When this 50th Anniversary season started, we had but one simple request from the Vancouver Canucks. It didn’t even really matter if they made the playoffs (though we knew that they would get there eventually), we just wanted some entertaining hockey. We saw the start of it the previous seasons with the additions of Brock Boeser and Elias Pettersson, and with the emergence of Quinn Hughes as a legitimate NHL star in his rookie campaign, it would appear they heard us, loud and clear.
Are you having fun yet, because holy hell that is one fantastic ride they are taking us on right now.
There are all kinds of legitimate reasons why the Canucks should not be getting up this morning with a 2-0 series lead, but this is the beauty of the playoffs. The chance at glory brings out the best in players and teams, and while there’s still a long road, and it’s still a long shot at best, but this Vancouver Canucks team is crafting one of the best stories of the playoffs.
They’re not perfect. Hell, they might not have even made the playoffs had the pandemic not created the bsituation we’re in now, with hockey being played in the middle of the summer heat. There’s weaknesses on this team that can be exploited, and you don’t need to be a capologist to realize this team will have trouble trying to resign key players down the road.
None of that matters right now.
With the entire world turned upside down, the Vancouver Canucks want to go on a Stanley Cup run, and are just 14 wins away from doing it. The best part is, the hockey world is waking up to what’s going on out here, and realizing there’s a lot more to this team than Pettersson, Boeser and Hughes.
Bo Horvat has to be one of the frontrunners for the Conn Smythe trophy should they keep this roll going. He’s taken his typical strong two-way game and cranked it up a few notches, scoring highlight reel goals and carrying the team on his back. Jacob Markstrom has 5 straight wins, and is back into that season-long groove that kept the Canucks in the mix. The power play has absolutely punished St Louis for their game plan of trying to play heavy hockey, forcing hockey men all over to see that skill can defeat truculence. They’re getting inspired play from guys whose names were often uttered more as curse words than in reverence. Brandon Sutter and Loui Eriksson have been outstanding so far, especially in their penalty killing roles, and the emergence of guys like Tyler Motte and Zack MacEwan are showing depth that we didn’t realize we had,
There are concerns, though. I mean, let’s not kid ourselves: 2-0 is not 4-0 and this series against the team that won it all is far from over. Add in that the Canucks could be without Tyler Myers in Game 3 and that certainly puts pressure on a defensive core that’s been doing well to contain a pretty talented group of Blues players. Credit where credit is due, though. The Canucks defensive play is as good as it’s been all season, and they’ve done a fantastic job of blocking shots and keeping the Blues from getting quality chances.
Barring an upset in one of the other series, if the Canucks win this, they’ll have to go up against either Vegas or Colorado. That could bring this dreamlike run to a screeching halt, but honestly, I won’t be upset. They’ve given us what we wanted, and better things are coming in the future, friends. Let’s just enjoy this while it lasts.
WHAT THE TWEET?
Bo Horvat became the third player in @Canucks history to record a multi-goal game in two or more consecutive contests, joining Geoff Courtnall (2 GP in 1994) and Cliff Ronning (2 GP in 1992). #NHLStats #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/aKZWm299Sg— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) August 15, 2020
Quinn Hughes assisted on Bo Horvat's game-winning goal at 5:55 of overtime to give the @Canucks a 2-0 series lead.— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) August 15, 2020
Hughes became the sixth rookie defenseman in NHL history to record a point in five or more consecutive playoff games. #NHLStats #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/4Pohd2EXeq
Bo Horvat has now been on the ice for 12 goals for and only 3 against during the 2019-20 postseason.— CanucksArmy (@CanucksArmy) August 14, 2020
Bo Horvat making like Mario Lemieux against the North Stars.— Derrick O'Keefe (@derrickokeefe) August 14, 2020
(A very normal thing I expected to be typing in August.) #Canucks
The Vancouver #Canucks have seven players averaging at least 1 point per game or more in the playoffs(6 games)— Brayden Ursel (@bkursel23) August 15, 2020
1. Bo Horvat - 6G 2A
2. Quinn Hughes - 1G 7A
3. Elias Pettersson - 3G 4A
4. Brock Boeser - 2G 5A
5. J.T. Miller - 2G 4A
6. Tanner Pearson - 3G 3A
7. Chris Tanev - 1G 5A
LAST NIGHT’S ACTION:
NEW YORK ISLANDERS 5 WASHINGTON CAPITALS 2 (New York leads series 2-0)
Much like the St Louis Blues, the Washington Capitals find themselves in a 2-0 series hole as the 2018 Champs seem to be mirroring last year’s winners. They also played poorly at best through the Round Robin, and even with a 2 goal performance from Alexander Ovechkin, are struggling to find an answer for a hungry New York Islanders squad.
MONTREAL CANADIENS 5 PHILADELPHIA FLYERS 0 (Series tied 1-1)p
While it’s not a shock that the Canadiens would come out and play a great game after losing coach Claude Julien for the foreseeable future, but who saw this coming? A complete and utter domination of one of the NHL’s best teams by the bottom seed in the playoffs. Alain Vigneault was complaining about Kirk Muller putting the Habs best players out on a power play with the game already well in hand, but we know that’s just posturing and trying to send a message to his own team.
COLORADO AVALANCHE 3 ARIZONA COYOTES 2 (Coloryado leads series 2-0)
After getting their doors blown off in Game One, the ‘Yotes responded with a much better performance in Game Two, outshooting the Avs and showing that they can give them a series. That wasn’t enough though, as a late 3rd period goal from Andre Burakovsky sealed the deal. Former Canuck Michael Grabner had his 3rd of the playoffs for Arizona.
CALGARY FLAMES 2 DALLAS STARS 0- (Calgary leads series 2-1)
After a sub par performance in Game 2 there was speculation that the Flames would swap Cam Talbot for David Rittich. They didn’t, and are probably pretty happy as he straight up stole a win for them last night. Talbot stopped 35 Dallas shots including 16 in the middle frame for the shutout.