Canucks Weekly Fares: Week 6 Recap

By: Brayden Fengler and Trent Leith / November 20, 2023  

Game 16: November 15th vs. The New York Islanders

On Wednesday night the Canucks welcomed back their former captain Bo Horvat to Rogers Arena for the first time since his departure. The story going into this game was very much an off-the-ice story, with many speculating how exactly Vancouver fans would welcome their former leader back, after his controversial comments made about Vancouver during the Islanders playoff push last season.

Although there was a hand full of boos that were targeted towards Bo throughout the game, in large part Horvat’s reception was warm. Especially after the building witnessed Horvat’s tribute video on the jumbotron, and subsequently Horvat’s reaction to it.

As for the hockey game itself, things started rough for the Vancouver Canucks. The Islanders would net two goals before the halfway mark of the first frame, both coming off of powerplay opportunities gifted to them by the Canucks.

Both the Canucks and the Islanders developed a fair amount of chances for themselves in the opening frame. However, unfortunately for the Canucks, despite several quality chances in front of the visitor’s net, nothing would go for them in the first frame.

The Canucks first goal came at the tail end of the first five minutes of play in the second period. A powerplay opportunity gifted the Canucks a lot of time in the Islanders zone, and a down-on-one knee shot from Miller, off of a lengthy cross-ice pass from Elias Pettersson amounted to the Canucks’ first goal of the game.

The Canucks would continue to pressure after their first goal, significantly pulling ahead of the Islanders in the shots-on-net category for the first time in the game. Sadly though their momentum was tampered a little bit when the man of the evening, Bo Horvat scored his first goal against Vancouver in Rogers Arena, off the back of a Canucks turnover.

A few minutes later, however, the Canucks and Miller found themselves back in the spotlight. A gentle and well-placed centring pass from J.T. Miller in the corner of the Islanders’ end found a well-placed Brock Boeser in the slot, and the rest was history. The game is now 2-3 with every goal except Horvats, coming off of a powerplay opportunity for either team.

With this goal by Boeser, assisted by Miller and Quinn Hughes. The Canucks also officially filled the podium of league-wide NHL points leaders.

Just under eight minutes into period number three, the Canucks faced a scary moment on the ice as a deflected J.T. Miller slapshot from just below the top of the faceoff circle connected with Andrei Kuzmenko’s exposed face, sending him falling to the ice in visible pain. It was later learned that nothing was broken in this instance, and Kuzmenko has been able to play in games since, but it was immediately a scary scene nevertheless.

The Islanders remained ahead of the Canucks for nearly half of the period until Filip Hronek netted the game’s next powerplay goal, and the Canucks’ third of the night, bringing the scoreboard back to even at the 11:30 mark in the final frame. The game remained tied until the final buzzer, with overtime needed to decide the final results

The Canucks controlled play for the majority of the overtime period, and nearly at the exact halfway mark, they struck the killing blow. A brilliant move by Miller in the neutral zone to briefly fall back towards his own blueline sucked all three New York players in toward him. Quinn Hughes capitalized on this immediately by creating space with a rush toward the Islanders’ zone. Miller connected with Hughes via a stretch pass, and an all-alone Quinn Hughes made no mistake. 4-3 Canucks win.

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Game 17: November 16th vs. The Calgary Flames

The Canucks took a quick trip to Calgary after playing at home the night before, with Casey DeSmith taking over for Demko on what would otherwise be a back-to-back putting for the Canucks lead netminder.

The Canucks earned the first goal of the game, again off of a powerplay, making this their fourth consecutive regulation goal to come on the powerplay over the last two games. The goal in question was a laser beam one-knee one-timer from Pettersson, off of a Miller pass. A goal that was a near-perfect mirror to Millers’ one-timer assisted by Petey from the previous game.

Regrettably, this would be the last show of production from this Canucks team for the majority of the game. In the dying minutes of the first period, Calgary was breaking with speed resulting in a MacKenzie Weeger wrist shot cleanly beating DeSmith. This tied the game and would be the closing goal of the period.

The first half of the second period was inconsequential for either side. Calgary was beginning to pull ahead in the shots department, but neither side looked to be out of this contest just yet. Over halfway through the frame, however, the score finally changed. A sharp angle shot by the Flames’ Rasmus Andersson resulted in DeSmith attempting to make the save with his glove side shoulder. Unfortunately for DeSmith, the puck would squeak through behind him, sitting in front of the wide-open net for Dillon Dube to knock in.

