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Blues Wear Out the Vancouver Canucks 4-3 – Playoff Gut Punch

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Vancouver Canucks, St. Louis Blues
St. Louis Blues Centre Ryan O'Reilly falls down after scoring a second period power play goal against the Vancouver Canucks.

St. Louis Blues 4, Vancouver Canucks 3

Same line-up for the Canucks from their 4-1 loss in St. Louis on Monday.

Blues leading scorer Jordan Kyrou, 62 points via 22 goals and 40 assists, was a late scratch. He was replaced up front by 6-foot-6 inch, 220-pound, 2016 11th-overall NHL draft choice Logan Brown, the son of former Canucks defenceman Jeff Brown.

No Bo

Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat didn’t return to the game after playing 4:38 in the first period. He didn’t appear on the bench for the 2nd.

Goal Scorers

2nd Period 1-0 Vancouver – Alex Chiasson (7) – Brad Richardson, Oliver Ekman-Larsson (:31) Even Strength

((– Richardson fed the puck from behind the net and found a wide open Chiasson who went top shelf, glove side on Ville Husso))

2nd Period 1-1 St. Louis – Nick Leddy (2) – Ryan O’Reilly, David Perron (7:46) Even Strength

((– Left point slapper finds its way through Thatcher Demko’s armpit to tie the game))

2nd Period 2-1 Vancouver – Elias Pettersson (21) – Nic Petan (12:42) Even Strength

((– Petan got his stick on a Vladimir Tarasenko clearing pass, created the turnover, and ‘Petey’ whipped shot past Husso))

2nd Period 2-2 St. Louis – Robert Thomas (23) – Brandon Saad (15:29) Shorthanded

((– Pettersson fumbled the puck on the power play in the offensive zone, turnover, and Thomas ends up scoring on a breakaway))

2nd Period 3-2 St. Louis – Ryan O’Reilly (15) – Brayden Schenn, David Perron (17:16) Power Play

((– One-timer from the slot for his first career goal against Vancouver on his 92nd career shot versus the Canucks)

3rd Period 4-2 St. Louis – Nathan Walker (6) – Mackenzie MacEachern, Justin Faulk (9:29) Even Strength

((– A fortuitous bounce off a carom ended up on the Australian’s stick and he buried it))

3rd Period 4-3 Vancouver – Elias Pettersson (22) – Conor Garland, JT Miller (15:11) Even Strength

((‘Petey’ with a slight deflection of a fluttering puck of a Garland shot from the high slot))

Special Teams

These two teams offered up a grand total of five power plays on Monday night in St. Louis and Wednesday’s game started equally as disciplined. The first period went penalty-free.

The Blues entered with the 4th best power play in the NHL at 25.8 percent and a penalty kill ranked 7th at 82.6%.

The Vancouver Canucks tout the 16th best power play at 21.6%, steadily improved over the last five weeks, and now have just the second-worst penalty kill in the league at 72.8%. They owned the basement all season long until the Detroit Red Wings slipped below them this past week.

In the second period each team received a man advantage and it was a disaster for the Canucks. They gave up a shorthanded goal and a power play goal to the Blues in a 1:47 second span.

We expected more feisty behaviour in this one and the Canucks could have used it. Staying out of the box is one thing, laissez-faire, particularly with the puck, is another.

There were no infractions called in the 3rd period.

Neutral Zone

St. Louis took it over in the 3rd period which allowed them to extend their lead. “Tough sledding” would best describe what the Canucks were confronted with when trying to advance pucks against a Blues team holding a one-goal, and later a two goal lead.

Their physical nature and shear bulk seemed to gradually take its toll as well. Brown and Alexei Toropchenko are monsters. The Blues define ‘heavy’.

The Blues sweep the Canucks in the season series, 3-0.

Simmer’s Canucks 3 Stars:

3) Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Munched minutes and played another solid game. Had an assist, four shots on goal, two blocked shots in 22:28. 

2) Thatcher Demko – Made 2 ginormous saves in the 1st period to keep game scoreless. Maybe one he’d like back but a handful of biggies of the 20 total.

1) Elias PetterssonTwo goal night and created other opportunities. Three shots on goal. The glaring stat: three giveaways, one that led to a goal. The fact that he’s first star anyway tells you a lot about the team’s game.

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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