After scoring just four goals in their last three games, the Canucks were looking to bust out heading into last night’s contest against the New York Rangers. No easy task, as they were taking on one of the best teams thus far in the 2021-22 NHL season, and it looked like another frustrating night for the Canucks as they found themselves down 2-0 after forty minutes on the strength of two Rangers PP goals.
J.T. Miller had seen enough, obviously, and partnered with Elias Pettersson and Conor Garland, the line was able to break down New York’s coverage, with Miller tapping home a perfect pass from Garland to draw within one.
Then it was another Canuck slumpbuster as Vasily Podkolzin sniped the top corner on Igor Shesterkin to tie it up, and in OT Miller was sent in alone by Quinn Hughes. Shesterkin was able to make the save, but Miller gathered the rebound behind the net, tucking it in on the wrap-around to give the Canucks their first home-ice win of the season.
Podkolzin made the most of his limited ice time last night, with the tying goal and six hits in just over seven minutes of ice time. Solid performances from Miller, Garland, another good night from the defence and a prototypical Thatcher Demko performance finally translated into a win for the Canucks.
Special teams continue to be an issue, though killing off a 5 on 3 by the Rangers late in the third should be a real confidence booster. They still gave up two goals on the PK, but it did get better when it mattered most. The power play going 0 for 6 was extremely frustrating and at times painful to watch. The lack of confidence and cohesion of the first unit in particular is something that needs to be sorted out and soon, because it will continue to cost them games down the road.
AROUND THE NHL
Fresh off the news they’ll be without William Karlsson for up to six weeks, the Vegas Golden Knights went into Toronto and got rolled by the Leafs, dropping a 4-0 decision at Scotiabank Arena last night. Auston Matthews scored twice, and Jack Campbell recorded the shutout as the Leafs won their 3rd straight, leapfrogging Columbus and Detroit to move into a wild card slot in the Eastern Conference.
Jake Allen stopped all 22 Detroit Red Wings shots he faced, and Nick Suzuki’s first of the year held up as the winner as Montreal shutout the Wings 3-0. A scary moment in this one as Jonathan Drouin was rushed to hospital after getting hit in the head by a puck.
Arizona’s season-starting losing streak has reached ten games now as they dropped another one, 3-0 to the Philadelphia Flyers. Carter Hart had the shutout in this one as the Flyers moved to 5-2-1 on the season. You have to wonder if changes will be coming in the desert as they hit double digits on this streak.
Kirill Kaprizov’s first of the year in OT salvaged a potential embarrassment for the Minnesota Wild in a 5-4 win over Ottawa last night. The Wild led 3-1 after the first, but found themselves trailing 4-3 less than 8 minutes into the second.
Speaking of salvaging wins, the Winnipeg Jets coughed up a 3-1 lead to Dallas before eventually emerging triumphant in Uncle Gary’s Super Awesome Trick Shot Competition in a 4-3 win over the Stars. Braden Holtby with the loss in goal for this one.
Speaking of former Canucks goalies who lost last night, Jacob Markstrom got beat by Matt Duchene in OT as the Nashville Predators won 3-2, ending Calgary’s six game winning streak.
Ryan Getzlaf’s first of the year was the winner as Anaheim moved to 4-3-3 with a 4-0 win over the New Jersey Devils. Getzlaf had a three point night, and John Gibson stopped all 28 Devils shots in this one.
Tomas Hertl had two goals and a helper en route to a 5-3 San Jose Sharks win over the Buffalo Sabres. The Sharks are now 6-3-0, just like everyone predicted. Jeff Skinner scored twice for Buffalo, and James Reimer picked up the 25 save win in what is turning into a pretty good comeback story for him.
In other news, this upcoming Olympic Men’s hockey tournament at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics is keeping the circus theme rolling:
The issue of Chinese participation in the men’s Olympic tournament in Beijing has apparently been settled. @IIHFHockey president Luc Tardif announced yesterday the Chinese team will not be removed from the competition, despite concerns about its’ ability to compete.— Gord Miller (@GMillerTSN) November 3, 2021
In tonight’s action, Nashville are in Edmonton to take on the Oilers... Carolina puts their undefeated record on the line against Chicago... The struggling Avalanche, who have placed Cale Makar on the IR, host Columbus, and St Louis is in Los Angeles to take on the Kings.