In the final seconds of the second period, the Flames got a third goal of the game. With the Flames set up in the Canucks zone, a seemingly uncontested Noah Hanifin rush toward the Canucks net found DeSmith at a loss when the puck was lightly sent toward him on a sharp angle with speed. This put the Canucks down by two heading into the third period.

The final frame didn’t go much differently for the Canucks, before the halfway mark Jonathan Huberdeau found himself in the slot with the puck on his stick and looked to easily put it over the shoulder of a frozen DeSmith to inflate the Flames’ lead even further.

The Canucks did manage to put one more goal up before the Calgary domination would come to an end. With nine minutes left on the clock, a Myers snapshot from the point was skillfully tipped by Nils Höglander. This brought the Canucks within two and was Hög’s fourth goal on the season.

Unfortunately for the Canucks however, they remained outshot throughout the rest of the game and failed to develop similar chances of consequence. An empty net goal put the final nail in the coffin for the Canucks.

Although the team’s performance left much to be desired on Thursday night, at least individual players on the club still worked to maintain their league-leading production numbers.

Game 18: November 18th vs. The Seattle Kraken

After a tired outing on Thursday against the Calgary Flames, the Canucks looked to bounce back to their winning ways on Saturday night. The Seattle Kraken made the trip up the I-5 to play Vancouver. Andrei Kuzmenko was set to make his return to the line-up after taking a puck to the face on Wednesday night. Additionally, Akito Hirose drew into the lineup for Mark Friedman.

The goal scoring was opened by JT Miller on a tap-in goal that was quit frankly barely a goal. JT Miller swatted the puck towards the back of the net and Will Borgan made his best effort to knock it away. After a lengthy review, the goal was deemed legal and for a moment in time, Miller alone led the league in points.

The period ended with the Canucks being hemmed into their own zone for nearly two minutes without being able to get a change. Despite the challenging last couple of minutes, the Canucks left the first period up 1-0.

The second period was much more eventful. Jamie Oleksiak scored the second goal of Saturday’s contest. The Canucks got caught halfway through a line change and Oleksiak drilled the puck with a slap shot to tie the game at aces.

The next goal came from Jordan Eberle redirecting an Oliver Bjorkstrand shot. There was a long video review to determine if Eberle’s stick was above the crossbar or not. However, upon closer review, the goal was ruled good and the Kraken took the lead.

Quinn Hughes must’ve not been a fan of being behind JT Miller atop the league scoring race, as he decided to score himself a goal to tie the game at deuces.

Hughes tickled the rafters for his seventh of the season on a set play off the faceoff. For all those counting at home, JT got his 28th point on a goal in the first, and Hughes and Pettersson got their 28th on the tieing goal.

Yanni Gourd wanted to join the scoring festivities as well, around five minutes into the final frame he earned a cross-crease tap in right out of NHL 14. Matty Beniers scored next creating the biggest lead of the night during a four-on-four. Myers took a spill trying to receive the puck and the Kraken made no mistake to take advantage of the chaos.

Nils Höglander scored the third goal for the Canucks off an offensive onslaught with the goaltender pulled. This happened with less than ten seconds left, Höglander redirected a shot on the net and the puck fluttered in, breathing a moment of life into the Canuck’s chances of a comeback. Höglander is up to five goals now this season.

The Canucks had a desire to win like they have not had for the previous few years. The Canucks lined up uniquely off the draw and flew up the ice to try and score a tying goal with only seconds left.

Höglander, determined to be the hero in the final ten seconds put the puck over the net and out of play with a shot off the rush. But the Canucks weren’t ready to give up even after that. The Canucks lined up for an offensive zone draw with 5.9 seconds left and Hronek blasted a shot on net for one final look before time expired.

The Canucks lost their second game in a row for the first time this season, despite a nail-biting final few seconds. The Canucks did not give up in the dieing moments, instead, they put their heads down and nearly came back from a two-goal deficit to tie the game. But if ifs and buts were candy and nuts we’d all have a Merry Christmas. The Canucks tried but ultimately failed to complete the comeback. Despite the loss, the Canucks were still second in the West to end night Saturday.