Vancouver Canucks 3, Colorado Avalanche 1
New Canucks in the line-up Wednesday night – Brad Richardson wearing number-13 while playing centre between Juho Lammikko and Matthew Highmore and defenceman Travis Dermott donning number-24 and pairing with Brad Hunt.
3rd Period 1-0 Vancouver – Brock Boeser (19) – Elias Pettersson (1:23) Even Strength
3rd Period 2-0 Vancouver – JT Miller (26) – Tanner Pearson, Conor Garland (3:15) Even Strength
3rd Period 2-1 Colorado – Nazem Kadri (24) – Nathan MacKinnon, Valeri Nichushkin (6:15) Power Play
3rd Period 3-1 Vancouver – Bo Horvat (24) JT Miller, Tanner Pearson (19:42) Empty-netter
Jaroslav Halak got the start between the pipes for the Vancouver Canucks. It’s been a difficult year for the 36-year-old Slovakian netminder, from not getting goal support from his teammates during the first half of the season when he was playing well to not playing well lately.
Forget any trade talk, theories of him possibly waiving his no-move-clause, the veteran decided to stay in Vancouver and this game against the Colorado Avalanche gave him the opportunity to make a statement.
In the first period Halak was tested. He made a dandy glove save on Nazem Kadri, stopped a tough one from Andrew Cogliano along the ice and stymied the red-hot Nathan MacKinnon twice. Colorado outshot Vancouver 11-9 in the 1st.
The Canucks had a strong second period but two slashing penalties by Quinn Hughes late in the period put Halak on red-alert. He was up to the task. The Avalanche power play was 0-for-3 through two periods and shots on goal were 23-18 for the home team.
Colorado managed to earn two more power plays in the third period and they’d score on the first one. Halak was under seige at times but came up big. So did the penalty kill. Killing 4-of-5 power plays in Denver isn’t too shabby and your goaltender is your best penalty killer.
Halak faced a total of 33 shots.
Hard Work – A
It’s obviously not possible to play your hardest for an 82-game schedule. In fact, it’s pretty much impossible. There’s too many games. It’s a business. I’ve had retired NHL players tell me that realistically they played their hardest, full effort, about 33-percent of the schedule.
When the stakes are high enough, and every player on a team is on the same page on a given night or nights, anything is possible. Regardless of talent. Anyone who’s played hockey at any level knows it.
Wednesday night was one of those nights. Every Vancouver Canucks player, including the goalkeeper, were dialed in and committed. That’s the simple formula.
Hard Work – B
Elias Pettersson showed his dedication in all three zones in an impressive manner. Forecheck, backcheck, forget about your paycheck. This is the factor that is often over-looked in conversations regarding his game. Scoring or not, ‘Petey’ is typically working extremely hard to win puck battles and to create takeaways. He was the poster boy for the Vancouver Canucks against the Colorado Avalanche.
Tanner Pearson pulled his weight as well and added two assists.
Simmer’s Canucks 3 Stars:
3) JT Miller – Game winning goal coupled with incredible intensity. Added an assist on the capper.
2) Elias Pettersson – See the work ethic above. Added an assist and piled up some scoring chances.
1) Jaroslav Halak – Stymied the best team in the NHL.