aria-labelledby=”1850031683905-metadata-“title =”Week 2 roundup of the NHL’s North Division”> In our new weekly segment, Rob Pizzo catches brand-new up sector the week that was in the all-Canadian division in the NHL. Winnipeg Jets defenceman Nathan Beaulieu stated sequestering on the roadway– for the public’s security as well as their own– is a modification after years of taking in sights and sounds of other NHL cities.”It’s a zero ask,” Anaheim Ducks head coach Dallas Eakins said of the NHL’s rules.”The protocols make it tough for a lot of the things that would organically happen– the players getting together on their own,” he said.”Spending time with the people, that’s what makes being in this league so unique,” he stated.
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aria-labelledby=”1850031683905-metadata-“title =”Week 2 roundup of the NHL’s North Division”> In our brand-new weekly sector, Rob Pizzo catches you up on the week that remained in the all-Canadian division in the NHL. 3:53 Winnipeg Jets defenceman Nathan Beaulieu stated sequestering on the road– for the public’s security as well as their own– is a change after years of taking in sights and sounds of other NHL cities.”That’s one of the treats remaining in this league,”he stated.”It’s a little bit more taxing on the brain not being able to move around the city and go out and
get some air, but we all registered for this.”
We knew what it was going to resemble.”Remaining in one area does have some team-building advantages, Beaulieu included.
“It’s type of old-school, just hanging out and telling stories in the lounge,” he said. “It’s really a great chance for the team to bond. You can’t all be at the very same table, but I believe it assists get a team a bit more detailed.
“You’ve got everybody together, not five men going someplace and 10 people going elsewhere.”
Less travel wear and tear is another silver lining, stated Gallagher.
“Playing 3 video games in the very same city is something actually great,” he said. “The travel is something we can’t truly grumble about.”
‘There are people sacrificing even more than us’
Breaches in health and wellness rules are handled harshly by the NHL.
The Washington Capitals learnt what that indicated when captain Alex Ovechkin and three Russian colleagues were “unavailable” to play after breaking COVID-19 procedures by mingling in a hotel space unmasked.
Ovechkin missed four video games and the club was also fined $100,000 US.
McArton stated booking the required ice time for some 300 groups isn’t practical as the winter season wears on. Hockey Winnipeg stated in an email to parents that it will provide “fair refunds” to its members based on the amount of hockey played prior to the lockdown and the practices that may take place later on.
Hockey Winnipeg is tossing in the towel on the fleeting chance it can resume regular season play.
The association governing amateur hockey in Winnipeg revealed Saturday it made the tough choice to cancel the remainder of the 2020-21 routine hockey season and playoffs.
Executive director Ian McArton argued it is no longer feasible to ice a season, even if pandemic restrictions loosen to the extent that organized sports are permitted again.
At that time, specific hockey associations will be able to operate regional shows such as practices, but no sanctioned video games.
“This is truly tough because you see how much everybody loves the video game,” McArton stated.
“We’ve got enthusiastic coaches and players and administrators and everything, however, you understand, we’re at the mercy of the provincial guidelines and I understand why,” he said. “This is regrettable.”
Hockey iced because November
The regulation affects every league run by Hockey Winnipeg, except for the U-15 AAA young boys’ teams playing in a provincially run league.
Organized hockey is among many casualties in the pandemic.
All video games were cancelled when Winnipeg, and later on Manitoba, were put under stringent code red restrictions in early November, as the variety of COVID-19 infections skyrocketed.
The province might unwind restrictions on recreational activities on Feb. 13 at the earliest.
McArton stated scheduling the needed ice time for some 300 groups isn’t useful as the winter season endures. Some rinks are converted for spring and summertime sports, while other arenas depend on natural ice so they can not extend the season.
“This was a difficult decision,” he said. “All of our individuals that are associated with our executive are hockey individuals.”
McArton says he feels awful for the gamers, especially those whose last year of small hockey is ending prematurely.
