Coming off a frustrating loss to the Nashville Predators a week previous, the Canucks know that they need to start piling up some wins this month in order to stay in the Western Conference playoff hunt. With Quinn Hughes out of the lineup, the defence was, shall we say, looking a little worrisome. Hughes two-way game is one of the reasons the Canucks are still in this thing as it is, so someone would need to bring a little more to the table last night and help fill that void. It’s kind of fitting that Oliver Ekman-Larsson would be that guy.
In the first meeting between these teams since the summer blockbuster which saw the Canucks send Loui Eriksson, Antoine Roussel and Jay Beagle to the desert for Ekman-Larsson and Conor Garland, both former Arizona Coyotes played a role in a 5-1 Canucks win last night. Ekman-Larsson set up three goals, while Garland had a beauty to open the scoring in the second, the first of what would be three Canucks goals in 2:22.
There was a lot to like about this game, as the Canucks, while showing some signs of rust after the layoff got goals from their best players, as one would expect in a game like this, and support from the back end that not only came from OEL but a surprising two assist night from Noah Juulsen, the first two points of his NHL career.
The Coyotes outshot the Canucks, but Thatcher Demko was solid in his first career victory over Arizona, only a Lawson Crouse goal spoiling his clean sheet in this one. The Canucks were dominant in the faceoff circle last night, winning 60% of the draws including going 4 for 4 short handed. The power play scored twice on three attempts, and the penalty kill, which has been getting better since Bruce Boudreau took over, was a perfect 5 for 5. It’s still the worst PK in the league, but it’s above the 70% mark for the first time in a long time. Baby steps and all that.
While the Elias Pettersson snipe was an absolute beaut, and another sign he’s getting back to normal, the highlight of the night was the fourth goal, and second one on the power play.
You’re a bad, bad man, JT Miller.
Also, this is the perfect example of how bad officiating has become in this sport.
OK pack it in folks, we have the worst penalty call of the entire season. Tyler Motte called for high sticking on this play. pic.twitter.com/Aaqjmi7Ryc— Wyatt Arndt (@TheStanchion) February 9, 2022
The Canucks are back at it tonight, as the New York Islanders are in town for the first time since the last game the Canucks played before the first COVID shutdown two years ago.
AROUND THE NHL
The Ottawa Senators built a four goal lead after forty minutes against Carolina, then hung on for dear life as the Hurricanes clawed back, but ran out of time in a 4-3 victory for the Sens.
Sidney Crosby’s second period PPG would be the winner as the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Boston Bruins 4-2. And to all of you who gushed about Brad Marchand because he made some snarky tweets over the last month, shame on you for forgetting he is, and always will be a giant baby and a horrid piece of garbage.
Brad Marchand gets heated with Tristian Jarry in the final minute of PIT/BOS tonight. pic.twitter.com/UbJghSP8oQ— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) February 9, 2022
The rat bastard got a well deserved match penalty and will be having a hearing for a possible suspension, but let’s just get this out of the way: they’re not gonna do shit to him because Bruins.
The Montreal Canadiens are historically bad, and their quest to get to double digits in wins this season is starting to look like it may not happen. The latest embarrassment was a 7-1 ass-kicking at the hands of a New Jersey Devils team that played without Jack Hughes (COVID protocol list). The Devils snapped a seven game losing streak in this one, while the Habs have one win in their last fourteen games.
Mark Scheifele’s first period PPG held up as the winner in a 2-0 Winnipeg Jets win over the Minnesota Wild. After Brad Marchand’s hearing, the DoPS is gonna have to have a chat with Marcus Foligno about why kneeing Adam Lowry in the head during a fight is bad.
The Edmonton Oilers hoped that their goaltending issues were a thing of the past with the return to the lineup of Mike Smith. But, like so many other things in Edmonton, their hopes and reality don’t quite mesh. Smith let in four as they were shutout by former Oiler Laurent Brossoit and the Vegas Golden Knights, 4-0.
On the women’s side, the quarter finals are set for Friday, and after a big 4-2 win by Canada over the USA, a favourable matchup against Sweden should ensure passage to the semifinals. The Americans will take on Czechia, the R.O.C. will battle the Swiss, and Finland, who got their first win of the tournament in a big 5-0 drubbing of the Russians, will take on the winner of Group B, Japan. The semifinals are set for Sunday and Monday, with the medal round games on Wednesday.
The men’s tournament is underway, with two games on the slate for today. The R.O.C. opened things with a 1-0 win over Switzerland, and the first upset of the tournament is brewing as Denmark leads Czechia 2-0 as of this writing.
Canada plays their first game tomorrow as part of a four game schedule, taking on Germany. Sweden will meet Latvia, Finland plays Slovakia and the USA will meet the host Chinese team. That one should be interesting. Canada’s next game will be Saturday against the Americans.