NHL Final: Vancouver Canucks 5, San Jose Sharks 4 – OT
The Canucks top defenceman Quinn Hughes returned to the line-up after missing three games due to US Covid protocols. Brad Hunt gets bumped off the game sheet while Kyle Burroughs stays. It means the Canucks run with two lefties, Hughes and Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and four right-shot defencemen, Luke Schenn, Tylers Myers, Travis Hamonic and Burroughs. The latter two will play together with Burroughs on the left.
1st Period 1-0 Vancouver – Brock Boeser (15) – JT Miller, Oliver Ekman-Larsson (14:54) Even Strength
1st Period 2-0 Vancouver – Quinn Hughes (3) – Unassisted (17:40) Even Strength
2nd Period 2-1 San Jose – Logan Couture (15) – Matt Nieto, Noah Gregor (3:35) Even Strength
2nd Period 3-1 Vancouver – Juho Lammikko (5) – Kyle Burroughs (10:49) Even Strength
2nd Period 3-2 San Jose – Timo Meier (22) – Tomas Hertl, Alexander Barabanov (14:03) Power Play
3rd Period 3-3 San Jose – Timo Meier (23) – Tomas Hertl, Alexander Barabanov (:45) Power Play
3rd Period 4-3 Vancouver – Conor Garland (12) – Unassisted (14:23)
3rd Period 4-4 San Jose – Alexander Barabanov (7) – (19:59) With net empty, extra attacker (Even Strength)
OT 5-4 Vancouver – JT Miller (18) – Elias Pettersson, Quinn Hughes – (2:39) On delayed penalty 4-on-3 (Even Strength)
Welcome Back Huggy
Hughes didn’t need a period to ‘get up to speed’ as he had mentioned in some way, shape, or form in his pre-game media availabilities. He was up to speed right from the opening puck drop, making crisp outlet passes and finding time to score his third goal of the season on a one-hopper past Sharks goalie James Reimer.
Through two periods Ekman-Larsson led the Vancouver Canucks in ice time at 15:39. Hughes was 46-seconds behind him. At that point, both players had a point and two shots on goal.
By the time the game was over Hughes finished with 25:04 time-on-ice and Ekman-Larsson with 23:15. OEL added a shot in the 3rd period where Hughes added an assist for a two-point night.
Timo Meier is a star. San Jose doesn’t get a lot of attention these days but the big Swiss winger has a year remaining in a $6-million per year deal. He and Tomas Hertl account for more than half of the Shark’s goals by forwards. Meier should be a centerpiece for the club moving forward while his Czech buddy Hertl has been the subject of trade rumours as he winds down to Unrestricted Free Agency this summer.
The Sharks came in 27th in the NHL with 125 goals scored, 43 of them by those two players. So after tonight make that 129 and 45.
They Said It:
Canucks forward Conor Garland: “That’s what good teams do. When you play against some of the best teams in the league when they don’t have their A-game they still find ways to beat you and that’s what makes them so good. So that’s a good sign for us but we need our A-game because we’re playing a lot of division teams coming up that are in the same position as us trying to make the playoffs, so there’s not going to be many easy games moving forward.”
Vancouver Canucks Head Coach Bruce Boudreau: “Hopefully come Saturday we’ll start to play a more complete game. If we can play the way we did in the first period, over three periods.” (The team seemed to get complacent with the early lead.)
Simmer’s Canucks 3 Stars:
3) Quinn Hughes – “Huggy” came up big in his return, leading the club in ice time with a goal, assist, two shots in 25:04.
2) JT Miller – Game winning goal and a three point night. Wasn’t crazy about the PIMs and a couple of decision so giving Petey the nod. Miller played 19:36 with four hits and three shots on goal.
1) Elias Pettersson – 19:05 time on ice and a lot of hard work to keep plays alive. Would have had a sure third period goal had his stick not exploded on a wide open, gaping net, slot shot. Two assists. Remarkably, didn’t manage a shot on goal. Big difference maker.