“I don’t know if there’s anything I can state that would totally express how much we are sorry for whatever that’s occurred,” he stated.
“I actually hope that the kids are able to get on the ice, even for a practice.”
Hockey Winnipeg said in an e-mail to moms and dads that it will offer “reasonable refunds” to its members based upon the amount of hockey played before the lockdown and the practices that may happen later on. Some expenditures, such as tryout costs and gamer insurance coverage, are non-refundable.
Numerous other hockey associations in Manitoba have actually likewise ended on their seasons, consisting of Eastman and Interlake.
It’s safe to say that Connor McDavid stole the show against his hometown team once again. The Toronto Maple Leafs playing in their fourth game in Alberta couldn’t find a way to defeat the Edmonton Oilers in overtime. The good news — they took 7 of 8 points on the road, which is brilliant.
Auston Matthews scored once again, adding to his now five-game goal streak. William Nylander scored for the second-straight game. Mikko Lehtonen also got his first NHL point on a power play goal from Zach Hyman.
But the Maple Leafs lost. And the only reason they did is because of the reverse retro jerseys, which they wore in this game. No other reasons at all.
A great road trip with a sign of growth from the Toronto Maple Leafs. And more importantly, another fun video by me. Enjoy!
On Saturday night’s edition of Headlines, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman had a bit of Calgary Flames news. Checking in on a rumour he had heard, it turns out that forward Sam Bennett would welcome a new opportunity elsewhere.
Here’s what Friedman said:
There was a rumour going around this morning that Bennett might want a change of scenery. And I did call his agent Darren Ferris who said yes, that’s true, he would like it to be considered. The Flames are in radio silence about this. No comment from them. One thing I gleaned from just calling around is that they’re not in any hurry to do it. They like their depth down the middle, they’re not racing to make a move, but according to the agent for Sam Bennett he would like a change of scenery.
The Flames’ first round pick in 2014, Bennett has been a depth body for the Flames for much of his tenure after entering the NHL with much fanfare in the 2015 playoffs as an 18-year-old. He’s shown promise, especially in the playoffs, but he’s never quite turned the corner and established himself as a top six player.
At present, he’s stuck behind Johnny Gaudreau, Dillon Dube, Andrew Mangiapane and Matthew Tkachuk in the forward rotation on the wing and Elias Lindholm, Mikael Backlund and Sean Monahan up the middle. And with Jakob Pelletier and Connor Zary, among others, waiting in the wings, Bennett may remain the odd man out in the team’s key roles.
With the Seattle Kraken expansion draft coming in July, the Flames may very well just stand pat and the expose Bennett to the Kraken following the season.
Superman has kryptonite, and the Vancouver Canucks have the Winnipeg Jets.
The Jets arrived in the Edmonton bubble with hopes of avenging last season’s early exit at the hands of the eventual Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues and return to the Western Conference final. Well, they didn’t make it past the play-in round and have found themselves in murky water as of late. The defence at times looks shaky, but they do have the reigning Vezina Trophy winner Connor Hellebuyck to help hide those problems.
The heavy, hard-hitting Winnipeg Jets’ defence is nowhere near what it was a few years back. Yet the Canucks still have not mustered up a single win in the past three seasons against the Jets.Since the Jets landed in Winnipeg, the Canucks have just six wins under against them.
Last season the Canucks lost 4-1 and 4-0, both in Winnipeg, though one of those was on the second night of a back-to-back. Regardless, it seems the Canucks have a rather difficult time breaking down the Jets, especially with a .00% win percentage in the last three years.
Head to Head
Nothing has gone right throughout the last three seasons for the Canucks, and it shows in special teams and the win column. The last win against the Jets came back on December 20th, 2016, when Jayson Megna, Michael Chaput and Nikita Tryamkin were in the lineup. Now with a much-improved lineup, the Canucks will look to flip the script and start a run of their own against the Jets.
