Rss

The Vancouver Canucks were looking to ride the emotional high right into another playoff win on Friday night, and they did just that; taking game two in overtime on the back of captain Bo Horvat, who now has four goals through the first two games of this series. The final score was 4-3.

After a commanding 5-2 win over the St. Louis Blues in game one, the Canucks went with the exact same lineup and were hoping for the same result. The Blues had two newcomers to the lineup as Sammy Blais and Alex Steen jumped into their bottom six.

The Canucks went with the exact same lineup that they used in game one and yes, JT Miller was in the lineup.

Lines

Thoughts from Twitter

It’s an early puck drop and the Canucks needed their stars to be stars once again.

The Canucks bounced back after a punch in the mouth from the Wild in game of their play-in series.

Did the Blues do the same after taking a Canuck punch in game one?

Jacob Markstrom started for the Canucks, Jordan Binnington for the Blues.

It’s game time.

Let’s go!

First Period

Similar to game one, the teams traded powerplays early on in the period. Alex Edler and Antoine Roussel each took minor penalties in the first eight minutes of the game. Roussel took a weak call while the Canucks were on the powerplay and that meant that we saw some 4-on-4 action. That open ice opened up space for Bo Horvat.

Horvat flew down the wing as the Blues penalty expired and just when the Blues got their powerplay — Horvat made a power play of his own.

Horvat’s double dangle may outshine his move from game one and he has been a leader on the ice for this Canucks team in the postseason. 1-0 Canucks.

After this goal, Horvat had been on the ice for 12 goals for and only three goals against.

He’s been the leader that he needs to be and it’s giving me vibes of Ryan O’Reilly last year in the playoffs. This bubble hockey playoffs have been a coming-out party for Horvat. He hasn’t had to be used in so many matchup roles as The Lotto Line is playing the majority of the minutes against the O’Reilly line. That is opening up the opportunity for Horvat to play like a true second-line centre and he is thriving in that role.

Horvat had three shots in the first period and was the only Canucks player with multiple shots on net. He’s leading this team in multiple ways.

The best player for the Canucks in the first period was their goalie. Markstrom looked dialled in early on as he made 12 saves in the period. The Blues controlled the pace of play for a good portion of the period as they attempted 21 shots on Markstrom.

This was a physical period but the Canucks weren’t being pushed around. They were playing tough and it was nice to see the young Canucks team battle back against the elevated level of physicality from the Blues.

Once again, the Blues were able to control the majority of the zone time when The Lotto Line was on the ice. The Blues outshot the Pettersson line 6-0 in the period and the Canucks will need to figure out a way to get the Canucks best players going as this series progresses.

The final note from the first period is about Zack MacEwen. I briefly mentioned his consistent play in the previous postgame report and he continued to be good in Friday’s game. He forced Travis Green’s hand and late in the first period we saw MacEwen skating with the third line.

The result of MacEwen’s promotion meant that Jake Virtanen would be sent down to the fourth line to play with Tyler Motte and Jay Beagle. Virtanen finished the first period with only 2:04 of ice time.

Second Period

JT Miller took an early penalty that the Canucks were able to kill. As Miller came out of the box he was sent in on a clear breakaway and settled the puck before beating Binnington on the forehand. The play was reviewed after the fact and it was determined that Miller was offside due to not dragging his left skate on the ice. This rule is set to change next season, but nonetheless, the Canucks were still only up 1-0.

The Canucks were lacking in the period as it took over 10 minutes before they registered their first shot in the frame. Markstrom was being tested often and he was up to every task thrown his way. At the halfway point of the game, the Blues were doubling the Canucks in shots by a count of 20-10.

MacEwen continued to move up the lineup as the game went on, seeing time with Horvat and Pearson at 5-on-5.

He was playing a strong game with an aggressive forecheck and was playing physical as he always does. He dropped the gloves with Zach Sanford and there was a party on Prince Edward Island as MacEwen’s mom was loving it.

Tyler Motte drew a penalty with 8:32 remaining in the period. The Canucks went to the powerplay and after half the personnel had gone off for a line change, Pettersson found Pearson with an incredible saucer pass and Pearson made no mistake burying it past Binnington. 2-0 Canucks.

