Vancouver Canucks vs. Edmonton Oilers
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The major storyline heading in to Game 1 against the Edmoton Oilers was Thatcher Demko’s first game in a Vancouver Canucks uniform.
For the most part, Demko had a decent affair, making 29 saves while coming out on the losing end of a 4-1 decision. However, it was apparent he and the Canucks as a whole became overwhelmed by Oilers star prospect Puljujarvi. Puljujarvi was skating circles around the Canucks and managed to get two goals past Demko.
The other prospect Canucks fans had their eye on was defenseman Olli Juolevi, the Canucks’ first-round draft pick in this year’s draft. If you were watching on YouTube, like I was, you didn’t see a lot of Juolevi, because he plays a style of game that doesn’t lend itself well to a broadcast.
However, those in attendance, like Sportsnet Canucks columnist Thomas Drance, were convinced he was the best player on the ice throughout the game.
From a YouTube viewer point of view, it looked like free-agent signing Troy Stecher was the best defenseman on the ice. He did a phenomenal job leading the breakout and moving the puck up the ice, something the Canucks sorely missed from the blue line this year. He also showed his ability on the defensive end, stealing the puck from an Oilers forward and creating an offensive chance for himself at the other end.
Up front, it was clear the Canucks didn’t have the firepower to match up with the Oilers. That shouldn’t be a huge worry for Canucks fans because a lot of their young forwards are already on the NHL roster.
That said, there were still forwards that impressed. Marc-Olivier Roy, a former Oilers second-round pick, had the lone goal. Curtis Valk was able to shine as well. He seemed like he was everywhere on the ice, playing the point on the first power-play unit, centre on the penalty kill and created one of the best scoring chances for the Canucks near the midway point of the second period.