For that run to happen, the Canucks need to improve on special teams. Only three other teams have a lower power play percentage against the Jets in the past three seasons: the Anaheim Ducks, New Jersey Devils, and the Washington Capitals. Even with Elias Pettersson’s arrival, the power play has dipped from an awful 8.7% to 7.1%, and last season the Canucks went zero for six.
The penalty kill hasn’t been great either.
The Jets generate most of their shots from the middle of the blue line, front of the net, and left side circle when on the man-advantage. The Canucks PKers will need to work tirelessly to limit those chances.
As for the five on five play, let’s face it, averaging one goal per game won’t cut it against a team that still plays hard defence.
For years the Jets have been the “blueprint” on how to build a team through the draft. Getting praises from all around the league, it looked as if the Jets were on the cusp of a cup. In the past three years, the Jets have been at the top five of the league in wins, goals for, and power play.
However, heading into this season, the Jets are now considered a bubble team and will need to rely on Vezina calibre goaltending from Hellebuyck once again to help guide them into the postseason.
Top three returning players for the Jets
A roster that has seen a lot of turnover as of late, especially on the backend, the Jets’ top three returning players will be a thorn in the side of each Canadian team this season. Mark Scheifele is one of the best two-way centres in the league and has become a superstar on the team.
The line of Scheifele and Kyle Connor played a fair share together last season. Travis Green has used the lotto line in the past four games to counter react against Winnipeg’s top line at even strength. Green would probably want to shy away from this matchup when at home to let the Canucks’ most dangerous line get cooking.
What’s new with the Jets
Paul Stastny returns to the Jets after his stint in Vegas. The Jets now have centre depth, which was lacking since Stastny left.
The bulk of the roster will remain intact after a few years of departures. However, with an in-season trade, the Jets bolstered their centre depth by adding Pierre Luc-Dubois who wanted out of Columbus in exchange for former 40 goal-scorer Patrik Laine who wanted out of Winnipeg.
What to expect from the Jets
The Jets play loud, they forecheck well and close the gap quickly. They don’t give much space in the neutral zone for the opposition and tend to get their shots at the point and in and around the slot.
Overall, seeing the Jets nine times this season, the curse will surely be lifted. Another year in which Quinn Hughes and Pettersson will improve could simply be too much to handle for the Winnipeg Jets.
Secondary scoring makes the world go around. Final Score: 4-3 Oilers in OT
All I could hope for when it came to tonight’s game was that the Oilers were as annoyed about the way they lost on Thursday night as the rest of us were. I wanted them to be angry. I wanted them to hate losing so much that they started this game like a house on fire, burning their way through anyone and anything that stood between them and the two points they desperately needed. A lot has been made about the Oilers’ work ethic and ability to stay motivated for 60 minutes, and from where I blog, there was no better opportunity to prove the haters wrong than right here against the Maple Leafs on Hockey Night in Canada. I mean, who wouldn’t want to see some McMagic on a Saturday night in the midst of a pandemic against a team that pines for him? That’s what I thought.
As for the actual hockey game itself, the first thing I noticed was how both sides hit the ice with energy, but that it was the Oilers that looked especially good. The pace was high, the puck was moving, the boys were buzzin’ and it seemed almost inevitable that they were going to be able to cash in on at least one of the many chances they were throwing on net. Honestly, it was probably the best start this team has had all year. But as we all know, playing one good period does not equal a win and there was still plenty of time for the Leafs to make a move if the Oilers weren’t able to keep the hammer down or lock things down. As expected, Toronto upped their desperation levels and threw counterpunches Edmonton’s way until they were able to land a couple of them, clawing their way back from a two-goal deficit and into a tie game with 20 minutes to play.
