Hey everybody, Luke here with my first game recap of the year. We're three games into the season and your Vancouver Canucks have pulled yet another victory out of their back pocket!
Going into this game, the main narrative shifted from the Canucks hosting one of the hottest teams in the NHL to Ryan Miller missing this mornings practice due to feeling "a little tight" and Jack Skille replacing Jake Virtanen on a line with Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi.
When it became clear Miller wasn't an option, Matt Hewitt from the UBC Thunderbirds got a phone call to backup Jacob Markstrom and likely sit on the edge of his seat for 60 minutes.
While it's always entertaining to see teams pull emergency goalies out of the woodwork in these situations, I'm curious to see what these guys could do in a worst case scenario. Thankfully, we didn't have to find out tonight.
The Canucks came into this game hoping to measure up with one of the best teams in the NHL and started off strong, outshooting the Blues 5 to 1 in the first half of the opening period. Ben Hutton continues to show his offensive instincts with a nice backhand with traffic and good vision all around the ice.
While Jack Skille replaced Jake Virtanen to play his first game of the season in the blue and green, there was a moment of concern after he blocked a hard shot from Alex Pietrangelo on the inside of his leg. While he appeared to be in some discomfort on the bench, he stayed in the game.
With 6:10 left in the period, Luca Sbisa appeared to have given the Canucks their first lead of the season. Unfortunately, the call on the ice was overturned due to a distinctive kicking motion by Sbisa while going hard to the net.
Two minutes later, Canuck fans experienced a collective moment of panic when Bo Horvat collapsed to the ice. Alex Steen got away with a sneaky cross check to Bo's ribs. As you can see, he was not amused.
I believe, and I'm no doctor, but I believe Bo Horvat says "Are you ducking bidding fees? Come on, man!"— Wyatt Arndt (@TheStanchion) October 19, 2016
Ebay ends friendships, folks. pic.twitter.com/t6UJ80bzwL
The first period provided the Canucks with two power plays but they continued their streak of failing to score with the man advantage this season. You can see they're looking to utilize Philip Larsen's heavy shot and while it is looking dangerous, he still hasn't found the back of the net.
There were some great scoring opportunities for the Canucks in the first half of the period. Granlund had an open net chance and Horvat beat Jake Allen after a strong inside outside move but both found the post instead.
While the Sedins and Loui Eriksson showed more of what's to come with some high calibre passing, I'm really liking the look of Hansen and Sutter both on the penalty kill and on even. They're showing some real chemistry and continue to generate a lot of nice scoring chances with Markus Granlund.
The Sedin's almost opened the scoring just past the halfway mark of the game after making a few nice passes to set Henrik up on the doorstep. However, Jake Allen made the save and a few seconds later, Alexander Steen sent Vladamir Tarsenko up the ice on two on one opportunity. With Erik Gudbranson covering the pass, Tarasenko made no mistake and beat Jacob Markstrom short side for the first goal of the game.
Brendan Gaunce really seems to be taking the fourth line role seriously and was throwing his weight around this game. It's great to see him back checking and taking on the role so effectively with two vets like Alexandre Burrows and Dorsett.
The first line had a few more chances near the end of the second period but it ended with the Canucks trailing the opposition once more.
The Canucks kicked off the third period with a nice chance for Markus Granlund in front of the net but the rest of their chances were limited to long shots from the outside. After a number of failed chances by Vancouver to clear the zone, St Louis almost had another goal after Scottie Upshall spun away from the boards and fired a quick shot on net. Luckily, Markstrom caught it under his pad to make the save.
Brandon Sutter and Janik Hansen showed more of their developing chemistry after a strong shift ended with Sutters attempted wrap around ended up drawing a penalty. While Vancouver failed to score, we saw Bo Horvat play some power play time and I'd love to see more of this second unit to see what they can do.
Jacob Markstrom might have made the save of the game without even knowing it when Nail Yakupov caught him looking the other way with just ten minutes left in the game. Despite the opportunity, Markstrom's positioning paid off and the shot went off his right pad.
Which brings us to the pinnacle moment of the game for Canuck fans. With 2:55 left in the game, the Canucks once again found a a way. After receiving a pass from Sven Baertschi, Erik Gudbranson put a quick shot on net and future captain Bo Horvat got the home crowd on their feet when he tucked away the rebound. Also, I agree with this tweet, you gotta love seeing that kind of passion from a player.
Despite St Louis turning up the pressure in the dying minutes of the game, Vancouver made it through to the other side and brought us to a familiar sight. Overtime.
Jacob Markstrom made a number of saves to keep his team in the game and started of the play that won it. Despite Daniel Sedin being on the ice for the entire extra period, Markstrom dropped for the puck for Chris Tanev to begin his rush.
After entering the zone, Daniel received a pass from Tanev and sent the puck back across to find Henrik guiding it to the net.
The Tanman can. pic.twitter.com/4pCpb4Gg81— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) October 19, 2016
All in all, I couldn't ask for a better game to be writing about. It was a ton of fun to watch and a ton of fun to write about.
Side Note: Bo Horvat's parents have been in the crowd for all three of these come back wins. I'm not saying we should get them to move to Vancouver... but they should probably play it safe and move to Vancouver if things change when they aren't here on Thursday.