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Vancouver Canucks Beat Stars 4-1 – Playoff Chances Get Boost

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The Vancouver Canucks celebrate Elias Pettersson's 2nd period goal that tied the game 1-1 in Dallas on Saturday.

Vancouver Canucks 4, Dallas Stars 1

AHL call-up Will Lockwood entered the line-up replacing Matthew Highmore who’s out with an upper-body injury. The lines were juggled.

Tanner Pearson, JT Miller, Conor Garland

Elias Pettersson, Bo Horvat, Brock Boeser

Vasily Podkolzin, Juho Lammikko, Alex Chiasson

Nic Petan, Brad Richardson, Will Lockwood

Slow Start

This time it was understandable. Vancouver Canucks Head Coach Bruce Boudreau pointed out earlier Saturday that the Canucks had a lethargic morning skate. Not surprising with the club playing its third game in four nights with plenty of travel in-between. This wasn’t a case of mysterious mental block or distraction, it was simply finding one’s legs on the road and a matter of surviving the home team’s initial wave.

The Canucks managed it. Goalie Thatcher Demko stayed busy early, keeping it scoreless after one period with the Stars outshooting the Canucks 14-9.

Goal Scorers

2nd Period 1-0 Dallas – Jacob Peterson (11) – Jamie Benn (5:42) Even Strength

((– Canucks Alex Chiasson accidentally chipped the puck back into his own end on a mishandle, leading to the Stars goal))

2nd Period 1-1 Vancouver – Elias Pettersson (19) – JT Miller, Quinn Hughes (15:25) Power Play

((– One-timer went five-hole for ‘Petey’ in the right wing circle off a face-off win))

3rd Period 2-1 Vancouver – Elias Pettersson (20) – Oliver Ekman-Larsson (1:15) Even Strength

((– Petey on the rush ripped a wrister from the right wing circle through a Joe Pavelski screen, top shelf, blocker side))

3rd Period 3-1 Vancouver – Bo Horvat (26) – Unassisted (18:54) Empty-netter

((– Alone by the blueline to extend his goal scoring streak to four games))

3rd Period 4-1 Vancouver – JT Miller (28) Luke Schenn, Tanner Pearson (19:21) Even Strength

((– Backhanded home a rebound off his own deflection to extend his goal scoring streak to four games))

Special Teams

There weren’t any for the first 35-minutes of the game. Both teams showed remarkable discipline in this ‘regular season playoff game’.

Finally, Dallas’s Jani Hakanpaa went off for mugging Vancouver’s Conor Garland down low with the Canucks creating pressure.

The Vancouver Canucks took just 14-seconds to have Pettersson light the lamp.

Soon after, late 2nd period, the officials evened things up, giving Luke Schenn, ‘quite frankly’ (to use a ‘Boudreau’), an unnecessary interference penalty.

The Canucks killed it off just as the final minute of the 2nd period began ticking.

In the third period, each team saw a power play chance in the first ten minutes, the Stars getting the nod at the 1:45 mark. The Canucks killed it.

Vancouver picked up a chance at 6:48 of the period and took awhile to establish an offensive zone entry. Once they did they had some excellent pressure for almost a minute, earning plenty of looks but only one official shot on goal.

Things got a bit dicey when Dallas earned another at 10:11. Brock Boeser for hooking.

Dallas had five shots on goal, hit the post, and Demko made a couple of incredible saves.

The Canucks finished 1-for-2, the Stars 0-for-3.

Can’t Quantify the Bounce

One of the many great things about hockey is the luck of the bounce. The completely unpredictable nature of where that little slab of vulcanized rubber might end up. When ‘puck luck’ goes against you consistently, talk can turn to the ‘hockey gods’.

And yes, you do create your own luck, but even then it doesn’t always work out. Twice in the 2nd period the Canucks saw extreme examples.

At one point, JT Miller set up Garland with a great scoring chance midway through the second. Garland rang his shot off the post and the carom bounced off an on-rushing Tanner Pearson, got lost in his skates, and slid just wide of the post. An inch in either direction?

A little later, Brad Hunt made a beautiful move to the front of the net from the right wing corner, fired, and the shot hit the rear end of a Stars defenceman just enough to deflect off Oettinger and just wide of the net.

The funky puck that hopped away from Chiasson and led to the Stars goal; he’d love to have that one back but that just happens to be the way it hopped.

As the game progressed, especially in the third period, the love from the hockey gods turned in the Canucks direction.

During multiple scrambles, particularly on the Stars final power play chance, some unbelievable bounces went Vancouver’s way.

Simmer’s Canucks 3 Stars:

3) JT Miller – Goal and an assist and his usual intensity.

2) Elias Pettersson – Two goals, including his 20th of the season and his 200th career NHL point.

1) Thatcher Demko – His performance overshadowed a big, big night for Pettersson. Stopped 35 of 36 shots.

VHN Managing Editor Rob Simpson has been covering the NHL for three decades on live TV, radio, and as a journalist. He worked his first ever game getting postgame sound as a teenager; it was Vancouver vs. Detroit.

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