Coming off an impressive, adrenaline filled Sunday night at Madison Square Garden that saw the Vancouver Canucks beat the New York Rangers 5-2, Vancouver would be confronted with a much lower energy environment at the Prudential Center in Newark facing the New Jersey Devils.
Back-to-back can be tough, but especially when you’re going from ‘amped’ to ‘not-so-amped’ in terms of building, crowd, and anticipation. The Canucks definitely lacked legs early.
A bright spot for the Vancouver Canucks lately has been special teams, especially the recent success of the power play. Nine for it’s last 29 (31%), the PP didn’t see a chance in the 1st period. The Devils meanwhile went one-for-one. New Jersey came in with the 22nd best NHL power play at 17.7% and the 11th best PK at 81.6%.
The Canucks earned their first power play of the night late in the second period and generated consistent pressure and chances for the first 90-seconds. Bo Horvat rang a shot off the post and the puck later squirted just wide of the far post off traffic in front.
In the third period neither team received a power play opportunity.
1st Period 1-0 New Jersey – Jack Hughes (16) – Unassisted (9:15) Even Strength
1st Period 2-0 New Jersey – Yegor Sharangovich (13) – Dawson Mercer, Jack Hughes (15:24) Even Strength
1st Period 3-0 New Jersey – Dawson Mercer (13) – Jesper Bratt, Nico Hischier (17:44) Power Play
2nd Period 3-1 Vancouver – Vasily Podkolzin (9) – Bo Horvat, Travis Hamonic (1:36) Even Strength
2nd Period 4-1 New Jersery – Jesper Boqvist (5) – Andreas Johnsson, Ryan Graves (3:08) Even Strength
2nd Period 5-1 New Jersey – Ryan Graves (4) – Yegor Sharangovich (5:07) Even Strength
2nd Period 6-1 New Jersey – Jesper Bratt (19) – Pavel Zacha, Nico Hischier (6:19) Even Strength
((Canucks starter Jaroslav Halak gets yanked, replaced by Thatcher Demko))
2nd Period 6-2 Vancouver – Tanner Pearson (11) – Brad Hunt, JT Miller (8:14) Even Strength
3rd Period 7-2 New Jersey – Dougie Hamilton (8) – Jesper Boqvist, Tomas Tatar (11:42) Even Strength
Hughes vs Hughes
Earlier Monday VHN previewed the sibling rivalry, 20-year-old forward Jack Hughes of the Devils against 22-year-old defenceman Quinn Hughes of the Canucks. Jack picked up the early goal to put his team in front and the flood gates opened not long after. Jack remains undefeated against his brother, 3-and-0 against Quinn in NHL games.
Halak got shelled. There was some tough bounces along the way but arguably three goals he could have stopped. Huge difference in terms of the hole dug for his teammates. Demko came in at 6:19 of the 2nd period after Devils’ goal number six.
At the other end, young Nico Daws looked steady. The Devils 3rd-round draft pick out of the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League was born in Munich, Germany and entering this game had a 2-1 record and a 2.64 goals against average. He’s the 6th goalie the Devils have used this season.
Ideally Daws would develop as a prospect in Utica of the AHL, but injuries have decimated the New Jersey masked men, going through Jonathan Bernier, Mackenzie Blackwood, Scott Wedgewood, Jon Gillies and Akira Schmid, he of an 0-and-4 record and a 4.83 goals against average in six appearances this season.
So I guess Daws should be considered their fifth goalie.
Simmer’s Vancouver Canucks 3 Stars:
3) Brad Hunt – Oh, what the hell, an assist and three shots on goal.
2) Tanner Pearson – A goal with two shots on goal
1) Vasily Podkolzin – A goal with four shots on goal.