Late in the period, Brandon Sutter was hit the back with no call from the referees. Jay Beagle came in to defend his twin brother and ended up taking the extra penalty out of the bruhaha. It was an embarrassing example of refereeing and somehow the Blues would end up getting a powerplay out of it.

The Blues went to work on the powerplay and cut into the Canucks lead with a powerplay goal of their own from O’Reilly. 2-1 Canucks.

Aside from the O’Reilly goal, Markstrom was excellent in the first 40 minutes. The Blues had 25 shots on net through two periods to go with their 20 scoring chances. The Blues were on the powerplay for 8:18 seconds in the period and the Canucks needed to stay out of the box in the third period.

Speaking of the third, let’s get to it.

Third Period

It was a tough start to the period for the Canucks. Tyler Myers went into the boards awkwardly and stayed down on the ice for a minute before heading right down the tunnel. Myers had played one of his best games through the first two periods and would have been relied upon to defend the Canucks one-goal lead.

Vancouver’s most hated man David Perron took an interference penalty after the Myers injury when he knocked down Pettersson at centre ice.

The Canucks went to their happy place and when Justin Faulk’s stick broke, the Canucks took advantage. Pettersson was at the side of the net after a Brock Boeser shot and he knocked the puck out of mid-air into the yawning cage. 3-1 Canucks.

The Blues have had a knack for answering the Canucks goals this series and they would do it once again.

Edler had a bad giveaway (after getting high-sticked) in the Canucks zone as he passed the puck directly to Sammy Blais who had a nice dangle in tight before going to his backhand over Markstrom’s pad. 3-2 Canucks.

The Canucks went into a defensive gameplan that saw them limit their offensive chances and simply dump and chase away the majority of the period.

The Blues pulled their goalie with two minutes left and went to work firing shots towards Markstrom. Then with 6.4 seconds left, Alex Pietrangelo fired a shot that was tipped by Perron on a borderline high stick and then off Jaden Schwartz’s leg. The Blues tied the game up 3-3 and we were heading to overtime.

Quinn Hughes was fourth out of the Canucks defencemen in ice time with only 17:10 of ice time in regulation time. He needed to be electric in overtime as the Canucks had to shift from defence to offence and look for the game-winning goal.

Overtime

What a fun night it was.

The Canucks had to lean on Markstrom early as he made a couple of huge saves to keep this game in overtime.

Just after Markstrom made those big saves, Chris Tanev had an incredible defensive shift and that was enough momentum for the Canucks to ride to victory.

Quinn Hughes made an outstanding pass to spring Horvat on a breakaway and oops he did it again.

Horvat scored his fourth goal in two games and the Canucks won 4-3.

Hughes was quiet most of the game but he came out screaming in overtime and that was just enough Hughes magic for the Canucks to win this one.

The Fancies

Top Performers

The two leaders on this team were the two top performers in this game. Bo Horvat was obviously a top performer in this game as he was a stats monster in this one. Horvat had two goals, won 20 of 29 faceoffs, had four shots and blocked three shots. Horvat was an absolute horse in this game and he is carrying this team at 5-on-5. When asked about his game-winning goal Horvat said he went five-hole because Binnington is probably used to him going blocker side in this series.

The other top performer was Jacob Markstrom. He was excellent on Friday stopping 34 of 37 shots and coming up clutch in overtime when his team needed him.

Wrap-Up

The Canucks are now up 2-0 in their series against the defending Stanley Cup Champions. They are getting big goals from their top players and Travis Green was coaching well in this game. He moved MacEwen up the lineup because he was having a good night and worked well with defence coach Nolan Baumgartner when they lost Tyler Myers.

The biggest negative from Friday’s game was the loss of Tyler Myers, who was playing much better in the game. The Canucks may have to make a move to Brogan Rafferty or Jordie Benn — who just started skating with the team on Thursday after his four-day quarantine.

The Canucks are back in action on Sunday night with the first of back to back games.

We will have you covered all the way up to puck drop.