The Canucks deserved a better result last night in Anaheim, and were eager to get back in the win column tonight against a Sharks team that’s been shockingly bad to start the year. San Jose has been a middling shot share team this season, but boast the league’s second worst goal-differential thanks in large part to their questionable goaltending tandem of Martin Jones and Aaron Dell.

The Canucks would take full advantage of that tonight, putting five goals past Dell on 28 shots, and sucking the life out of one of the league’s liveliest buildings. They got a bit of help in the goal-scoring department from the War Room in Toronto for what feels like the first time in their history, but ultimately deserved the outcome, getting strong performances from the top of their lineup and rookie netminder Thatcher Demko.



Game Notes

  • Unsurprisingly, the star of tonight’s action was Elias Pettersson, who had two goals, three shots, and led the team with a 71.3% shot share. He batted the puck out of the air like a tennis ball to put the Canucks up by 2 in the first period, which I’m sure will be gracing highlight packages for the rest of the year.

  • Pettersson’s second goal of the game made him the first Canuck to reach 20 points in 14 games or less since Trevor Linden in 1995-96. I’m skeptical as to how serious the concerns about a sophomore slump were during the early part of the season, but Pettersson shows no signs of slowing down. While his shooting percentage for the season is still quite high at 20%, he’s been producing offence in a more sustainable fashion, with a large portion of his point production coming in the form of assists. He’s been a point-per-game player through his first 84 games, and with another year or two of development and a bit of luck, it’s easy to envision him eclipsing those numbers in the future. That’s why I believe that when the Canucks finally do make the playoffs, whether it’s this year, next year, or some time in the future, Pettersson will be a Hart Trophy nominee. You heard it here first.
  • Brandon Sutter has been the frequent target of criticism from a number of media outlets over the course of his time in Vancouver, and CanucksArmy is no exception. So it’s only fair that I should point out that he’s played some of his best hockey over the last few weeks. He had an excellent game tonight, scoring the team’s first goal and finishing the game with a shot share north of 70%. He also led all forwards in TOI, which seems less than ideal, but I think we can let Travis Green have this one. He was one of the team’s best players tonight.
  • Josh Leivo’s been perhaps the most underrated addition of the past year, and he quietly had an excellent performance tonight. He was embroiled in a number of 50/50 puck battles tonight and I don’t think I saw him lose a single one of them. He picked up the primary assist on Sutter’s goal, which is well-deserved for a player who I think has fit very nicely in the team’s bottom six and been the subject of some unfair criticism at times this season.
  • Adam Gaudette scored his second goal in as many games, banking a shot off the foot of a sharks player for what would hold up as the game winner. Number 88 also led the team in shots in just under 14 minutes of ice time, with four. He’s been a defensive liability at times, but he’s proving to up to the task of providing some the secondary scoring punch many had hoped he could bring this season. It’s nice to see him proving the haters wrong, especially after generating a lot of lies and hateful slander from some questionable characters in this market.