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Nucks Misconduct Roundtable: Things Went Better Than Expected Edition

A seemingly impossible quest turns out nearly perfect for the Canucks as their march from the basement to the playoffs continues.

NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Dallas Stars Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

It’s time for another edition of the Nucks Misconduct Roundtable. We get our writers together and ask them a number of questions about the state of this team we’ve been cursed to follow. Sometimes they play it straight, sometimes it’s Westy and Jimmi, but you’ll always get the unvarnished opinions on the Canucks here.

Vancouver Canucks v Colorado Avalanche Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

1. Well, I know from looking back at last week’s edition, none of us came close to calling what the Canucks were able to do this week. Let’s break down what we liked/didn’t like about each game starting with the 3-1 win over the NHL’s best team, the Colorado Avalanche.

Westy - I wouldn’t call it the perfect road game considering the amount of penalties this team took, but it was close. Forwards coming back and picking pockets, Halak remembering to stop pucks and a PK that was able to stop the Avs 4 out of 5 times. Petey to Brock was brought out of retirement, Miller got a garbage goal and Bo got another empty net goal.

jimmi - It was the perfect road game, imperfectly executed against the Avs and their duly-appointed on-ice officials. The reffing was pro-typical NHL vs the world Nucks. Are the Nucks 5 times dirtier than the Avs? Emm... no. Halak stood tall even if he was backed into his own net.

The key to victory was the unheard-of Nucks Zero-Giveaway policy. Not a single fedling miffler - for the entire game. We knew it was theoretically possible. Ok, we didn’t even know that. It was a generational moment - unlikely to be seen again this century. If not seeing something we don’t want to see is a thing.

Beggsy - This team has been hard to figure out over the last week and a half. They looked like a true bottom-feeder after losses against Detroit, Calgary and Buffalo. Then, they earn five of six points in a tough road trip.

Against Colorado, I think they got better as the game went on. It essentially felt like a coin-flip game, which says a lot about how the Canucks battled against the best home team in the NHL. Pettersson, Boeser and Horvat has their first solid game together as a trio that night, and it’s fitting that they opened the scoring.

Kent- Part of the deal with Jaroslav Halak this season is that it’s been hard to lay all of the blame at his feet for his performances when the team in front of him has put in some dreadful efforts. So I really liked that the Canucks went into this game determined to fight for him, and they didn’t get buried in shots against, held their own against a very good Avs squad and made the most of their opportunities. They kept it together despite some sketchy af officiating (yeah, I said it), and came out with a win that few can claim this season. I’d say that’s in the top 3 of their finest games all season long, if not the best.

NHL: MAR 24 Canucks at Wild

2. Next up was a heartbreaking 3-2 OT loss in Minnesota. Positives and negatives, please.

Westy - This game definitely had playoff feel to it. It was almost like the Wild had a grudge to settle. Lots of hitting and the Wild were very aggressive on the forecheck. The pairing of Myers and OEL are big but not very mobile against a cycling team like Minnesota and so they got burned on the 1st goal. Each team scored a goal off a faceoff win and in the end, Petey and Miller stayed out too long on a shift in O/T and the Wild socred.

jimmi - Big Bruising Boy Hockey. Not our game. But it is Schenn’s game. Minni’s game plan was to intimidate and frighten the Nucks, but just a few seconds after puck drop, Schenn dropped Flamingo.

That was key to getting the almost victory. Despite arriving in Minni at 4AM after dealing the league’s leading team a crushing defeat, the Nucks came back to tie late in game. Didn’t quite have the legs left to win in OT. But if that JT shot was just a silly millimeter more inside the post, would have made a comeback story for the ages. The age of the internet, so 10 minutes or so.

Beggsy - This game had a lot of weird ebbs and flows to it, but credit to the Canucks for hanging on.

Seriously though, they were hanging on in the final minutes of the game.

Courtesy of Natural Stat Trick.

I know the big storyline out of this game was JT Miller’s lack of a backcheck on the Eriksson Ek OT winner, but overall he was the guy driving the bus for the Canucks. His PP goal in the third helped them earn a much needed point and of course, he was inches away from winning it in overtime as well.

Kent- Again, kudos to the schedule maker for this one. The fact that they were able to get a point out of this was almost as impressive as the win the night before. They were tired as hell, and looked it, and while I don’t think anyone would have blinked if they had mailed this one in to an extent, they certainly showed the effort even if the legs weren’t there. Also, can I just say while I understand it’s not a home game, and hardly the most important thing here, for the three stars all to be Wild players in this one, and especially Talbot getting the third star after Thatcher Demko stopped 26 of his 33 saves in the final two periods is absolutely comical. Minnesota might have been the better team on the night, but they got lucky to get that second point and they know it. And finally, those officials are absolutely gutless for not calling an instigator penalty at the very least on Marcus Foligno, who stepped onto the ice and made a bee-line for Luke Schenn, dropping the gloves first. Between that and their constant jabs at Demko, they’re an easy team to hate.

