Canucks Weekly Fares: Week 20 Recap

By: Brayden Fengler and Trent Leith / March 4, 2024  

Game 61: February 27th vs. The Pittsburgh Penguins

The Canucks first game of the week came at home against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins are currently the oldest team in the NHL. With Vancouver being among the league’s best and skewing to the younger side, they hoped to make short work of the visiting Penguins.

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby got the first clear shot attempt early in the game while rushing in on the near side and firing a wrist shot on Thatcher Demko. It took Vancouver nearly five minutes before Pettersson sent a shot off of Jarry’s blocker to give Vancouver their first shot of the game.

Nils Höglander gave the Canucks their first goal of the game after an all-around team effort in the Penguins zone. After multiple scrambles in front of the Penguins net, Höglander was the hero who finally put away the game’s first goal.

Vancouver peppered more and more shot attempts as the period went on, scoring another goal in the first period. During the final three minutes of play, after Vancouver had more than doubled the Penguins’ shot production, Brock Boeser earned himself a power-play goal during an Erik Karlsson slashing penalty.

The penguins came out of the gate hot during the second period. They developed a lot of chances early, one of which led to their first goal of the game. Teddy Blueger had his pocked picked by Rickard Rakell while trying to control the puck in the Canucks end. In an impressive individual effort, Rakell glided through the slot past three Canucks d-men and ultimately Demko.

Later in the period, Vancouver gifted the Penguins a two-man advantage thanks to a Nikita Zadorov tripping call against Drew O’Connor and a Tyler Myers high-sticking call against Rickard Rakell only seconds later. The Penguins might be old, but give Crosby and his mates that much room and bad things are going to happen.

That’s exactly what happened as a tic-tac-toe play between Malkin, Crosby, and Rakell resulted in the Penguins’ second goal of the night.

Just as the Penguins were zapping the life out of the building, one man took it upon himself to bring the place back to life. J.T. Miller, while in the Canucks zone, spotted an open puck at the blue line with the closest Penguin’s defensemen from the puck just as far away as he was. This resulted in a fantastic individual effort from Miller, who earned possession of the puck by deflecting it out of mid-air and up the ice. This occurred after the puck had briefly been sent vertical during Miller’s initial contact with the puck at the same time as the Penguins’ d-man.

Miller then buried the subsequent breakaway opportunity and put the Canucks back in the lead.

The Canucks nearly earned another goal towards the end of the period as Tyler Myers of all people showed off his stick-handling ability. During the final few minutes of play, Myers took the puck to the net, all the way from his position on the point, earning one shot attempt himself and then nearly collecting the rebound from Miller’s point shot shortly after.

Despite Elias Pettersson giving the visiting team an early power play opportunity, the first half of the period nearly kept the score remaining the same. This was until just shy of the 10 minute mark when Lars Eller took advantage of a screened Demko and sent the puck bar down to once again tie the game.

This game needed overtime, which kicked off with the bounciest puck the NHL has ever seen. every opportunity, especially those towards Demko, seemed to result in multiple scrambles for the elusive biscuit after the initial shot was made.

In fitting with this turn of events, the game ended after a Demko glove save refused to stay in his glove, and instead popped out to Erik Karlsson who then had an uncontested empty net to shoot on. The Penguins won 4-3.

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Game 62: February 29th vs. The LA Kings

From the orca to the flying skate, the Canucks next home game was against the LA Kings. With the Canucks’ mostly black jerseys and the Kings’ muted scheme, this game may have well been watched in black and white.

Less than a minute in, the Canucks gave up the first powerplay chance of the game as Arshdeep Bains was called for tripping against Kevin Fiala. Both teams had minimal chances throughout the first period with only 7 combined shots being taken by the halfway mark in the period. Höglander had the best opportunity, nearly picking up a backdoor goal as Talbot was looking in the opposite direction when the puck popped back out to the net front near Höglander. Sadly nothing came of the chance.

The Kings got their name up on the scoreboard first as Drew Doughty took a slap shot while gliding into the Canucks zone, and sent a rocket past Thatcher Demko.

The period ended with less than 10 shots taken from either side. Only three of which were from the Canucks.

