Comeback Canucks, How Vancouver’s Ability to Return From the Dead Makes Them Invincible

By: Brayden Fengler / May 10, 2024  

Not once, but twice in these Stanley Cup playoffs have the Canucks been able to battle back from what looked to have been a game already etched in stone. Most recently in Wednesday night’s Game 1 match-up against the Edmonton Oilers, the Canucks did the impossible and crawled back from a 4-1 Oilers lead to win 5-4.

This is the second time that this degree of magic has happened in the playoffs for the Canucks, and it begs the question of how repeatable this is for the Vancouver.

A Team Effort Comeback for Vancouver

Wednesday night’s game one win over the Edmonton Oilers was a comeback victory that took the entire squad to complete. All five goals scored by the Canucks were by different individual players.

This entire Canucks team knows by now that just because they’re down, it doesn’t mean they’re out. Because the weather of clutch goals can be spread throughout the team, there is no added stress on any one or two individual players that need to come through for their team “or else”.

This division of critical moment goal-scoring amongst the Canucks makes them hard to defend when their backs are up against the wall.

If Edmonton is down by a number of goals, who do you think they are trying to give the puck to? Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, or a cardboard cut-out of Zack Hyman positioned strategically beside the net. Who are the Canucks trying to give the puck to in similar situations? Well, that’s for the opposing team to find out once the puck is already in the back of the net.

All four of the Canucks come from behind goals last night were scored off of a team effort, and executed by players who were in the right place at the right time, regardless of what name or number was on their back.

Elias Lindholm’s 4-2 goal was a lucky finish, but the result of a centering pass that found its way into the net was made possible by heavy pressure in the Oiler’s zone beforehand. The next goal from J.T. Miller, a beautiful deflection off of a Brock Boeser pass was an example of the top line executing its skill when it was needed most.

Then to finish off the comeback defenceman Nikita Zadorov put his thundering slapshot to use sending an uninterrupted clapper past Jeff Skinner from the blueline. Then lastly, the workhorse in Conor Garland took a run from the neutral zone and did it all himself to send a sneaky one past the Edmonton goalie.

It’s one thing to have goal-scoring diversity throughout the normal flow of a close game, but it’s another weapon altogether to be able to rely on it when a team’s chips are down.

Star Power Can Do It To

Although Game 1 against Edmonton was an argument for the ability of Canucks from across the board to contribute important goals, the Canucks have already shown in this playoffs that key members of the team can steal a game as well.

There is no better example of this than Game 4 against Nashville in Round 1. In a game that the Canucks were losing by multiple goals, a game that could’ve evened the series at two a side, Brock Boeser had other plans.

Boeser scored the game’s opener, but after, Nashville scored one goal in each of the three periods, and with about a quarter of the final frame left to play it looked like it was all over.

Then in the span of just over two minutes, Boeser took centre stage, netting two goals while the Canucks had an empty net. He sent the game to overtime where Lindholm walked away with the GWG.

This game was a strong example of the Canucks’ stars – like Boeser – being able to have themselves a night and find all the right places at all the right times. And like the Edmonton game, this also demonstrated the team’s ability to stay cool under pressure with a mountain of goals to climb.

Boeser was the one who scored both late third-period goals, but the Canucks had to remain calm and collected with an empty net to make both third-period goals happen.

Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

The Canucks currently have five playoff wins to their name in this postseason campaign. In three of those wins they were required to come from behind, and in two of those three wins the goal differential was 2+ that they came back from.

The Canucks had 13 come-from-behind victories in the regular season with three being 2+ goal differential comeback wins and one being a 3+ come-from-behind win.

They ranked far from the top in this category, but this is in part due to the virtue of their overall success, as the majority of the games they won this season, were controlled from the start by the Canucks without the need for a comeback.

The Canucks have never the less shown that come playoff time, they aren’t shaken by the notion of having less than overwhelming control of each game. They can play and win quite literally just as well from behind as when they are holding a lead. The benefits of this are huge the more the pressure mounts in the postseason.

To win it all you need to be a team that can take a beating and get back up and sometimes that can’t wait until the next game, it needs to happen in the same 60 minutes of hockey that have been beating you down. The Canucks are a team that can take their licks with a smile and still walk out on top. This makes them dangerous against Edmonton and anyone beyond them.