Canucks Weekly Fares: Season Sweep vs. Oilers, The Last Game Against the Coyotes and Quinn Hughes for Norris

By: Brayden Fengler / April 15, 2024  

Canucks Dominate Golden Knights

The first game of the week was on Monday against the Vegas Golden Knights for their fourth and final game of the regular season. The Canucks were looking to tie the season series at two apiece with an important win over the Vega Golden Knights.

Arturs Silovs got the start for Vancouver and Tomas Hertl made his debut for the Golden Knights. The Canucks were in for a challenge, but nothing worse than they can expect come playoffs.

The first goal of the game came roughly two minutes into the first period on the first shot of the night by Vegas. Jack Eichel let a wrist shot go off the rush that Silovs couldn’t quite hold onto. Vegas was on a powerplay at the time due to an interference call against Boeser. Silovs didn’t look his sharpest, but that is to be expected when a goalie who has played as few games in the NHL as he has.

The second shot of the night for Vegas once again came off Eichel’s stick and once again beat Silovs. This one was less on Silovs and more on the defenders for failing to cover Eichel, who was all alone with time and space.

Carson Soucy gave the team a jolt with a huge hit on Kegan Kolesar. On his birthday no less.

Shortly after, Garland scored his 100th goal in his 400th game on the powerplay.

Once again on the powerplay, Quinn Hughes tied the game with a one-timer from the top of the slot that beat the crowd in front for his 17th goal of the year. The Canucks did a great job screening Logan Thompson, there was no chance he was seeing the shot from Hughes.

Noah Hanifin scored his second goal as a Golden Knight to break the stalemate. Both goals have come against the Canucks.

Brock Boeser re-tied the game at 3 all through a fantastic screen from Pettersson. Boeser became just the 10th player in Canucks history to score 40 goals in a single season with this goal. What a remarkable season Boeser is having for the Canucks.

The Canucks took their first lead of the game when Garland scored his 101st career goal. Miller got his 100th point of the season on the play. The Canucks were hitting milestones every which way on Monday night. Garland continues to be red hot, and the goal gave him 10 points in 10 games.

That was all it would take and the Canucks would take the game 4-3 in impressive fashion. Despite being down two goals on two shots early, the Canucks roared back to beat the Knights in what was both a full two points and a moral victory.

The night was all about Garland, however. The team came in wearing t-shirts for Garland’s 400th game, fans were chanting his name and during his post-game walk-off interview, he had to pause and wait for fans to stop cheering before he could start. Once he did start, he was interrupted by the fans cheering for him again. He got emotional and left the interview early after thanking the fans. It was a great win and a great night for Conor Garland. Very bad night for BoestMode however.

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Disappointing Final Contest Against Arizona

The Canucks hosted the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday, for what we now know was their last game at Rogers Area as an Arizona-based team. Serious reporting started on Wednesday morning (and ramped up over the rest of the week) that the Coyotes were about to be on the move to Utah.

This news provided an interesting backdrop to the game, as it almost felt like watching a piece of history unfold. The Coyotes as a franchise will live on, though one expects it under a different name. Nonetheless, this gave the whole set-up of what was otherwise an irrelevant game, a tinge of bittersweetness.

The game itself was not a particularly great one for Vancouver. Although they started as they should, dominating in possession and shot attempts, they lacked any sort of finish, especially in the first period. Both teams ended the opening 20 minutes without a goal, but the period did end in an interesting fashion as Tyler Myers got the game’s first penalty in the dying seconds, which was just one of many questionable calls in this game.

Arizona earned the game’s first goal five minutes into the second. Shortly after, J.T. Miller earned a goal late in the second. But somehow the team let the Coyotes answer back with a goal even later in the second period and then another early in the third.

Late in the third, when it looked like it might be all over, as the score sat 2-3, a big save by Silovs kept the Canucks in the hunt.

Next, during a power play from an interference call drawn by Nils Hoglander, who else but Elias Pettersson scored to tie the game.

This goal was enough to force overtime but, ultimately after an ineffective Filip Hronek penalty shot in OT, Logan Cooley scored the game-winner for a team that will never again play in Rogers Arena. All around, it was a frustrating result for a game that should have never been this close. This Arizona franchise left Vancouver for the last time, with the last laugh.

Quinn Hughes, Clear Norris Front-runner

As the season winds down it’s not just the hunt for the playoffs that begins to come to an end. This time of year it’s also nearly pencils down for players on the path to NHL award consideration.

Quinn Hughes has been nothing short of fundamental to the Canucks’ success this season, and as a result, Hughes has seen a lot of personal success as well. As nearly every way you look at it, it’s hard not to see anyone but Hughes winning the Norris Trophy for the league’s top defensemen. With the season nearly over, many media personalities and Canucks fans alike took a step back last week and reflected on how truly top of the league Hughes’ season has been.

Every year the argument of “who’s better” between Hughes and Makar rages on and this year has been no different. Hughes and Makar’s most basic personal stats are still close, and reasonable to compare, with Hughes leading in points but holding a 1.14 points percentage compared to Makar’s 1.16. But the impact and the value that Hughes has brought to the Canucks this year is unparalleled. There would be no playoff run on the horizon without Quinn Hughes.

There has never been a night or shift this season when Quinn Hughes has had the puck and hasn’t dictated the flow of play during that shift. Hughes often holds and controls the puck right up against the blueline making incredible plays to keep the Canucks in the attacking zone.

The way Hughes has night after night battled to win puck possession, despite how his stature may rank against players on the opposing team, has been nothing short of phenomenal.

Now that Quinn Hughes’ season is essentially finished and the full picture is nearly painted in, it’s no wonder that many feel it’s become undeniable that he is the Norris front-runner.

Season Series Sweep Finished in Edmonton

The last game of the week came against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday. The Canucks looked to sweep the season series against the Oilers and the job looked to be slightly easier with McDavid not playing due to injury. Leading into this game, the Canucks had outscored the Oilers 18-6 in three games early in the season.

Since then, the Oilers have been one of the hottest teams in the league and were looking to get some revenge on Vancouver. This game was a very important one in the standings. If the Oilers won, their chances of winning the division increased and their fate laid in their own hands. Meanwhile, a loss would all but secure first in the Pacific for Vancouver.

DeSmith got the start in what might be the final game of the regular season that doesn’t feature Thatcher Demko. DeSmith was sharp early, as the Canucks were outshot 12-3 at one point in the first period. He was able to keep the Canucks in it long enough for them to score the first goal.

Lafferty patiently waited off the rush and took a shot from the faceoff dot that beat Skinner clean for the game’s opening goal with less than 16 seconds left in the first period.

The Canucks scored the second goal with a great tip from Pius Suter off a Tyler Myers shot-pass.

Evander Kane scored next to bring the Oilers within one with a high tip that beat DeSmith. There would be no challenge for high-sticking so the goal stood. The Oilers came into the third period with the momentum, but DeSmith continued to do a great job back-stopping the Canucks.

Dakota Joshua put the game on ice with an empty net goal making it 3-1 with less than two to go.

The season series wrapped at 4:0 Vancouver, with the Canucks outscoring the Oilers 21-7 in those four games. The Canucks will win the Pacific as long as they pick up a single point in their remaining games. If they fail to pick up a single point, the Oilers must win out to take the division.

What a season from the Canucks against what was picked as a sure Stanley Cup favourite to start the season.