Special teams finally turning around
If someone had told this writer that the Canucks would be able to drastically turn their special teams around in just two games under their new bench boss, he’d probably think you’re crazy.
But here we are.
Let’s start with the powerplay.
Boudreau stuck with the same units as Monday night, hoping that the repositioning and balanced offensive talent would help revive the once-lethal man advantage, which ranked 18th in the league heading into the Boston match-up.
The secondary unit, in particular, appeared to pick up right where they left off when on the ice.
After Marchand went to the penalty box for his questionable hit on Hamonic, the second unit made sure to take advantage. The players were able to set up in the offensive zone right away, cycling the puck with purpose and precision, which eventually led to Boeser deflecting a slick pass from Miller in the bumper position to open the scoring.
It was only Boeser’s sixth goal this season, but also for his second tally in as many games, which is an encouraging sign for the 24-year-old winger.
Like Boeser, the penalty kill also appeared to be quite rejuvenated on Wednesday night.
Boudreau once again relied on the services of eight different forwards on the penalty kill, including newcomers like Pettersson and Vasily Podkolzin, hoping that these players would be able to put in hard work for 20-30 seconds at a time, while also creating their own offensive opportunities if given the chance.
Once again, it seemed to work out really well for the Canucks.
The shorthanded squads went 3-for-4 on the penalty kill, which is an impressive feat on its own given that Boston’s man advantage currently ranks sixth-best in the league, but were also able to register a few grade-A scoring chances themselves, including two from Tyler Motte in the second period.
Of course, the penalty kill did still put up their struggles, particularly in the third period when Miller took an unnecessary tripping infraction when his team was already down a man. The Bruins were able to capitalize on the avoidable 5-on-3 right away, tying up the game with over 15 minutes left to play.
Usually, this would’ve been a nail in the coffin for the Canucks, especially given that Boston came back in the final frame, but give kudos to the team for not collapsing and regressing like we’ve become so accustomed to seeing this year.
The Canucks also bounced back with a huge penalty kill just a few minutes later, a hopeful stepping stone to help them climb out of the special teams basement.
- Thatcher Demko rang in his 26th birthday in style, stopping 35 of 36 shots faced on Wednesday night. Under Boudreau, Demko has only allowed one goal in six periods to go along with a 0.48 GAA and .985 SV%. He was also perfect in the shootout, stopping Pastrnak and Charlie Coyle to bring his record to 7-for-9 at Rogers Arena this season.
The Canucks will be back in action on Friday night, taking on Mark Scheifele and the Winnipeg Jets. Puck drop is set for 7:00pm PST.
What were your thoughts from Wednesday’s shootout win over Boston? Make sure to drop a comment below!