Vancouver Canucks: 3 takeaways from 8-5 win vs. Boston Bruins

BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 8: Jacob Markstrom #25 of the Vancouver Canucks celebrates his win against the Boston Bruins at the TD Garden on November 8, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 8: Jacob Markstrom #25 of the Vancouver Canucks celebrates his win against the Boston Bruins at the TD Garden on November 8, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Well, that was only the most exciting regular season game for the Vancouver Canucks in years. No Brock Boeser. One assist from Elias Petterson. And they will won 8-5. Here’s what we learned.

At some point, you really have to wonder if the 2018-19 Vancouver Canucks are really going to repeat their previous history of starting out hot, only to unravel once December and January roll around.

This mentally tough team keeps finding ways to win, but their 8-5 drubbing of the rival Boston Bruins was on another level of dominance and excellence. Brock Boeser didn’t play, and rookie star Elias Pettersson only had one assist.

Instead, the Canucks got two goals and an assists from the struggling Loui Eriksson. Blueliners Ben Hutton and Erik Gudbranson each contributed a goal and an assist. Antoine Roussel added his third of the season.

Unexpected heroes helped Vancouver sweep the season series against the Bruins, even forcing Jaroslav Halak out after allowing five goals on 19 shots.

The Canucks now sit at 10-6-1 on the season, leading the Pacific Division as they prepare for an early Saturday road game against the Buffalo Sabres. For now, let’s examine three takeaways from this monumental victory.

1. Scoring by committee continues

Vancouver has scored 56 goals on the season, second-most in the NHL. Only the Tampa Bay Lightning have more with 58. But considering that Pettersson and Boeser have missed ample time, it’s still pretty impressive that only one team has outscored the Canucks thus far.

More from The Canuck Way

The Canucks got scoring all the roster on Thursday, and the Bruins were left baffled and stunned. The offence was led by future captain Bo Horvat, who had two goals and a pair of assists to lead the way. Somebody’s on pace for a career year.

Nikolay Goldobin — who’s been met with plenty of criticism thus far — did his job with a pair of assists. The aforementioned Gudbranson and Hutton each had two points, even though scoring is the last thing in the former’s job description.

Jake Virtanen scored another goal to stay red hot. With Eriksson scoring twice, fans can only hope that the 33-year-old will regain his confidence in some form. Eriksson had a good day against his former team, and more efforts like this will go a long way.

Oh, and Markus Granlund chipped in with a pair of assists to join the scoring party. It really was quite the effort on offence. And if the secondary doesn’t stop, Vancouver will stay in the playoff race throughout the season.

2. Canucks shut down Boston’s top stars again

I wrote in the game preview that Vancouver’s key to a victory was to shut down Boston’s big line of Brad Marchand David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron. And shut it down the Canucks did, for the most part.

Old friend Marchand was held to one assist and registered just one shot on goal. Bergeron scored Boston’s second goal, but was held off the score sheet after that. Pastrnak didn’t have any points and was limited to two shots on net. The Canucks also shut down Boston’s line in their previous meeting at Rogers Arena, which was instrumental in the 2-1 overtime win.

Related Story. No, Brian Burke, the Vancouver Canucks are not buyers. light

That’s been a key part of Vancouver’s success this season. They kept the Pittsburgh Penguins’ top stars in the Oct. 16 meeting, too. They shut down the Tampa Bay Lightning’s league-leading offence back in their 4-1 Oct. 11 road win.

The Canuck blue line has made a handful of mistakes, sure. Maybe the team is overachieving a bit. But credit these guys for finding ways to shut down the opposition’s top stars. Few teams ever experience such success against the Bergeron-Pastrnak-Marchand line. Vancouver kept them out of it in both meetings this season. Hopefully, the Canuck defencemen can tune in more efforts like this against the opponent’s top line.

3. Jacob Markstrom stays hot

Jacob Markstrom did give up five goals in this contest, but he can’t be blamed for it. The first one saw Bruins’ blueliner Matt Grzelcyk walk down the slot — with all day to shoot — and rifle it over Markstrom. That’s not on the goalie for letting a guy score, when he was wide open with nobody on him.

The second goal saw Bergeron left in front of the net for an easy goal. Nobody on him. Not Markstrom’s fault. Jake Debrusk deserves credit for a great tip-in on Boston’s fourth goal. He was right in front of the net for the finish. Again, not on Markstrom.

Markstrom made some big saves in the third period on Boston’s power play, including an unbelievable glove safe off Marchand on a one timer. He did his job to protect the Vancouver lead, and Markstrom notched his seventh win of the season.

Next. Vancouver Canucks: Power rankings after five weeks. dark

The 28-year-old is now 4-0-1 in his last five starts, propelling the Canucks to first place in the Pacific Division. Now, if Markstrom can just find consistency, he could be a legitimate No. 1 goalie down the stretch.