There were two NHL games of interest for the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday evening and neither one finished the way the BC Boys would have preferred.
The Nashville Predators defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 5-4 and hopped past the St. Louis Blues into third place in the Central Division with 80 points. The Blues, at 79 points, slipped down into the Western Conference’s top wild card spot.
While that might sound intriguing, given the Blues are the Canucks opponent on Monday, there are two factors working in favour of the 2019 Stanley Cup champions. The Blues have a six point lead on the Canucks and three games in-hand.
The second game of interest ended when Mark Scheifele scored for the Winnipeg Jets with 9.7 seconds remaining in overtime on a breakaway against the Arizona Coyotes. The game ended 2-1 with Scheifele’s 34th career game winner, propelling the Jets to 74 points, one ahead of Vancouver and two behind the second wild card spot. Vancouver and Winnipeg have played the same number of games, 67.
Even with the 2nd wild card spot being the more realistic target, the Canucks game in St. Louis Monday night seems to take on an even greater importance given Sunday’s optics, while representing just another urgent stop on their playoff quest.
Elias Pettersson scored the first two goals of the game on Saturday night in the Vancouver Canucks 4-1 victory over the Dallas Stars. The first one came on a one-timer from the right wing circle and beat Stars goalie Jake Oettinger five-hole. Petey admitted he didn’t intend the shot to go there but obviously he’d take it.
His second goal also came from the right wing circle, on the rush, through the screen of back-pedaling Stars forward Joe Pavelski. Pettersson ripped a wrister through Pavelski’s legs, top corner, blocker side on Oettinger. It turned out to be the game winner, his 20th goal of the season, and his 200th career NHL point.
“It’s definitely cool,” Pettersson said postgame. “Blessed to say where I am today, to play in the NHL, so yeah, it means a lot.”
After he cutback to the right side through the neutral zone, Petey knew he had a forward skating backwards trying to play D in that moment.
“I was just trying to create some space for myself and I saw it was a forward,” Petey said. “I was just trying to read the play and take the ice that I got and try to use him as a screen and it went in.”
It was a perfect shot.
Well, not really. Mostly they’re his competitors. Vancouver Canucks rookie general manager Patrik Allvin, the first ever Swedish NHL GM, arrived in Florida for two days of meetings with his peers that will begin Monday morning in Palm Beach.
Bill Guerin, his long-time friend and cohort from their days with the Pittsburgh Penguins organization and the current GM of the Minnesota Wild can introduce Allvin around. Other rookie GM’s on hand include Kyle Davidson of the Chicago Blackhawks, Pat Verbeek of the Anaheim Ducks, and Kent Hughes of the Montreal Canadiens.
I wonder what the hazing ceremony is like?
Have a great week and Enjoy the Hockey Action !!