It might be hard to believe, but the Vancouver Canucks are back in the win column.
The team made their way to Montreal on Monday night, facing off against the equally disappointing Canadiens to wrap up the second half of their most recent back-to-back. It had been a dismal road trip for the Canucks heading into the Bell Centre, having lost their first three games while also being outscored by a margin of 14-5.
But if there ever was a moment to turn the road trip around, Monday’s match-up was it, and the Canucks made sure to take it past the finish line.
The team peppered Montreal with 42 shots on net, including 22 in the middle frame, while also outhustling their opponents for good chunks of the game to help secure the much-needed, but also possibly far too late, two points against the Bergevin-less Habs.
With the win, Vancouver remained right where they were in the standings, showing how underwhelming and predictable the club has been in the month of November. The Canucks will go into the final contest of this five-game road trip with a 7-14-2 record, good for dead last in the Pacific Division and 28th in the entire league.
But, no matter how Wednesday’s game goes, at least the Canucks and, more importantly, the fanbase, can take comfort in the fact that the team won’t be going winless during this road trip.
Without further ado, here are three takeaways from Vancouver’s 2-1 win over Montreal:
Pettersson, Garland lead the offensive charge
Like their much-needed win, it was a much-anticipated sigh of relief to see Elias Pettersson put up a strong performance on Monday night.
The young Swede, who entered the Bell Centre on a nine game goalless drought, had been struggling mightily these past few weeks, looking like a shell of his former electric self. As a result, Pettersson once again found himself on the third line, centering a trio of Vasily Podkolzin and Justin Dowling that was destined to see limited even-strength ice time.
However, despite the demotion, Pettersson appeared alive and even somewhat rejuvenated to start the first period. The 23-year-old even drew a tripping penalty in the offensive zone, and he made sure to take advantage of the infraction right away.
After a clean faceoff win from captain Bo Horvat, the puck eventually found its way to Quinn Hughes at the point. Without hesitation, just like we were so accustomed to seeing before, Hughes immediately fed the puck to Pettersson, who sent a rocket past Jake Allen.
The tally marked Pettersson’s third powerplay goal of the season, and just his seventh powerplay point all season, two statistics that aren’t exactly eye-popping for the former 2017 first round selection, but it was still exciting to see Pettersson hit the scoresheet, especially since he only registered one assist in his last nine games.
Pettersson finished the evening with one goal, two SOG and one hit in 13:13 of ice time, which also included 1:39 on the man advantage.
It was also another strong road performance for Conor Garland.
The former Arizona Coyote found himself on the second line with Horvat and Tanner Pearson on Monday night, looking to pick up right where he left off in Boston. As expected, Garland put his quick movements and bulldog tenacity on full display at the Bell Centre, making lives difficult for any Montreal player with the puck.
Like Pettersson, Garland also had difficulty putting the puck in the back of the net these past few weeks, posting a 10-game goalless drought between October 26th and November 14th. However, it has appeared that the 25-year-old has rediscovered his scoring touch as of late, and that good fortune carried over into Monday night.
Garland broke the deadlock in the second frame with his seventh goal of the season, large in part to a nifty cross-ice pass from Horvat after intercepting the puck along the boards.
Garland’s tally marked his fourth in seven games, and would also go on to be his third game-winning goal of the year.
No other player on the roster has registered more than one this season.
Garland finished the evening with one goal and a team-leading five shots in just under 14 minutes of ice time. Over the past seven contests, he also sits atop the shot department with 34.
If the Canucks want any hope of turning this season around, they’ll need Garland to continue to perform the way he has so far.