The Canuck earned two more shots within the first five minutes of the second period, so already they were on track for more production. They had a good run of chances near the 15-minute mark, with repeated high shots on Cam Talbot resulting in Talbot’s goalie helmet popping one of its straps.

The marginal increase in attack from Vancouver didn’t change to tides enough, however. Anže Kopitar earned the Kings their next game as Elias Pettersson failed to clear the puck out of the zone, and his turnover resulted in a two goal lead for LA.

Tyler Myers was nearly the hero at the halfway mark of the period, as his wrap-around attempt sailed across the crease after nearly finding its way in. Vancouver finished up the second period once again not responding to LA’s offensive production.

Early in the third, however, there was hope. Who else but Brock Boeser was gifted the puck near the slot in LA’s end, and made no mistake, sending a wrister glove side that left Talbot frozen.

This however is where things fell apart for Vancouver. Boeser’s goal was clearly all the Kings needed to step into high gear. During LA’s next powerplay chance, thanks to a Filip Hronek holding call, again on Kevin Fiala, Fiala himself made the Canucks pay with an end-to-end play that left the Canucks stunned.

In the final 10 minutes of play, the Kings struck again. A two-on-one opportunity saw Brandt Clarke convert a Quinton Byfield pass into the Kings’ fourth goal of the night.

If things weren’t already too far out of reach, Miller, with a giveaway at the Kings blueline, allowed for a Trevor Moore near breakaway, that despite the immediate pressure, saw the Kings forward score the club’s fifth and final goal of the night.

The boys just didn’t want it enough, and coach Tocchet was not impressed.

Elias Pettersson Signs Long-Term

Vancouver breathed a sigh of relief Saturday morning. We all rolled over first thing in the morning, checked our phones, and found Pettersson had signed a new 8-year deal with an AAV of $11.6M.

The contract is loaded with signing bonuses, as is standard in 2024 with massive contracts. The contract seemed to come together quickly after the Canucks reportedly received an offer from the Carolina Hurricanes that made the Canucks think.

The Canucks always preferred to sign Pettersson, but if he didn’t see himself staying in Vancouver, or wouldn’t commit, the Canucks had to consider the offer from the Hurricanes.

That is what brought both sides back to the table, and in about one week’s time, the deal was completed. Pettersson has set the franchise record for the richest contract in Canucks history and is now the fifth highest-paid player in the NHL.

Game 63: March 3rd vs. The Anaheim Ducks

The Canucks took the ice in Anaheim to play the Ducks on Sunday night. Podkolzin got his first call-up of the season for this game and was deployed on a line with Garland and Lindholm. In addition, Pettersson took the ice for the first time with the weight of contract negotiations no longer over his head.

The first goal of the game came from Pettersson’s line, although he didn’t get a point. Hronek passed to Hughes who performed his magic to find Höglander in a soft spot of the defensive coverage. Höglander then roofed the puck on the Canucks first shot of the game.

Shortly after the Canucks scored, the Ducks scored on their first shot as well when Alex Kilorn opened the scoring from the side of the net.

The period ended tied but with the Canucks on the powerplay. Podkolzin and Höglander were the standouts for the Canucks in the first period.

In the second period, the Canucks would quickly take a 2-1 lead thanks to a beautiful goal from Conor Garland assisted by Nikita Zadorov.

Garland’s go-ahead goal is his 12th of the season. The Canucks ended the second period with a shot share of 23-11, a 77.78% HDCF%, and a 2-1 lead. It’s not much to write home about beating a bottom feeder through two periods like the Canucks did, but when they have lost six of the last seven entering this game, any winning hockey is worth talking about.

The Canucks hung on through the third period to win 2-1 on the opening game of the road trip. The shots ended up being 31-18 after 60 minutes. The Canucks were clearly the better team on the night, and probably deserved a more decisive win, however, a win is a win regardless.

Late in the game, Pettersson took a puck to the collarbone. After the puck hit him, he looked stunned and went right to the bench. It was terrifying to see Petey leave the ice with an apparent injury after signing such a big contract, but thankfully he didn’t miss a single shift.