This is the third line's world and we're all just living in it.
On Thursday night, the third line took center stage in a dominating 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Brad Richardson opened the scoring and added another in the second period while Shawn Matthias also scored during the middle period.
In net, Eddie Lack became the first Canucks goaltender in franchise history to deliver a shutout in Pittsburgh, stopping 21 shots to earn his second win of the year and the fifth shutout of his career. We all have to thank Lack's mom, who clearly was the reason behind his clutch performance.
BEST. MOM. EVER.
After Eddie Lack was forced to make a quick save off the opening face-off, the two sides went back and forth without much need for a whistle as there was plenty of puck movement, but only a couple of shots to show for it.
Midway through the first period, the Canucks opened the scoring on just their second shot of the game. Shawn Matthias wrapped around the back of the net, finding Brad Richardson in front of the net for the one-timer. The goal was Richardson's fifth of the year and Matthias' fifth point in as many games.
Matthias started the play by hustling to the puck, beating out 3 to the boards and coming up with possession of the puck. Richardson did a good job positioning himself perfectly for the goal, and just like that, the Canucks had a 1-0 lead.
The Penguins would be the first to go to the power play as Alex Edler was sent off for slashing. The Canucks caught a lucky break during the power play as Sidney Crosby missed a wide open net on a rebound attempt as the puck went off the post. What's that saying? Gotta be good to be lucky and lucky to be good. That was certainly the case here.
SIDNEY CROSBY, THE GOLDEN POST— CanucksArmy (@CanucksArmy) December 5, 2014
The Canucks would then go to the power play as Blake Comeau was called for boarding as he laid a dangerous hit on Tanev along the glass. One of our fellow writers was salty about it, too.
Saw a great example of Malkin's leadership there. He obviously showed Comeau game film this am on how to drill Canuck dmen from behind— BILL BRASKY (@KentGBasky) December 5, 2014
Vancouver's power play has been red hot as of late, going 4-for-7 in their last two games. On the power play, Eddie Lack had to come up with a big stop as Sutter found himself in all alone during a power play for the Canucks that left something to be desired.
Richardson almost came up with his second goal of the period as the final seconds ticked away, but was stopped twice by the pad of Thomas Greiss. After 20 minutes, the Canucks held a 1-0 lead, which was promising considering their 11-2 record this year when scoring first.
After his first period assist, Shawn Matthias almost added a goal of his own early in the second period, but the shot went off the post. Matthias looked up in disbelief after he had half the net open for what should've been an easy tip-in goal off a centering pass from Linden Vey.
Vancouver would head back to the power play as Steve Downie tried to clear the puck, but was hit with the delay of game penalty instead. Daniel Sedin had a fantastic look right in front of the net early in the advantage off a pass from Henrik, but missed wide. Daniel's shot was the best chance during the power play as the game remained 1-0 in favor of the Canucks.
Vancouver added to their lead in the second period as Shawn Matthias tipped in a pass in front of the net from Brad Richardson, a mirror image of the Canucks' first goal. Penguins fans were not pleased with the goal as just before the goal, Ryan Stanton delivered a punishing hit on Patrick Hornqvist in the neutral zone. Hornqvist would immediately head off the ice to the dressing room and would not return for the rest of the night.
Shawn Matthias please play like this forever— Rhys Jessop (@Thats_Offside) December 5, 2014
Moments later, Bo Horvat was on the wrong end of another big hit, this time from Blake Comeau who leveled Horvat after his stick was broken at the blue line.
The third line magic continued as Jannik Hansen came in and knocked the puck away from Greiss, finding Brad Richardson who rushed in to tap in his second goal of the night, this time with the Canucks shorthanded after a penalty for too many men on the ice. After the goal, Greiss went to the bench to get a new stick. Don't blame yourself, blame your stick. That's the key to being a successful goalie in this league, obviously.
All third line, all game. No one else gets any ice time.— Pass it to Bulis (@passittobulis) December 5, 2014
The Canucks completely dominated the second period, adding two goals to their lead while outshooting the Penguins 12-5. It took 12 minutes for the Penguins to register their first shot of the period.
As expected, the Canucks went to a more defensive approach as they took a 3-0 lead into the third period. Despite controlling the puck more and getting a few extra shots on net than they had been, Eddie Lack came ready to play, stopping everything that came his way.
Alex Edler would make his third trip to the penalty box with just over six minutes to go in the game. The Canucks continued their stellar penalty killing, allowing just one shot on the power play as the fans started to let their team have it. Heading into tonight, the Penguins were atop the league on the power play at 30.8 percent. Tonight however, Pittsburgh mustered just two shots on three power plays.
It was an uneventful period as the Canucks had already done all they needed to while the Penguins appeared to have no sense of urgency, almost as if they were the ones with a 3-0 lead.
Next up for the Canucks
The Canucks continue their marathon of a road trip with back-to-back games this weekend. First up will be Toronto on Saturday, followed by Ottawa on Sunday, so we'll get to see how Lack follows up the gem he delivered tonight.