By: Trent Leith and Brayden Fengler / October 30, 2023
Game 6: October 24th vs. The Nashville Predators
The Canucks took the ice for the first time this past week on Tuesday. Vancouver, along with every other team in the NHL played a game during what was being dubbed a “Frozen Frenzy” by ESPN. The American sports network took a page out of its football coverage playbook, copying the Red Zone format by jumping around between all 16 games in action.
Ilya Mikheyev scored the game’s first goal from the top of the circles. It was a goal that Just Saros likely should have had. But yet he didn’t, and Andrei Kuzmenko fed his countryman for his first goal of the season. Ian Cole got his first point as a Vancouver Canuck with a second assist on the play as well.
The Predators tied the game with less than 5 minutes remaining in the frame. Carson Soucy tried to clear the zone with a dump up the wings but Colton Sissons sealed off the boards, walked into the slot, used Soucy as a screen, and scored the tying goal.
22 seconds into the second period Ryan McDonagh swiped at a bouncing puck and got just enough to redirect it toward Brock Boeser. Boeser swiped at it and bounced the puck towards Phil Di Giuseppe. PDG batted at the bouncing puck and it somehow fluttered over Saros for the quintessential “they don’t ask how, they ask how many” goal.
Shortly after PDG’s goal, Nils Höglander redirected a Quinn Hughes shot for his second goal of the season. The Canucks wasted no time in the second period getting on the scoreboard multiple times.
Keifer Sherwood scored the 3-2 goal on a turnover in Predators end that Tommy Novak collected. Novak made a pass for Sherwood to one time to bring the game within one
The rest of the second period went off without much to report.
The Canucks had a very strong game through and through with 24-18 lead in shots and had a 66.29% Corsi on the night. Up and down the Canucks forward lines they Canucks dominate in the fancy stats column.
Not a bad way to wrap up a five-game road trip early in the season. These are points that will matter down the stretch.
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Game 7: October 27th vs. The St. Louis Blues
The Canucks had two speeds during the St. Louis Blues on Friday night, going and gone. Vancouver’s dominance started right away, with the home club getting a total of six shots on net, including a Sam Lafferty near miss in under five minutes of play. In the same period, the Blues were unable to even earn their first shot of the night.
With just under eight minutes passed in in the first period and a masterclass in zone control and quality shot attempts the Canucks opened the scoring off of a Quinn Hughes wrist shot that found its way past Jordan Binnington and into the back of the net.
At the conclusion of the first period that Canucks had generated a total of 19 shots on net and the Blues only three. To put that into perspective with regards to the rest of the game, Thatcher Demko ended the game only facing a total of 22 shots, just three more than the Canuck generated after only 20 minutes of play.
The next goal of the game again came from Quinn Hughes. The goal was a result of a faceoff win by J.T. Miller that found its way to Hughes at the point. Hughes then took a solo journey from the blue line to the far faceoff dot, where he backhanded a shot on net, that after hitting a body or two made its way beyond the goal line.
Just before the halfway mark of the period, after Tyler Myers and Carson Soucy masterfully shut down a one-man break-in by the Blues Brandon Saad, Myers sprung Philip Di Giuseppe the other way where he did exactly what Saad failed to do, break through the two defenders and put it five-hole on good old Jordy-B.
Then minutes later off of a horrific Torey Krug giveaway to Elias Pettersson, Petey quickly flipped the puck back up the ice, finding Miller alone at the St. Louis blueline, at which point Miller made quick work of his one-on-one opportunity with tucking in the Canucks fourth goal of the game far side around Bennington’s left pad. At this point, there was still over half of the game to be played, and it felt as though the time of death had already been determined for the Blues even long before this Miller goal.
The Blues had a power play opportunity and in general developed more opportunities for themselves to test Demko towards the end of the second period, however, nothing would eventuate from the visiting team, and the frame ended 4-0 Canucks.
With 30 shots to the Blues’ 14, the third period started without any strong indication that there would be a change in fortune for St. Louis. Jordan Kyrou was gifted a hall pass to walk right into the slot surrounded by all five Canucks on the ice and test Demko with one free shot. However, Kyrou went blocker side, and Demko was quickly not having any of it, swallowing the shot attempt without a rebound.
The last goal of the game once again came from the Canucks as passing play from Kuzmenko to Pettersson and finally to Mikheyev sent the Canuck on a near breakaway that ended in yet another five-hole goal making the score 5-0.
The Canucks allow a good number of more promising scoring chances toward the end of the game, with the third frame being Vancouver’s worst defensively. However, between Demko’s dominance and the rest of the team’s impressive offence, there was never a moment in this game that made it look like it could’ve had any other outcome.
Game 8: October 28th vs. The New York Rangers
The Canucks took on the New York Rangers Saturday night, just one day following their most dominant performance of the season so far, against the Blues.
The Canucks had some luck go their way early, The Rangers were on the powerplay when Chris Kreider redirected a shot into the Canucks post keeping the game even at zero aside. Shortly after, the Canucks took another penalty and went down five-on-three and the Rangers hit a second post during that man advantage as well. Following that, Tyler Myers made a great play (?) to clear the zone relieving some pressure for his team.
However, on the next rush, the Rangers opened the game’s scoring with a shot from Artemi Panarin during a two-man advantage.
The Canucks tied the game with just over four minutes remaining in the second period. Filip Hronek let a shot from the point go into traffic on the powerplay and J.T. Miller was in perfect position to tip the puck past Igor Shesterkin.
Things blew wide open in the third period. Phil Di Giuseppe took a four-minute double minor penalty for high sticking and 25 seconds into the short-handed situation, Tyler Myers snapped. Myers made a great read along the boards and picked off a pass to spring a short-handed two-on-one with Lafferty. Myers telegraphed the pass the entire way as Lafferty opened up for a one-timer, but then at the last moment, Tyler Myers shot high glove side to score a short-handed goal.
The Rangers wound up with another five-on-three situation later in the frame and made no mistake scoring. Adam Fox was able to tap the puck in to tie the game back at two a piece.
The Rangers ended up scoring on both penalties involved in the five-on-three when Zibanejad scored on a scrambling play in front of DeSmith.
Carson Soucy kept the rollercoaster going with a huge slap shot from the top of the slot to once again tie the game, this time at 3-3.
The game required extra time. During three-on-three overtime, Kuzmenko nearly put the game on ice with a supreme singular effort and then a great follow-up on his own rebound, but tragically Shesterkin said no.
The game ended after a missed call in the offensive zone when Elias Pettersson was tripped up forcing a turnover and a three-on-one. Hronek played this situation about as well as anyone could hope, but it wasn’t enough. K’Andre Miller scored, ending the game.
Despite the loss, the Canucks are still 5-2-1 (.688) and second in the West with 11 points in eight games.