NHL Final Score: Vancouver Canucks 3, Nashville Predators 1
Notes Heading In:
The Vancouver Canucks lost to the Predators 3-2 at Rogers Arena on November 5th.
I’d say it’s getting pretty old. Another pre-game Vancouver Canucks Covid protocol announcement. This time it’s none other than the club’s fearless leader, captain Bo Horvat with the positive test. What really sucks, besides missing this game, is not knowing what kind of quarantine bureaucracy he’ll need to deal with on both sides of the border.
Does he have to stay in the US for five days? How long will he be quarantining when he gets home? Same can be said for Jaroslav Halak and Conor Garland who tested positive earlier on the trip.
The NHL announced Tuesday that they will cease testing players who are asymptomatic after the early February NHL All-Star break. Too little, too late in this case, even if Horvat is indeed asymptomatic. It sounds like all three players will miss the upcoming three-game homestand.
The Most Important Position
Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko appears to be fully back on his game if the victory over the Washington Capitals on Sunday is any indication. He seemed just a smidge off to start the road trip after Vancouver’s long break.
Meanwhile, Nashville starts back-up David Rittich. The 29-year-old Czech doesn’t see much action, but he gets the nod with the Predators playing the 2nd half of a back-to-back set. Nashville lost in St. Louis Monday night to the Blues 5-3.
Juuse Saros leads the NHL with 33 starts. He’s been ungodly good at times, including a stretch where he won 10 of 11 games. Then all of a sudden in the last three, clunkers for him and his Predators. The Canucks don’t get a chance to see if that trend continues.
Rittich last started a game on December 30th. Before that it was December 9th. His goals against average 3.04 and save% .884.
As it turns out, nothing he did in this game would blow anyone away. Even though the Canucks dominated territorially, it seemed Demko handled the more difficult opportunities.
1st Period: 1-0 Nashville – Philip Tomasino (6) – Alexandre Carrier, Eeli Tolvanen (2:51) Power Play
2nd Period 1-1 Vancouver – Elias Pettersson (9) – Vasily Podkolzin, Nils Höglander (7:23) Even Strength
3rd Period 2-1 Vancouver – Brock Boeser (10) – JT Miller, Quinn Hughes (7:23) Power Play
3rd Period 3-1 Vancouver – Juho Lammikko (3) – Tyler Motte (12:19) Even Strength
The Baltic Line
It happened by accident. With Horvat forced to sit out, Pettersson moved back to centre from the wing. Lined up with fellow-Swede Nils Höglander and Russian Vasily Podkolzin, the three worked some magic. Besides the 2nd period goal they applied consistent pressure and created some pretty nifty scoring chances.
Höglander also had some decent defensive efforts at the other end. Let’s keep an eye on the young “Baltics”.
He Said It:
“There’s a lot of heart, a lot of will, and a lot of want,” Canucks Head Coach Bruce Boudreau said postgame. “You could tell we wanted this game a lot, it meant a lot to us, and to be able to go with a two game winning streak home where we haven’t been for over a month, we look forward to being there in a couple days.”
Simmer’s Canucks 3 Stars:
3) Elias Pettersson – “Petey” seems to be feeling it a bit. Another good night. 3rd goal in 2 games.
2) Thatcher Demko – Stopped 31 of 32 shots and definitely won the goaltending battle.
1) Brock Boeser – Involved everywhere. Worked hard. Beautiful tip on the game winner. Led team with 5 shots.