Vancouver Canucks v Dallas Stars Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images

3. And then the 4-1 win in Dallas on Saturday night, if you would be so kind?

Westy - After 10 games this season, I might have bet against Petey getting 20 goals this year. Under Bruce and now his wrist feels better, he has the ability to revert to the Petey we all love. The one-timer on the PP was sweet, but the second goal through the defenceman old forward, hit the cross bar and in was even better. The hero of the game was some goalie named Demko. Can you believe that he makes less then $6 million a year for the next 4 years? Stars should have won that game.

jimmi - It was a game of 2 tails. A tale of 2 games. Kinda meh initial phase and then full bonkers 3rd period. Wonderful to see Pete get his snipe back on. Especially, as Westy tried to convey, Sneaky Pete’s used the old forward dog, little Joe, as a human shot shield. Not sure why Kent hasn’t put that clip in here for us to enjoy all over again.

Oh... maybe because if he did that, he’d have to include all the bonker saves Demmers and his postal authority made. Demko, unmasked, must have made his mom, who was in the rink, shriek.

Wacky game. That Dallas never had a chance to win. The tacky 80s video-game Texas florescent home uni deserves only consecutive losses and needs to be banned - after Dallas has suffered a half dozen consecutive home losses.

Beggsy - Against Colorado it was Horvat’s line who performed best, but against Dallas, the line of Garland, Miller and Pearson was feeling it at evens.

I still can’t believe that Demko failed to allow a goal in the third period though. That was a another remarkable sequence for one of the best goaltenders in the game.

Kent- Third game in four nights on the road and again, it would have been easy to write this one off, but after a meh first period, the Canucks really started to respond and went toe to toe with one of the league’s best on home ice. The difference was Thatcher Demko and some absolutely prime Elias Pettersson. Also...

Vancouver Canucks v Dallas Stars Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images

4. Of these three, which one was the most impressive, in your opinion?

Westy - Frustrating the league leading Avs was the best game of the trip. MacKinnon was having kittens he was so mad that he couldn’t get much space out there. It was a better overall team game instead of a goalie saving the team repeatedly. (Although Halak was good)

jimmi - Westy is right on. Even if he used the kittens metaphor with the Avs’ McKittens. Wait, that’s just fine.

Feel like I could be making a big deal out of nothing - creating too much negative space around this invisible stat. Zero Nucking giveaways in an entire Nucking game.

That Zero-Giveaway performance by the Nucks is confirmation that the impossible is possible, however improbable.

Beggsy - All were good efforts but for me, it was the Dallas game. Colorado might be in cruise control until the playoffs, and despite the Canucks hanging on for a point against Minnesota, they were dominated physically.

Dallas was a true must win game, and they came out and deserved the victory despite playing for the third time in four nights. And, again, the fact that they hung on in the third still seems unbelievable considering the chances they gave up.

Kent- Tough call here. A game where they have no giveaways against the best team in the league, or a statement win where they’re on the third game in four nights? I’m gonna go with the Dallas game, because it actually reminded me a lot of that brief moment a couple years back, where Bubble Demko took us on a run.

Vancouver Canucks v Colorado Avalanche Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images

5. Who’s impressed you the most with their play on this road trip?

Westy - Picking one person is hard. Petey has been pretty consistent in all of the games. If he gets hot...I might actually think this team has a chance.

jimmi - Have to go with Pete, Halak, Demmers, JT, Bo, Podz, Schenn, Huggie and more if I have to pick just one(ish).

Beggsy - Miller is pushing Demko as the Canucks MVP, and he had another fantastic road trip for the Canucks. Hard to argue against scoring in each and every game.

Kent- JT Miller has been so consistent this season, it would be easy to say him, and man did we get some good efforts from EP40, Demko, Bo and the defence. Narrowing it down to one was not easy, but Petey brought it last week, and man is that exactly what they need if they hope to keep this thing going.

St. Louis Blues v Vancouver Canucks

6. And finally, we’ve got three games over the next week, Monday and Wednesday in a home and home against St Louis, followed by a MASSIVE visit from the Vegas Golden Knights. Predictions?

Westy - Canucks usually match up ok against St Louis, but not so much against Vegas. 4 points over the 8 games is what I expect. The Nucks need 3 of the points against Vegas, but if they lose both to St Louis, they might be too far back. Ok...they need all the points.

jimmi - My prediction record this season is predictably bad - but desperate times require desperate predictions certainties. Nucks need to win ALL the games. That much is certain.

Beggsy - Neither St. Louis or Vegas is playing great hockey. That worries me, since the Canucks recently have shown up against good teams (minus the Calgary game) while laying an egg against bad teams.

They probably need two wins over Vegas and at least one against the Blues if they want to stay alive. I like the odds of that happening but based on our recent predictions, I feel like I need to go with the reverse jinx and say they’ll lose three of the next four.

Kent- The last time these teams played, the Blues got a hot goalie and some bounces going their way, then locked it down with a two goal lead. The Canucks were the better team by a mile that night, and Bruce Boudreau knows this. Payback is gonna be a bitch Monday night, (and again on Wednesday). As far as Sunday, the voodoo or whatever the hell Vegas held over them doesn’t exist anymore, and they’ve looked human this year. The Canucks do the hockey world a favour and help knock this miserable team and their equally miserable, entitled fan base out of the post season.