With the game tied and only a period left to play, this felt like kind of night where the team that made the last mistake would lose, and it was up to the Oilers to do what they could to make Toronto play defence and force them to make mistakes. Fan stress levels peaking as the period wore on, both teams had moments that looked like they were going to put this one to bed after manufacturing scoring opportunities that required some big saves to deny. It was exciting, and it was stressful. With the way the third period went, it wouldn’t have been surprising to see either side close it out based on the back-and-forth flow, but at the same time, it was almost fitting to need the bonus period to find a conclusion. Just as it was fitting to have Connor McDavid score the winner off of a beautiful pass from Leon Draisaitl.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
After plenty of chances and close calls over the first nine games, Dominik Kahun finally scored his first goal as an Oiler (1-0) on a second chance effort that came while he was falling near the front of the net. Initially, Kahun took a Draisaitl pass near the top of the slot and fired a puck on net that Andersen wasn’t able to handle, leaving the first-year Oiler a chance to hack away at the loose puck.
Josh Archibald restored the Oilers lead in the dying seconds of the first period (2-1) after Connor McDavid set him up on a tee for a one-timer near the right side of the net. I’m pretty sure Andersen still doesn’t know what happened because the pass from McDavid to Archibald was both sneaky and unstoppable.
Connor McDavid put the Oilers up by two goals (3-1) on the powerplay with what was arguably one of the best coast-to-coast goals that I’ve ever seen in my life. After picking the puck up in his own zone, McDavid ran through the Leafs like they were standing still and I cannot describe how happy it makes me to see him come up with another goal of the year candidate against the Leafs. McDavid added the game-winner in OT on a perfect deflection on a cross-ice pass from Draisaitl and it was a combination that had Oilers Twitter buzzin. The guy is a gun in a knife fight.
Leon Draisaitl came into tonight’s game on a heater and I was looking for him to stay at the table as long as humanly possible. While he wasn’t able to keep the goal streak alive, he did get himself on the scoresheet with another pair of assists.
Make it 10 straight starts for Mikko Koskinen but with Troy Grosenick getting activated to the roster, you’d have to think that the Big Finn gets a rest tomorrow in the series opener against Ottawa. As for tonight’s business at hand, Koskinen was looking for a rebound performance after beat for four in the opener on Thursday and finished his night with a .852 save%. Not perfect by any means, Koskinen was still very good for the Oilers tonight and he made a bunch of monstrous saves — he stopped some grade-A chances in the third and OT — that gave his team a chance to win. Koskinen finished the night with 26 saves and a .897 save%.
Kailer Yamamoto is unbelievably sneaky with his stick and I love the way he pickpockets guys before they even know he’s around. It’s like he has a dedication to thievery and I enjoy it very much.
I think Zack Kassian has looked so much better since being put on the third line with Turris and it’s been really encouraging to see over the past week or so. When he’s at his best, Kassian can be a real difference-maker and it’s nothing but good new for the Oilers that he’s starting to find his game.
Slater Koekkoek has been quietly steady for the Oilers in basically every game he’s played so far, and I will start raising some kind of hell if he gets pulled out again for any reason other than injury.
The powerplay came through with another goal (1/2) again tonight — McDavid did most of the work tbh — and it’s nice to see that the guys are starting to gel when up a man.
You know how much I love to see the Oilers win 58% of the faceoffs.
GIVE ME EVAN BOUCHARD!
I gotta say, I’m a big fan of the way the reverse retros look on TV and it’s a damned shame that they’re only wearing them a few times this year. I’d much rather see those unis than the dark blue thirds from last season. Anyone disagree?
I just have to say again how much I love me a 5pm start.
THE FACE PALMERS
William Nylander tied the game up at one apiece on a nifty little dangle after the Oilers failed to get the puck out of their own zone, cashing in on a turnover that came within a few feet of their own blue line. This was another example of the Oilers being punished for being unable to clear zone when they had an excellent chance to do so.
Auston Matthews pulled the Leafs back to within a single goal (3-2) after completing a very pretty passing play with Mitch Marner down low in the Oilers zone. Toronto moved the puck around very smoothly on this play and you have to give Matthews credit for being able to finish from such a weird angle.
Only 68 seconds after Matthews narrowed the gap to one, Zach Hyman tied the game (3-3) with a powerplay goal after picking up a deflected puck right in front of the crease and pulling a nice little spin-move that allowed him to tuck it past an outstretched Koskinen.
