Last year, the Canucks mustered a mere 10 goals in 7 preseason games. They’ve matched that total in the past two games against the Edmonton Oilers. Three things that the Canucks needed to change from the past few years were getting more balanced scoring, more offence from the defence and getting the power play going again. They ticked all those boxes off last night in an impressive 6-1 win in Edmonton.
Brogan Rafferty has been one of the pleasant surprises of training camp, and he had another solid night, this time getting the goal parade started early in the first.
The Oilers would tie it shortly after that, but late in the period, well... this happened.
Hands up if you had a Tim Schaller and Jay Beagle 2 on 1 ending this way? Liars, the lot of you! We’ve knocked these guys as much as anyone, and deservedly so. But that’s a hell of a play, and if they could bring that even semi-consistently, we’d be singing their praises.
On to the 2nd period now, and the Oilers start getting themselves into penalty trouble. In the past couple seasons, this wouldn’t have been an issue a lot of the time, but last night things began to click, and we were treated to this Bo Horvat dish to a wide open Sven Baertschi beauty to give the Canucks a 3-1 lead.
Even when the Canucks were getting PP points, it was often the first unit doing so. Tonight, the second unit stepped up and gave us this one from another Utica Comets player having a strong camp; Lukas Jacek.
And yes we see you, Loui Eriksson. He may not be dominating, but if he can provide the kind of consistency he’s shown in the preseason, we won’t be having many discussions about where he should be playing and the size of his contract.
On to the 3rd period now, and more scoring from the Canucks. After that sweet sauce set up, how about a ridiculous snipe from Our Captain? You got it!
One of the guys who has had a spotlight trained on him this preseason has been Adam Gaudette. While he’s been making strides, the goal scoring the Canucks thought they were getting in him simply hasn’t materialized. It’s been weighing on him for sure, as he’s produced at every level except the one that really matters, and that’s why you get this kind of a celly in a blowout preseason game. It’s a huge load off his back, and maybe he’s gonna turn the corner here.
Jacob Markstrom had a great night, stopping 26 of 27 shots, looking very much like he did last season. Yes, this was a preseason game against a team missing two of the finest players in the NHL. They still put up 6 with a compliment of AHL’ers in their own lineup, and 4 of them against NHL goaltending. I am not gonna run into the streets screaming that the dark times are over, but there’s been some encouraging signs so far this preseason. If the Canucks can keep the offence coming, play better than they have the last few years on the back end, get at least similar goaltending to last season and stay healthy, we may be looking at a playoff team. Yeah, it’s scary to me too. We’ve been hurt before so it’s not something we’re gonna rush into. But having hope again feels pretty damn good.
"I've been feeling great all camp." Sven Baertschi discusses his tally and praises Bo Horvat and his playmaking ability. pic.twitter.com/Kdwm450Pqy— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) September 20, 2019
It’s a day off for the Canucks, and there’s likely more cuts to come as they pare the lineup down with the regular season fast approaching. Next up are the Los Angeles Kings in a game that will be played in Salt Lake City, Utah on Saturday. We’ll keep you covered with any news today, and have a preview of Saturday’s contest tomorrow morning.