Special teams are always a priority topic of discussion for a hockey team, yet in spite of the Vancouver Canucks recent successes, Canucks Head Coach Bruce Boudreau was OK with keeping the subject on the down low. His reasoning was likely more on a superstitious ‘don’t jinx it’ level when asked about it by VHN after the victory in Arizona.
“I’d just like to keep that a secret, so nobody knows,” ‘Gabby’ said with a smile. “They’ve been pretty good, you know.”
‘Pretty good’ in the last three games has meant five power play goals in their last eight chances, and the penalty kill going a perfect 9-for-9.
“Using the same units really helps,” Boudreau continued. “Brad’s (Assistant Coach Shaw) done a really good job with the penalty killing as did Scott (Walker) before him, and I think Jason (King) does a good job with the PP. But we’ve been able to use those same five guys for the most part on every power play, I think the continuity has helped them do a good job.”
Hometown kid and Vancouver Canucks defenceman Kyle Burroughs will be playing in front of the Rogers Arena faithful for the first time since being injured early in the first period on February 19th against the Anaheim Ducks. Burroughs had a chance to chat with the media Saturday morning with playing in front of friends and family being one of the topics.
“Obviously the support is awesome, hopefully it’s not just my parents who are screaming loud from the crowd,” the 26-year-old righty joked, “but no, it’s been awesome and I’m really thankful for it.”
In 38 games Burroughs has a goal and four assists and 35 penalty minutes including three fighting majors. His characteristics you’ll most often hear Canucks teammates compliment is his willingness to sacrifice his body for the team, take hits, deliver hits and drop the mitts.
Burroughs fought Riley Stillman of the Chicago Blackhawks back on October 21st, then Tanner Jeannot of the Nashville Predators on January 18th, and Lawson Crouse of the Arizona Coyotes on February 8th.
Reviews just for fun: Burroughs landed the only two punches of the Stillman fight, an uppercut early and a jab late, so he had the edge. The Jeannot fight was uneventful as both men missed with a big swing and fell to the ice before the fight really got going, and then against the much taller and bigger Crouse, Burroughs dug in and hung on to the end. Slight edge to Crouse.
Burroughs: 1-1-and-1 with nothing too devastating.
Last week he returned off that lower-body injury for the two Canucks road games and played 16:49 and then 17:55 in Vegas and Arizona.
Forwards Tanner Pearson, who left the Coyotes game in the first period, and Brock Boeser, who missed both games of the brief roadie with an upper-body injury, will miss the game against the Sharks Saturday night. It’s expected they’ll both do some skating again on Sunday. The Canucks next play Tuesday at home against the Vegas Golden Knights.
Jason Dickinson didn’t take line rushes at the morning skate but it’s expected he’ll play, while defenceman Brad Hunt skated with Brad Richardson and Nic Petan on the 4th line. Hunt did play some forward for Boudreau when both were with the Minnesota Wild.
Recent Abbotsford call-up Sheldon Dries took line rushes in the am, but for the moment he’s expected to be the extra forward.
Because of his recent success running the power play, it looks like Oliver Ekman-Larsson will stick with the first unit against the Sharks while Quinn Hughes, just back from missing two games due to illness, will bump to quarterbacking the 2nd unit.
Kaapo Kahkonen vs. Thatcher Demko in net.