The Oilers lost Ethan Bear in the third period to an undisclosed injury after taking a seemingly harmless looking hit along the boards, and that is news they do NOT need right now as he is obviously a huge part of this team’s defensive group.
Over the last four games, the penalty kill had allowed at least one goal while down a man and that’s a trend that needs to change. The Oilers have struggled mightily with their special teams so far this year, and a strong performance on the PK was exactly what the doctor ordered to ensure a split in this series. Unfortunately, we did get perfection from the PK but they did come up with a massive kill in the third period to keep the game tied and get things to overtime.
According to Rob Tychkowski, tonight was the fifth time in 10 games that the Oilers allowed two goals against in under two minutes. That’s a ‘yikes’ stat, folks.
Tyler Ennis had the chance to get his first of the season on a penalty shot in the first period but ended up firing the puck high and wide. Now, as a result, Ennis will have to pay Reid Wilkins back for the unreturned VHS tapes he rented from the CHED broadcaster at Blockbuster in the 90s.
During the intermission, Sportsnet was running through highlights from other games and I started laughing to myself because I had almost been living my life as if the other three divisions didn’t exist.
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The Toronto Six started this game looking for redemption and that’s exactly what they got. In their previous matchup with the Minnesota Whitecaps they went from what looked like a sure win, to an overtime loss. As the puck dropped for tonight’s game, The Six were fast, focused, and ready to win.
With Brooke Boquist, Emma Woods, and Kristen Barbara out of the lineup, there were shoes to fill, and the rest of the team had to step up. And, guess what? They did just that.
From an early lead, to a game filled with lots of goals and penalties, the Toronto Six came out with a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Whitecaps, to extend their winning streak to three games.
Check here for a full play by play recap of the game.
The Good (and Great)
This game was as speedy as they come. The Toronto Six dominated the first period, more than doubling the shots of the Whitecaps at 15-7 (and a final tally of 45-31), that included a lot of good looks and scoring chances. Elaine Chuli started in net and played a strong and solid game for The Six. Chuli denied the Whitecaps of getting anything past her in the first period, helping The Six build momentum and confidence as the game continued.
Mikyla Grant-Mentis opened the scoring for The Six just over seven minutes into the game, and also tallied the game winning goal with 23 seconds left in the third period. Grant-Mentis is now the league wide leader in goals, with Taylor Woods, Breanne Wilson-Bennett, and Brooke Boquist rounding out the rest of the top 5 in the NWHL.
The Six have only continued to improve their game since the beginning of the NWHL’s season. They’re making plays, shooting the puck, and playing a physical game. Maybe they’re realizing that the chances of winning the Isobel Cup are becoming more realistic and clear, but they’ve been playing a fairly steady game, day in and day out. It looks like the nervous ‘first-day’ jitters have worn off, and they’re ready to show the rest of the league what they’ve been working on.
And just in case you missed it earlier – but also because I like saying it, the Toronto Six are currently on a three game winning streak, with one more game determining seeding, before the Semifinals begin.
Alright, let’s get into it. Yes, the Toronto Six won, but they took far too many penalties in this game, and almost gave up a short-handed goal in the first period which could have drastically changed the energy of the game. Their first period of play is what you want to see for a full 60 minutes on the ice. Instead, The Six racked up a total of six penalties, while the Whitecaps were called for four. The Whitecaps managed to score 2 of their 3 goals on The Six’s penalties, which means that they need to either stay out of the box, or work on their Penalty Kill …or preferably both.
The Whitecaps also managed to tie the game up at 2-2, with less than a minute left in the second period of play. Again, the Toronto Six need to play their full 60. As proven in this game with goals from both teams in the last minutes play, those final minutes are important, and can make all the difference.
