By: Brayden Fengler / April 2, 2023
Game 71: March 26th vs. The Chicago Blackhawks
The Canucks played both Saturday and Sunday last weekend. Coming off of a victory over the Dallas Stars on Saturday the Canucks faced off against the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday.
The first period would be mostly uneventful for Vancouver, as despite some decent efforts by the Canucks’ usual suspects Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller the club would remain scoreless for the duration of the first period. Just over the halfway mark of the first, the Canucks and the Blackhawks would trade powerplay opportunities with Nils Aman sitting for two minutes on an interference call, and then Chicago’s Reese Johnson earning two of his own with a boarding call against Kyle Burroughs. However, neither team would capitalize on their power play opportunities.
The period would not remain scoreless however, as Chicago’s Connor Murphy would find the back of the net late in the third period to make the Blackhawks the leaders going into the first intermission.
The second period would also remain a quiet affair. The two teams showed why neither one of them is playoff material as both teams failed to get anything going offensively. There would be no special teams deployed for either side in this period forcing both squads to be locked at five-on-five play for the whole 20 minutes. Both Delia for the Canucks and Mrazek for the Blackhawks made some sizable saves in this period, but ultimately this frame was a master class in unproductive Hockey across the board.
With just, 17 seconds to spare the Canucks would finally get on the board in the shape of a Phillip Di Giuseppe goal. In keeping consistent with the style of play that this game had seen the shot that caused the goal was intended to be a no-look backhand pass in the slot, which deflected off a Chicago player and into the net.
The third period would see the pace pick up a little big for both teams. The Canucks gave the Blackhawks two separate powerplay opportunities early in the third period, which gave Chicago a fair amount of chances to capitalize on, yet the team just couldn’t put another home.
The next goal would come from Elias Pettersson, off of a play that gifted him a seemly effortless tap in thanks to the final pass from Ethan Bear.
Petterson also earn another goal for the Canucks, this one even less glamorous as after a scramble in front, Petey would be in the right place at the right time, to slamdunk the puck into the net. The puck was already passed the goalie and on its way over the goalline without his help, but EP40 made sure that there was no room for error.
The game would then end in a Canucks victory, but not before Boeser would take the opportunity to earn an empty net goal for Vancouver, off of an extra patient play in the offensive zone. The final score would be 4-1, as Vancouver would turn down a much-needed loss for team tank.
Game 72: March 28th vs. The St. Louis Blues
The Canucks’ next game would come after a day of travel, as Vancouver flew to St. Louis to take on the Blues. This game would be a lot more exciting than their most recent contest against the Blackhawks.
six minutes into the opening frame, Quinn Hughes would put Vancouver on the board after a cross-crease rebound would leave Quinn with an empty net, and the puck on his stick, an opportunity which Quinn did not let pass him by.
Unfortunately for the Canucks this lead would not be too long-lived as just over the halfway mark in the first period Alexey Toropchenko on a solo effort would bring his team back to even footing with the Canucks, making it 1-1. Then just five minutes later Justin Faulk would make it 2-1 Blues as a failure to clear the puck by the Canucks, would allow the Blues time to reset in their zone, before getting the puck to Faulk to finish the deal.
With less than a minute left Andrei Kuzmenko and the Canucks would end up levelling the game’s score once more. The goal was mostly the result of J.T. Miller’s ice-cold control of the puck, he all but set up a literal tent in the near side corner of the Blues’ zone, affording him all the time in the world to make the perfect cross-crease pass to Kuzmenko in front.
The St. Louis Blues came into the next period swinging for the fences, and by the middle of the frame they connected on a good number of chances. The Blues’ next goal came off of a failed clearing attempt by Thatcher Demko, which saw the puck regained by the Blues along the boards and funnelled to Jakub Vrana in the slot, who fired a quick one-timer home.
A few minutes later on a St. Louis power play Robert Thomas would be gifted plenty of time at the point, allowing him to pick his corner and wrist a quick shot passed the low blocker of Thatcher Demko. Then just moments later on a deadly end-to-end breakout, the Blues would take the puck with speed all the way from their end of the ice into the back of the Canucks net, as some killer passing was capped off with a nice tap in by Pavel Buchnevich.
