been covering the NHL for three decades on live TV, radio, and as a journalist. He worked his first ever game getting postgame sound as a teenager; it was Vancouver vs. Detroit.

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