Höglander leads the way; Myers, Ekman-Larsson strong on the backend
Höglander’s shoulders are probably pretty sore from carrying the team on his back at T-Mobile Arena.
The young Swede easily played his best game of the year on Saturday night, once again proving why he’s one of Vancouver’s best forwards in the line-up.
For most of the season, Höglander found his success alongside Pearson and Bo Horvat, but was able to adapt with Miller down the middle instead, contributing the primary assist on the team’s opening goal.
Like we’ve seen all year, Höglander continued to put his energy and speed on full display every time he hit the ice, battling hard against the boards and going up against much-larger opponents for the remainder of the night.
It wasn’t a perfect game for Höglander, whose poor clearing attempt ultimately led to Vegas’s third goal of the contest, but give credit to the kid for bouncing back.
Höglander finished the night with two goals and one assist, marking the first three-point performance of his young career. In particular, fans were able to witness different sides of Hoglander’s game on each of his goals.
The former 2019 second round selection showcased his never-ending tenacity on his first goal, never giving up on the play after the puck squeaked through the pads of Robin Lehner. Höglander also gave us a glimpse of his sick mitts, kicking the puck from skate to stick before burying the rebound in the yawning cage.
Given the final results, we wouldn’t be surprised if Green once again puts his lines in a blender before Sunday’s contest in Anaheim. Fortunately for fans, it appears that Höglander will continue to produce no matter who he plays with.
Let’s start with OEL.
The former Arizona Coyote has performed well since moving from the desert, giving Vancouver a formidable one-two punch on the left side of the blueline with Quinn Hughes.
No, Ekman-Larsson hasn’t exactly lit up the scoresheet in his first 15 games with Vancouver, only registering one goal and two assists so far, but the 30-year-old continues to lead in other ways, which was once again evident on Saturday night.
Ekman-Larsson didn’t hesitate to jump into the fight in the first period after Vegas blueliner Brayden McNabb took a run at Russian rookie Vasily Podkolzin, something we haven’t seen from this team for much of the season, especially on Thursday. Unfortunately, Ekman-Larsson was on the wrong end of the outcome, receiving his second double minor in as many games, but it’s heartening to see your veteran players stand up for the young guns.
Ekman-Larsson finished the evening with one SOG, one hits and two blocked shots in just under 20 minutes of ice time, including 2:13 on the powerplay and 2:47 shorthanded.
Now onto Myers.
Like we’ve seen all year, and for majority of his time in Vancouver, Myers did have some glaring faults on Saturday, particularly on Vegas’s third and seventh goals of the contest, but the former Winnipeg Jet still deserves some praise.
Myers has been carrying the defensive load on the right side of the blueline for much of the season, and it didn’t get much easier on Saturday night. With both Travis Hamonic and Tucker Poolman unavailable in Vegas, the coaching staff had to roll with Kyle Burroughs and Madison Bowey on the bottom-two pairings, ultimately adding more responsibility onto Myers’ plate.
As a result, the 31-year-old logged big minutes on Saturday, finishing just behind Hughes for the second-highest TOI with 23:30. He also led the way with 5:46 on the penalty kill.
Say what you want about Myers and his chaotic play with the puck, but the big man definitely hasn’t been Vancouver’s biggest problem to start the season.