In the post-game presser, Digit Murphy noted that yes, the Toronto Six is still learning. It’s still their first year in the NWHL, after all. With some of their top line out tonight, it gave the team a chance to try different looks and positions to find what works. Murphy also noted that going forward, The Six need to take less penalties, but that doesn’t mean that she wants them to change the physicality to their play. This team is strong, and a force to be reckoned with, they just need to stay out of the box.
The Isobel Cup Finals are near! With the Metropolitan Riveters withdrawing from the tournament, the NWHL has had to revamp their schedules to determine seeding and play. Seeds 1, 2, and 3 for the Semifinals will be determined after the Toronto Six, Minnesota Whitecaps, and Connecticut Whale have all played each other once more. After tonight’s game, the Toronto Six have one more game to play before their seeding is determined. The fourth seed will be determined between play of the Boston Pride and Buffalo Beauts. Once seeding for the top four teams are determined, the Semifinals will be played on February 4th, and the Isobel Cup Final will be played on February 5th.
But, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Seeing as this is Toronto Six’s first year in the NWHL, supporters and fans of The Six are excited and want to see their team win. During the post-game presser, Murphy noted that the Toronto Six is enjoying their experience in the league and taking it one game at a time. When asked what their thoughts are on the rest of the tournament, Murphy noted that they only want to make Toronto proud, and no matter what the outcome, they’re here to stay.
Capping off a six-game slate in nine nights, the Winnipeg Jets scored four goals in the third period against the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night, resulting in a 6-4 win and allowing them to enter their mini bye week on a positive note.
Through seven games, Winnipeg has come away victorious five different times – including a pair of overtime victories. As they approach the conclusion of the first month of the season, which has been fairly successful for this team, they’ll be aiming to extend their current winning streak to two games.
Here are three storylines that could impact the Jets’ eighth game of the season against the Canucks:
1. Rust Could Be a Factor During First 20 Minutes
After playing six games in nine nights, the Jets received some much-needed time off following their victory over the Oilers on Tuesday, as they earned the next three days off and practiced twice during that span. Now coming out of that break, it’s possible this team may experience some rust in the opening period on Saturday night, which would certainly be less than ideal.
Considering the Canucks are currently tied for the most goals scored (10) in the first period, they’ll likely be looking to come out firing once again during this Saturday night matchup, meaning goaltender Connor Hellebuyck could face plenty of shots in the first 20 minutes of this game. With this in mind, the 2019-20 Vezina Trophy winner will need to bail out his teammates, which he’s done several times before, if they fall flat out of the gate when the puck drops.
2. Second Line Dominance
While Winnipeg’s second line took a massive hit when forward Patrik Laine, who’s now been traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets, suffered an upper-body injury shortly after the regular season opened, however, teammates Nikolaj Ehlers, Paul Stastny and Andrew Copp have all stepped up in a massive way since then.
Over the last five games, that trio has produced 11 goals, 25 points and 50 shots on net – including four goals, 10 points and 10 shots on net last game against Edmonton. Since Saturday’s matchup could develop into a high-scoring affair, especially since Vancouver has potted at least four goals in each of their last three games, it’ll be extremely important for this second line to continue producing at a high level.
3. Vancouver’s Lack of Defensive Support
Though the Canucks have recently corrected their early-season scoring woes, they’re still allowing far too much pressure on their goaltenders this season, which is something the Jets know all too well about. As a result of these issues, they’re currently allowing the most shots on net per game (37.1) and the seventh-most goals per game (3.60) among all 31 teams in the league.
In particular, goaltender Thatcher Demko has recently taken over the starting gig and is slated to start between the pipes on Saturday, which will be his sixth start of the season. But considering he’s faced 40 shots or more in three of his five appearances in 2021, Winnipeg shouldn’t have any issues creating plenty of scoring chances throughout all three periods of this showdown.
On Saturday night in Montreal’s Bell Centre, the Calgary Flames spotted themselves a 1-0 lead. Then, they hung on for dear life as goaltender Jacob Markstrom stood on his head to maintain that lead. The Flames were extremely fortunate to escape Quebec with two points after Markstrom made 37 saves in a 2-0 shutout victory.
