The Vancouver Canucks fell to the Florida Panthers 2-1 in a shoot-out.
Notes Heading In:
No doubt the top story is Spencer Martin against Spencer Knight. Martin being one of the Abbotsford Canucks regular netminders, while Knight, a 1st-round NHL draft pick in 2019, being the Florida Panthers 20-year-old goalie prospect.
The other large item: the Vancouver Canucks playing with modified forward lines with JT Miller, Bo Horvat and Conor Garland all unavailable due to Covid.
Effort and Simplicity
It was clear out of the blocks that the Vancouver Canucks were listening to head coach Bruce Boudreau’s advice. Keep it simple, work hard, and don’t get cute. Other than one little between-the-legs dump-in attempt from center-ice along the right wing boards by Justin Bailey that failed, the Canucks generally took care of business.
It was an entertaining first period with the Panthers failing on their only power play chance and then the Canucks converting their lone opportunity.
Martin made a couple of enormous saves as Florida outshot Vancouver 11-8.
That Canucks effort continued in the second period as they held a 1-0 lead. A simple formula against a Florida team playing its third game in four nights.
1st Period: 1-0 Vancouver – Alex Chiasson (4) – Tanner Pearson, Quinn Hughes (16:18) Power Play
3rd Period 1-1 Florida – Sam Reinhart (12) – Anthony Duclair, Jonathan Huberdeau (1:41) Power Play
I was a smidge apprehensive starting to write this after just two periods, but Canucks goaltender Spencer Martin has looked very good through :40-minutes. You can see and feel his hyper-focus from our viewpoint five stories above. He’s coughed up a couple of rebounds but recovered, and he’s had screens clear in front of him at fortuitous times, just before pucks arrived.
Martin is looking for his first NHL win in his first game in the league since the 2016-’17 season when he went 0-2-and-1 in his only NHL starts with Colorado. The Avalanche drafted the 26-year-old Oakville, Ontario native in the 3rd-round of the 2013 NHL Draft.
Well, what can I say, with Nils Höglander off for tripping early in the 3rd period, Florida’s Sam Reinhart batted a puck out of midair on the doorstep to tie the game. Martin had no chance.
OT, tied 1-1. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Juho Lammikko, and Matthew Highmore got caught out with dead legs for literally most of the overtime. A 3:14 shift. They survived.
VAN – Brock Boeser – YES (backhand off deke)
FLA – Huberdeau – NO (deke)
VAN – Elias Pettersson – NO (shot)
FLA – Anton Lundell – YES (backhand deke)
VAN – Quinn Hughes – NO (backhand deke)
FLA – Aleksander Barkov – YES (backhand reach deke)
They Said It:
Goalie Spencer Martin – “I just felt incredibly blessed just to know how hard it is to get to this level, how many experiences it takes to get the opportunities. It’s hard to put into one answer, it felt incredible to get the opportunity.”
Head Coach Bruce Boudreau – “They (Florida) played really hard and we just stymied them at every corner. In the first and second period I’m pretty sure we outchanced them and we could have built the lead up, we just didn’t. That being said, we played well, they’ve got championship calibre players on their team and they came through in the end.”
Simmer’s Vancouver Canucks 3 Stars:
3) Quinn Hughes – Led the D-corps across the board. An assist, two shots, two blocks. 28:20 in time on ice.
2) Brock Boeser – Another active night with 23:55 in ice time, leading the forwards. Played a 200-foot game and had 3 shots.
1) Spencer Martin – Why not. Turned aside 29 of 30 shots in regulation and gave Canucks a chance to win. Big night!