By: Brayden Fengler and Trent Leith / November 13, 2023
Game 12: November 6th vs. The Edmonton Oilers
The Canucks’ first game of the week was on Monday night as they squared off against the Edmonton Oilers. Since the Oilers played the Canucks twice to start the season and lost, they have gone 2-5-1. Seats are getting hot, players are getting frustrated and goalies are still M.I.A.
The Canucks on the other hand have gone 6-2-1 since the two games against the Oilers to start the season. It seems like no one is truly ready to accept that the Canucks are good as tensions leading to the game were high. The Canucks seemed to have yet another test in front of them on Monday night.
The Oilers have all the makings of a great, Stanley Cup calibre team, but the pieces haven’t clicked yet. On Monday night they had a serious bone to pick with the Canucks after an embarrassing 12-4 aggregate score to open the season.
But the Canucks were wearing the flying-skate, so the Oilers had essentially lost before they stepped on the ice.
The first goal of the game came off a beautiful shot from Matias Ekholm at the 6:42 mark that went top corner from a pass off of Sam Garner’s stick. This was Ekholm’s first-ever goal against Vancouver and came on the Oilers’s power play.
To that point in the period, the Oilers were dominating the Canucks with 14 shots to the Canucks’ 2.
The Canucks went ahead and tied the game at one a-piece on their third shot of the night. Quinn Hughes came blasting down the wing at full flight and then made a beautiful cross-crease pass to Ilya Mikheyev. However, the Oilers’s defender blocked the pass and took the goal for himself.
Quinn Hughes now has five goals in 12 games. It took Hughes 43 games to hit five goals last season. Filip Hronek is also quietly on a seven-game point streak and has 12 assists in 12 games.
Pius Suter scored quickly after (slow down guys, I can’t write as fast as you’re scoring). On the fourth shot of the game, Suter scored off of a pass from Dakota Joshua for his third goal in three games.
The Oilers started to get frustrated, losing 2-1 with the shots 19-5 in their favour, and took a cross-checking penalty. The tilt of the ice started to shift if the shot count hadn’t caught up yet.
On the ensuing power play, Boeser scored his ninth goal of the year (on the seventh shot). It took the Canucks 3:22 to go from trailing by one to leading by two goals.
Jay Woodcraft elected to use his time out after this goal to try and get the Oilers to regroup and get their game back.
Nils Höglander was an elite pest to end the period and did the work to make sure his team started the second period on the power play.
The Oiler’s second goal came off of an awkward play by Demko.
Demko had his leg taken out beside his net and as a result, the Oilers got a wide-open net to bring it back to a one-goal game. Many Canucks fans wondered why it wasn’t challenged for goaltender interference while many Oilers fans thought Demko got justice for trying to run a pick. Regardless, it wasn’t challenged and the game was brought back to within one.
Höglander scored the 4-2 goal. On the break-in, he passed the puck to Sam Lafferty and immediately joined the rush. Lafferty let a shot go that created a massive rebound that landed on Höglander’s stick who roofed it for his third goal of the season.
In the third period, the Canucks broke the Oilers. They unraveled in every way. And just like any good captain, McDavid led his team in that regard. It started with McDavid getting in Miller’s face, allegedly because Miller, being McDavid’s daddy, had grounded him and told him he wasn’t allowed to score anymore. Hyman then jumped Miller and they both got two-minute minors.
Shortly following Miller going into the box with Hyman, McDavid took a roughing call against Suter, and Draisaitl was assessed a 10-minute misconduct. Personally, if I were the Oilers, my game plan for getting back into the game would be to make sure McDavid, Draisaitl, and Hyman aren’t all in the box together. But what do I know?
As soon as Miller got out of the box, he scored a goal that was in and out so fast the only person who knew it was in was Pettersson. The play went on for a few more seconds before the horn sounded announcing the 5-2 goal.
Like any good coach, Jay Woodcroft is expected to set the tone for his team. And that is why he was ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct putting his team once again on the penalty kill.