For the first time in a few games, the Flames scored first! After Sam Bennett drew a penalty hustling from the puck, Johnny Gaudreau score a really pretty power play goal. He corralled a deflected pass, waited for Jake Allen to commit, then shelved a shot past the Habs netminder to give the Flames a 1-0 lead.
Shots were 16-12 Flames and scoring chances 15-10 Canadiens in the first period.
Nobody scored in second period, but the two teams combined for six power plays and just 7:09 of five-on-five time. The Habs were all over the Flames for long stretches, including looking very dangerous on special teams.
The Flames highlights were a pair of painful-looking shot blocks on Shea Weber blasts – Juuso Valimaki off his hand/wrist area and Joakim Nordstrom off his skate – and a high Dillon Dube hit that’ll get some attention from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.
Dillon Dube with a big hit on Jesperi Kotknaiemi.
Kotknaiemi didn't see this coming at all, and Dube catches him pretty high.
Shots were 15-5 Canadiens and scoring chances 8-0 Canadiens in the second period.
The Habs pressed in the third period, but the Flames hung in there. Mikael Backlund added an empty-netter late in the period to cement a 2-0 win.
Shots were 12-10 Flames and scoring chances 13-9 Canadiens in the third period.
Why the Flames won
They had a better start than they did on Thursday, and then their goaltending was great as they clung on for dear life. When they’re allowed to go places and do things again, every player in a red and white sweater owes Markstrom a meal.
They were more crisp and engaged than they were on Thursday, for sure, but this was a Goalie Win.
Markstrom. Replace him with any other goaltender and the scoreboard would’ve looked a lot different.
The turning point
Take your pick from any number of calm Markstrom saves in a very one-sided second period.
Data via Natural Stat Trick. Percentage stats are 5v5.
This and that
With his 1-0 goal, Johnny Gaudreau is the first Flames player with a 7-game point streak to begin a season since Jiri Hudler in 2013-14#CofRed
The Canucks entered this game against the Winnipeg Jets fresh off a three-game winning streak. Granted, they were all against the lowly Ottawa Senators. The Canucks had lost ten straight against the Jets but that wouldn’t be the case tonight as they put together one of their finest performances of the season.
From start to finish they managed to play much better defence than they have previously this season and they received scoring from both the bottom-six as well as the top-six. When everything is clicking as it was tonight, the Canucks are a scary sight and a team that looks like they could challenge for the North Divison title.
The Canucks stuck with the same lineup that they used in the previous game against the Ottawa Senators. This was the first game where head coach Travis Green really had to make a decision on which goalie would get the starting nod and he chose to roll with Demko who had two strong games against Ottawa.
For those that were worried about Brock Boeser’s low goal totals last season, worry no more as he has been absolutely electric to start the season. He scored another one early in this game, dangling around an outstretched Hellebuyck after receiving a great pass from Edler right in front of the net. 1-0 Canucks.
The lead wouldn’t last long as the Jets struck back less than two minutes later on a shot from Mason Appleton right off an offensive zone face-off. Demko was forced to make a few saves before that, but the shot from Appleton was placed perfectly and beat the goaltender clean. 1-1.
The Canucks’ second power play unit got a chance to take the ice but neither them nor the first unit who finished the shift was successful, generating only one shot. Höglander continues to amaze and every game as his confidence and comfort-level continue to rise. Check out this slick spin-move to enter the zone.
He was rewarded for his effort as he batted a puck out of mid-air into the back of the net later on that shift. 2-1 Canucks. This was the second goal on just four shots for the Canucks against former-Vezina winner Connor Hellebuyck.
The Perreault – Lowry – Appleton line for the Jets continued to press, using their physical play style to separate Canucks’ defenders from the puck and create chaos, but Demko was up to the test as he made some big saves. The Jets continued to pressure to end the period but couldn’t solve the former-Boston College goaltender.