Just before the period wrapped however Quinn Hughs and Brock Boser would do what they could to bring the Canucks a little closer to even. As off of a lightning-fast Hughes slapshot Boeser, got just enough of the puck to redirect it into the back of the Blues’ net.
The Third period would go much better for the Canucks than the second period did, as they prevented the Blues from adding to the monstrous goal total that they developed in the second period.
Halfway through the period, Kuzmenko would get his second of the night, this time on even strength, as some stealthy Canucks passing, mainly by the hands of Elias Pettersson, would leave, Bennington, completely out of the picture in terms of where the puck had ended up, allowing Kuzmenko a tone of real state to snap a quick one into the back of the net.
Vancouver would then find themselves back within one goal of the Blues, and it would be Quinn Hughes with his third point of the night that would bring the game back to even once more. In the last minute of play off of a Canucks face-off win Boeser would find the puck and feed it to Hughes in the middle of the ice just below the blue line. Even from here Hughes had no issue as a lightning-fast shot, beat Binnington yet again, and the Canukcs would be taking this thing to overtime.
Sadly for the Canucks this is where their good fortunes would run out. Jakub Vrana who opened the scoring for the Blues in the second period would open and close the scoring for the club in OT as well. Yet another skillful Blues breakout would end in a passing play that put the puck on Vrana’s stick while Demko was desperately trying to cut across the crease, Vrana slid the puck past the Vancouver netminder to close the book on this contest with a 6-5 Blues OT victory.
Game 73: March 31st vs. The Calgary Flames
On Friday night ahead of the game against the Calgary Flames, all but one Canuck came out for warmups in the Canucks 2023 Pride jerseys. To keep things positive, we won’t focus on the player who opted out, but instead on the inclusion that was shown by the majority of the team, and the organization from the top down.
Once the Canucks were back in their regular jerseys we had a barn burner of a game in the Vancouver Canucks took on the Calgary Canucks. The first goal would come from Conor Garland over nine minutes into the game. Garland scored unassisted after pressing Mikael Backlund at the blue line. Backlund turned the puck over and Garland was one on one with Jacob Markstrom. Garland forced Markstrom into his net and scored off a quick wrist shot going post and in on only the 6th shot of the game.
The next goal wouldn’t come until the second period when Pettersson would score a 93 mile/hr one-timer on the power play. That puts Pettersson at 96 points on the season. Pettersson is on track to have the first 100-point season from a Swedish player since Daniel Sedin.
Tyler Toffoli would bring the flames to within one after he forced a turnover at the Calgary blueline. Andrew Mangiapane and Toffolie would play pass a little bit before Toffoli would score on the backhand. Blake Coleman would tie the game up after putting away a rebound off a Troy Stetcher shot. Yeah, that’s right, Troy Stetcher is also a Calgary Flame now.
Aiden McDonough would break the stalemate with his first-ever NHL goal in his second NHL game. Not all of them have to be pretty, but when your childhood friend is on the ice with you, it makes it all the more special.
Jonathan Huberdeau would be awarded a penalty shot after Tyler Myers was called for hooking on the play. But don’t worry, in Demko we trust.
After stopping Huberdeau uncontested Demko is now 4-0 in his career when facing penalty shots.
Troy Stetcher would further cement in your mind that he is in fact playing for Calgary with the tieing goal after being left all alone streaking down the right side of the net. Troy from Richmond made no mistake putting the puck past Demko breaking all of our hearts.
14 seconds after Stetcher (who plays for Calgary now) scores, Nils Aman and Anthoney Beauvillier would combine for the go-ahead goal and Beauvillier’s 17th goal of the season.
Pettersson would get called for high-sticking late in the game, down one goal. But here’s the kicker, Duher lifted Pettersson’s stick right into his own face.
On the following powerplay, Jonathan Huberdeau wouldn’t miss again tieing the game at four a piece with just over three minutes remaining. The game would require extra time.
In overtime, Markstrom would make a great save on Dakota Joshua in OT and the play would head up ice to Thatcher Demko. Backlund would pass to Toffoli who would score the game-winner and his second of the night. The Flames would win the last game of the week 5-4.