The Cherry on top was Boeser scoring his 10th goal of the season. He is now 1/3 of the way to his first 30-goal season. This is the best we’ve seen of Boeser since his electric rookie year.
The Oilers couldn’t even knock the stick out of Boeser’s hands properly on Monday night.
The final score ended up being 6-2. The Canucks have now outscored the Oilers 19-6 across three games. Which team was the Cup Favourite and which was the tire fire of the Pacific again?
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Game 13: November 9th vs. The Ottawa Senators
The Canucks kicked off the first game of their eastern road trip against the Ottawa Senators. The Senators are significantly below the Canucks in the early NHL leaderboard, and this became apparent early on Thursday night as Brock Boeser opened the scoring for the Canucks off of a cross-ice feed from Phillip Di Giuseppe.
It initially seemed that Forsberg was able to glove the net-bound puck out of the air, however after review, it was determined that both the puck and his glove crossed the goalline.
The next goal also belonged to the Canucks as minutes later a poor Ottawa turnover in their end resulted in the puck finding Ilya Mikheyev open in the slot with all sorts of time. Mikheyev made no mistake, and with over 55 minutes of play still to go, Vancouver was up 2-0.
Ottawa wasn’t going to take this early licking sitting down, however, as by the time the frame reached the halfway mark they doubled the number of shots not produced by the Canucks at 6-3.
Ottawa’s continued pressure eventually got them on the board in the dying minutes of the game. A fanned clearing attempt by Ian Cole allowed Drake Batherson to take advantage of a solo opportunity against Casey DeSmith, scoring Ottowa’s first of the game.
It took the Canucks two minutes of play to register their first shot of the second period after not having registered a single shot in the second half of the opening frame. Although the Canucks were leading, their lack of pressure continued to look worrisome.
The Canucks lack of production became a larger issue when Ottawa’s Artem Zub took a point shot on DeSmith that hit Elias Pettersson and found its way into the back of the net, evening the score.
Finally after nearly two full periods of play between the Canucks two opening goals, and being vastly outshot, Vancouver reclaimed the lead, thanks to a classic J.T. Miller sharp-angle shot that broke sound barriers to find the back of the net.
The Canucks entered the third period still significantly trailing Ottawa in shot attempts. However, the team seemed to be going for a quality over quantity approach to this game that appeared to be paying off. The next goal of the game again belonged to the Canucks, thanks to an Ilya Mikheyev deflection off of an Elias Pettersson point shot.
The Canucks kept the pressure on Ottawa in the remaining half of the period, and the final nail in the coffin again involved Elias Pettersson as an effortless-looking blast off of a faceoff win was the final note of this contest, as the Canucks walked away with a 5-2 win, while having only produced 16 shots on net.
Game 14: November 11th vs. The Toronto Maple Leafs
On Saturday night, the Vancouver Canucks squared up against the Toronto maple leaves for the first game of Hockey Night in Canada. Is the best chance for Quinn Hughes to rub the eastern media’s nose in the mistake they made underrating him coming into the season.
The Canucks are already the talk of the NHL with their hot start, but they will be especially top of mind in the Eastern media as they are in the hockey hotbed of the world while on an absolute heater.
Dakota Joshua got the game started with a huge hit on David Kampf. Mark Giordano took exception and dropped the gloves with a marathon fight. Giordano was assessed a two-minute minor for instigating.
JT Miller scored on the ensuing power play with a seeing-eye shot from the top of the slot for his ninth of the season. Both Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson also cashed in, each getting an assist.
The second goal of the game was awarded to the Leafs. Tyler Myers was assessed a minor penalty for blatantly cross-checking William Nylander. Shortly after the power play ended, Matthew Knies and the second unit scored on a scrambling goal to tie the game 1-1.
Ian Cole absolutely rocked Nick Robertson in the Leafs’ end when the puck popped out of a scrum in front of the net. There was some risk in the play as Cole was the last man back when he laid the hit, but it worked out. That is until Max Domi came for his pound of flesh. Domi and Cole dropped the gloves, and Domi was assessed an instigator penalty, the Leaf’s second one of the night.
