NHL Final Score: St. Louis Blues 3, Vancouver Canucks 1
2 Big Notes Heading In:
Yikes! This is getting a bit repetitive. The Vancouver Canucks will start goalie Michael DiPietro because Friday’s starter Spencer Martin tested positive for Covid after coming from Abbotsford to play because team number-one Thatcher Demko tested positive after playing all five games on the recent road trip because back-up Jaroslav Halak tested positive for Covid. Whew! The emergency back-up tonight is UBC’s goalie Rylan Toth.
Bruce Boudreau coaches in his 1,000 NHL game tonight at Rogers Arena. Congratulations and good luck. He’ll need it against the heavy 24-11-and-5 Blues.
Effort and Simplicity Part 2
Friday ended for the Canucks with a 2-1 shoot-out loss to the Florida Panthers. The depth of Vancouver’s offence is obviously limited with the Covid absence of JT Miller, Conor Garland and Bo Horvat, three of the team’s top-four scorers. The modus operandi for Vancouver remains the same; keep it simple, work your arse off and stay out of the penalty box. To win the Canucks will need to keep the score down.
“Nothing cute,” as Boudreau would say.
The Canucks executed in the first period and ended up with a power play and a full 5-on-3 advantage before taking a 1-0 lead. They stayed out of the box until Tyler Myers holding call with :46-seconds remaining.
In the second the Canucks failed to stay out of the penalty box and it cost them. The always dangerous too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty led to a Brayden Schenn goal.
As the night wore on the Blues checking got tighter, the forecheck feistier, and the Canucks scoring chances less frequent.
There’s a few versions of the perfect NHL road game. This was one of them. They won while being outshot 39-17.
1st Period: 1-0 Vancouver – Tanner Pearson (7) – Alex Chiasson, Alex Pettersson (16:30) Even Strength
1st Period 1-1 St. Louis – Justin Faulk (6) – Oskar Sundqvist, Brandon Saad (18:33) Even Strength
2nd Period 2-1 St. Louis – Brayden Schenn (9) – Vladimir Tarasenko, Torey Krug (3:26) Power Play
2nd Period 3-1 St. Louis – Jordan Kyrou (16) – Vladimir Tarasenko, Justin Faulk (16:43) Even Strength
DiPietro made a nice glove save in the first two minutes to get himself into the game and shake off any nerves he might have been carrying. The 22-year-old made one previous NHL start in his career and one other relief appearance. The numbers aren’t good, but their irrelevant. His lone random start came in February of 2019 as a 19-year-old and he allowed seven goals.
Sunday night in the first period he stopped nine of ten shots and had no chance on Faulk’s deflection.
I wouldn’t fault him on any of the St. Louis Blues. Three completely different varieties, all well executed without giving the goalie much of a chance.
The deflection on the doorstep, a tap-in on the power play, and a top-shelfie through a heavy screen.
Simmer’s Vancouver Canucks 3 Stars:
3) Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Just an all around solid performance with some offensive creativity in 21:14 of ice time. 2 hits, 3 blocked shots.
2) Quinn Hughes – Almost by default. Played 28:55 with five shots on goal and some sparkling rushes.
1) Tanner Pearson – Pearson picked up his 7th goal of the season, played 18:08 and showed great work ethic.