Whether you’re reading this on Thursday night or Friday morning, why don’t you end (or start) your day with some optimism?
In a game where the Canucks were missing Brock Boeser and Elias Pettersson up front, it was easier to pay attention to a guy like Adam Gaudette. The rookie, in his eleventh NHL game, played one of his best games in the NHL so far.
For Gaudette, it was all about the little things. That’s great news for Loui Eriksson, who doesn’t have to worry about the little things anymore. Let Eriksson go back to being good old Uncle Loui. You know the kids will be jacked when Uncle Loui finally buries one (spoiler, tonight was not the night).
From this writer’s point of view, Gaudette was the most noticeable Canuck tonight. He was great in the faceoff circle, used his speed to create turnovers, and registered his first NHL point. His line with Darren Archibald and Nikolay Goldobin was used extensively in the offensive zone, but they ended up being the Canucks best line in the game despite being deployed least among the four forward trios.
Credit that to Little Things Gaudette. More games like this, and he won’t be going back to the AHL when Jay Beagle returns.
Little Things Uncle Loui wasn’t so subtle in the first period. He ended up in the sin bin early after he got caught for tripping. The Canucks we’re able to kill off the penalty, as their penalty kill continues to limit chances even without Jay Beagle and Chris Tanev.
Later in the period, Uncle Loui got his best chance of the game. In a fast period that didn’t have a ton of Grade A scoring chances, Bo Horvat ended up on a 2-1 with Eriksson. Horvat fed Eriksson the pass, but Darcy Kuemper slid across his crease to make the best save of the period.
great sauce from Bo, he's trying to make it happen for Littlethinger pic.twitter.com/kv3KJGt8yH— Jason Botchford (@botchford) October 26, 2018
With Boeser, Pettersson and Edler out of the lineup, the Canucks top power play unit was completely revamped. The unit included Horvat, Uncle Loui, Brendan Leipsic, Nikolay Goldobin and Derrick Pouliot. They looked good on their first attempt, and Pouliot registered the best chance on a slapshot that rang off the post.
Keeping Pouliot on the power play could work as a long-term option for the Canucks, with Edler expected out long-term. He flashed better mobility and quicker decision making, compared to Edler to tends to hold onto the puck longer.
Alex Goligoski or Brent Burns?
Goligoski’s dangles and backhander past Nilsson gave the ‘Yotes a 1-0 lead. How did y’all like Michael Del Zotto on that one?
The Canucks made us forget about that MDZ gaffe barely a minute later. Adam Gaudette won a faceoff in his own end, and Darren Archibald tipped home a Troy Stecher wrister to tie the game up at one.
And you groaned when the Canucks iced a “second line” of Archibald, Gaudette and Goldobin...
Hard to imagine that the Hockey Gaud himself could be a little things type of guy, but every shift in this game, he made something happen. In particular, Gaudette did a great job of creating turnovers with his speed.
On one second period play, Gaudette pressured Oliver Ekman-Larsson in the corner while he had possession. Gaudette created a turnover, and centered a pass that just missed Archibald.
Things got a little rough in the second period, starting with Antoine Roussel doing his best to remind us of Alex Burrows. He got tangled up with Lawson Crouse, who dropped the gloves with an unwilling Roussel.
I can imagine most won’t like what transpired next. After turtling against Crouse, Roussel randomly gives it to Clayton Keller.
A brouhaha ensued, with Roussel and Crouse both in the middle of things again. Both received ten minute misconducts on the play.
Don’t know if Keller was rattled by the Roussel interrogation, but he attempted this on/skated into Erik Gudbranson.
Well... Clayton Keller TRIED to hit Erik Gudbranson pic.twitter.com/QrA8gx1Qw8— Sportsnet 650 (@Sportsnet650) October 26, 2018
The second period ended 1-1, with the shots knotted up at 19-19.
Remember that talk about Pouliot being a solid option on the power play? Yeah, maybe he should stay solely on the power play.
Pouliot’s terrible turnover to the Coyotes best player meant that the Canucks were playing from behind early in the third.
Damn, Pouliot even made MDZ look good on that one. Now all I can think about is Pouliot being scratched while MDZ takes over power play duties...
The Canucks registered some chances in a fast paced period, and there were some missed chances as well.
Unreal pass by Horvat and once again Loui isn't ready for it— Taj (@taj1944) October 26, 2018
Little Things Gaudette did his best to help the Canucks by drawing a penalty, but what transpired on the following faceoff was not a Mona Lisa.
Felt bad for Pouliot here. He did make a play on the puck, but he had no reinforcements (while shorthanded no less) and Brad Richardson buried the shorthanded chance past Nilsson to give the Coyotes as 3-1 lead.
There wasn’t too much pushback after the 3-1 shorty, and the Coyotes buried another shorthanded market with the net empty to seal the 4-1 win.
The score aside, this was actually one of the Canucks better games of the season. It was a rare matchup where they were on the winning side of the shots and scoring chance battle, and they did it on the second night of back-to backs with a depleted lineup.
Here’s what Gaudette had to say after his stellar game.
"It's good to get the first one, it's something in the back of your mind." @Hockey_Gaud comments on getting his first career NHL point and his performance in the faceoff circle. pic.twitter.com/tkwdcXBESF— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) October 26, 2018
Poker phenom Daniel Negreanu placed this sweet bet on Thursday night. Damn, where can I get in on this?
Just bet even money Arizona would have more points by the end of the NHL season than Vancouver. Which side do you like?— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) October 26, 2018