The Canucks scored on their second power play of the night. Anthony Beauvillier one-timed a shot on net which kicked out a huge rebound for Pius Suter. Suter cleaned up the rebound for his fourth goal of the year.
Nylander scored the game-tying goal after Demko made an incredible save.
The Canucks were getting caved in rather significantly at five-on-five through the first 35 minutes of the game, and after some incredible goaltending from Demko, Noah Gregor scored the go-ahead goal for the Leafs on a shot that beat Demko clean.
Nick Robertson scored the 4-2 goal as the Canucks continued to struggle in the third period. David Kampf scored the fifth goal for the Leafs, ending a 35-game goalless streak with a redirect off a Gregor shot.
Everything about the Canucks in this game was just sloppy, not exactly how you stick it to the Eastern media. Especially after the Canucks were very self-aware of their poor play, despite picking up a win in Ottawa.
The Leafs have not been able to keep visiting teams below four goals against a game. Despite the Canucks being the highest-scoring team in the NHL, they couldn’t put up three, let alone four. We all knew some form of regression was due for the Canucks. Unfortunately, it had to come against Toronto.
Game 15: November 12th vs. The Montreal Canadiens
The Canucks last game of the week and the second of their Saturday and Sunday doubleheader started out slow. The Canucks applied some pressure out of the gate and before the frame was over they produced 19 shot attempts but landed only three of those attempts on the net.
The closest either team came to a goal in the first period was a Canadiens shot that rang off of the goalpost in such a fashion that it fooled their in-house goal-horn operator. The shot must’ve looked to them be in and out of the net, and their trigger finger was a little too itchy causing them to announce a goal that did not eventuate on the ice.
Both teams came out of the gate with more intensity than was seen in the first period. However, neither club was able to put something on the scoreboard until nearly halfway through the frame. A Canuck breakout and a well-placed stretch pass by Hughes found Miller breaking into the Habs zone, who sent the puck centre ice to Connor Graland for the Canucks first of the night.
The Canadiens scored not too long after. However, Vancouver lucked out as the goal ended up being called back due to offside upon review of the play. The Canuck’s luck didn’t end there as well, as their next goal came off the back of misfortune experienced by Jake Allen, Montreal’s netminder. Allen lost his stick behind his net and was unable to find a window to retrieve it even after the puck started to leave the Habs zone. This resulted in Allen being stickless when facing an Ilya Mikheyev shot that found its way past the stickless netminder.
Montreal controlled play for the back half of the second period yet the home team simply couldn’t catch a break, as the next goal of the game also belonged to the Canucks. Late in the second period, the Canucks put pressure on Jake Allen, and after an initial Conor Garland shot, Dakota Joshua cleaned up the garbage for the Cancuks’ third of the period and the game.
The third period consisted of a flurry of chances for both teams, as well as the most penalties called in the game so far. Around the quarter mark of the period the Canucks took two penalties in quick succession, a Tyler Myers slashing call followed by a Noah Juulsen high-sticking resulting in a 5 on 3 against the Canucks for just under a minute.
The Canucks nearly killed off the first penalty, but just as Myers was exiting the box, Montreal’s Mike Matheson put a puck past DeSmith for the Habs first goal of the game.
The remainder of the third period saw an equal amount of quality chances from both sides. Both Allen and DeSmith were tested more than they had been in the earlier frames as both team’s defensive games seemed to weaken as the clock wound down.
The Habs were desperate to finally have their offensive efforts rewarded and pulled their goalie as one tends to do in the dying minutes of the game. Unfortunately for the Quebec team, this resulted in the Canucks bookending a well-placed Arber Xhekaj shot and goal that beat Casey DeSmith, with two empty net goals of their own. With Boeser’s empty-netter coming moments before Xhekaj’s goal and Phillip Di Giuseppe’s coming moments after.
With that, Vancouver redeemed their loss from Saturday against Toronto and ended their week with a 5-2 victory in Montreal.