Near the end of the period, Brock Boeser’s helmet came off, showing off his wonderful hair. For those that were worried, don’t. #TheFlow is still magnificent as ever.
The second period began with captain Bo Horvat getting called for a penalty which he strongly disagreed with, so strongly in fact that you could hear his displeasure over the broadcast. The Canucks killed the penalty — even getting a chance going the other way in the process — and shortly after, the Lotto Line went to work and got back to their usual work of lengthy cycles.
Later in the period, it was the big fella, Zack MacEwen, who parked himself in front of the net and tipped in a point shot. 3-1 Canucks.
Despite the fact that he will only receive a secondary assist on the scoresheet, JT Miller was crucial to making the play happen as he used his slick hands to evade some Jets’ defenders and get the puck to Benn.
Brock Boeser continued his great play and drew a slashing penalty later in the period, giving the team a chance to add to their lead. The second unit started the power play but they struggled to get set up. The first unit got their chance after a Pearson shot was deflected out of play, but the best chance ended up being a Jets breakaway which Adam Lowry flubbed.
A board battle would result in Höglander throwing an elbow — something Canucks fans have heard about but haven’t had much of a chance to see — and the resulting 4-on-4 would feature a Pettersson chance but not much more than that.
Just saw our first glimpse at the much talked about Hoglander elbow
After getting dominated at 5-on-5 to the tune of a 27.28 xG% and only five scoring chances to the Jets’ fifteen in the first period, the second offered a reversal of the roles. Overall, it was one of the Canucks’ best periods of the season so far.
The Canucks entered the third period looking to put this one away and the early goings featured plenty of good play for Vancouver. Both the Lotto Line and the Horvat Line had extended offensive zone time, though the closest the puck came to going in the net was an Alex Edler point shot that rang off the post.
When Blake Wheeler went to the box for holding, it was the first time that the Canucks’ top power play unit started the man-advantage. However, it was the second unit that had the better chance, as Sutter was denied on the classic Canucks one-timer from the slot.
Thankfully for the Canucks, Andrew Copp took a penalty with just under half the period remaining and the Canucks’ delayed penalty nullified the possible Jets’ powerplay. Instead, we got some 4-on-4 hockey, where the extra space on the ice is perfect for Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes to put the pressure on Hellebuyck.
Hellebuyck the only reason Winnipeg still in this.
Off a few strong Hellebuyck saves, the Jets were sprung the other way, and had a 2-on-1 which Nate Schmidt broke up with some beautiful stick work on a Tyler Myers-esque slide.
From there it was all about defence and goaltending and the Canucks proved that they know how to hold onto a lead. Demko made a couple of big saves and it was Boeser who would collect a puck that got caught on a broken stick and fire it into the empty net. 4-2 Canucks
Natural stat trick was down tonight, no fancies tonight.
Brock Boeser scored both the first goal and the last goal for the Canucks and was dangerous all night. He drew a penalty and his two-goal night launched him into first place for goals in the NHL, ahead of Connor McDavid who scored two of his own tonight.
Boeser has shown an ability to score in multiple ways this season — scoring in tight tonight as well as last game — and seems to be on pace to match last season’s goal total in way fewer games. His natural chemistry with Pettersson is evident and on nights like tonight, everyone is reminded of how exciting the Canucks’ young core is.
What more can you ask for? The Canucks played a great all-round game and dominated in all facets. The score would have been much more lopsided if it were not for the great goaltending of Hellebuyck and it got the road trip started off on the right note.
The Lotto Line dominated for long stretches — cycling the puck deep in the Winnipeg zone — and they look as if they have refound their mojo. Thatcher Demko could have easily been the selection for player of the game as he made several spectacular saves, even if the Canucks did play better defence in front of him.
Overall, perhaps the best top-to-bottom performance by the team this year and one that inspires hope moving forward.
Next up the Canucks travel to Montreal where they will try to take revenge on the Canadiens after a tough set of three games in Vancouver. To climb the standings the Canucks are going to need to continue to perform like they did tonight and steal some points back from Montreal.