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CANUCKS RECAP: The Penguin slayer strikes again

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Vancouver wins their third straight on the road after leading for most of the game.

NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Pittsburgh Penguins
Oct 16, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Vancouver Canucks right wing Brock Boeser (6) celebrates his game winning goal with center Bo Horvat (53) in overtime against the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG PAINTS Arena. Vancouver won 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Elias who?

(Just kidding, please come back soon Dekey Pete).

In the Vancouver Canucks (4-2) first game without Elias Pettersson, the team predictably scored less goals. However, it was the Canucks other young star who stole the show.

Just 34 seconds into overtime, Brock Boeser weaved his way through the neutral zone, before wiring a wrist shot past Casey DeSmith for the game-winner, giving the Canucks the 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins (2-1-2).

NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Pittsburgh Penguins
That flex though.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn’t a dominant show from the sophomore, but good players don’t need many opportunities to make an impact. Boeser proved that tonight and flashed that deadly wrist shot for the first time this season.

Travis Green will be happy with his team’s performance on the night, even though Ben Hutton and Jake Virtanen’s gaffe sent the game to overtime. The Canucks did a decent job of limiting Grade A chances, and that helped Anders Nilsson rip off his third straight win.

Here’s how it all happened.

1st Period

Nilsson looked like the Nilsson of old in the opening minutes of the game.

I mean, the Canucks went two games without giving up an early goal. Think this means we raise a banner when we get back to The Rog.

Aside from the goal the Canucks actually had a decent road start. They out shot the opposition 8-2 in the early going, and one snake-bitten Canuck FINALLY broke his 75-game goalless drought.

Can’t help but feel happy for Hutton on that one. Last year was a nightmare and no matter how this season goes, he won’t end the year goalless. Time to raise another banner?

Alex Edler has played heavy minutes for the Canucks this season, and he made a great play to keep the game tied late in the first. With Jake Guentzel going for an easy tap-in, Alex Edler came back on the rush to get his stick in on the play. He broke his stick doing so and the Canucks were scrambling, but another Swede came to the rescue. For an ineffective as Loui Eriksson has been, he made a great block on Sidney Crosby with Nilsson down and out.

Those game-saving plays allowed the Canucks to take the lead before the end of the period. Tim Schaller made a great pass to Brandon Sutter across the crease, and he buried it to give the Canucks the leads. It was Schaller’s second primary assist of the period, as he does his best to keep his spot in the lineup.

2nd Period

Gotta hand it to Nilsson. After allowing a goal on the first shot (and a McSoftie at that), he went right back to being a brick wall for the Canucks.

He made 11 saves in the third period, and showed off his reflexes on a chance from Patric Hornqvist. Nilsson stretched the pad to his left in a hurry after the puck deflected off of Hornqvist’s skate and right towards the yawning cage.

Casey DeSmith had his moments in the period as well, with his save coming off of a point blank chance from a falling Markus Granlund. DeSmith isn’t what you call a structured goalie, and he flopped in front of the Granlund chance.

This is how Sutter made him look when he made it 2-1 in the first.

Gaudette had been seldom used to this point in the game, playing a team-low 6:18. He finished with the lowest ice time among Canucks, playing only 8:22 overall.

3rd Period

Hutton epitomized, well, himself in this game.

Through two period Hutton had played great hockey. He was moving the puck well, scored, and he clanked a wrist shot off the crossbar early in the third.

Despite his solid game, it’s one bone-headed decision that’s going to stand out.

With four minutes to go in the game, Hutton pinched while Virtanen was skating the wrong direction with the puck. Both players got caught, and Erik Gudbranson was left defending Phil Kessel and Carl Hagelin on a 2-1. Hot Dog Phil threaded a great pass to Hagelin, who buried the shot with 4:14 left in the third.

Overall it was a good game for Hutton. He had the best scoring chance differential on the Canucks (11 for, six against), despite him and Stecher started about half their shifts in the defensive zone.

Interesting to see how Green deployed his pairings in this game. Lots of trust in Edler and Tanev, not so much in Pouliot and Stecher.

Overtime

Boeser does it again. The Penguin killer now has six goals in three career games against the Penguins, with two of them standing as game-winners.

Matt Murray might not have been in net, but you can bet he shuddered with Boeser flashbacks after Brock potted the OT winner.

After beating the Lightning, Panthers and Penguins, the Canucks take on the Jets to finish up the road trip on Thursday. The Jets are 9-1-0 in their last ten games against the Canucks after sweeping the season series last year.