The Vancouver Canucks are finally back in the win column.
After registering just two points during their recent three-game homestand, the team made their way to Manitoba, looking to gain some ground in the Pacific Division against Kyle Connor and the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night.
The Canucks delivered a strong game right from puck drop, battling hard against the boards and limiting Winnipeg’s scoring chances at even strength. The team was also very impressive on special teams, going 2-for-3 on the man advantage while also shutting down all three of their opponent’s powerplay opportunities en route to one of their most complete wins of the year.
With the victory, Vancouver now sits just three points back of San Jose for the second and final wild card spot in the Western Conference.
Here are three takeaways from Thursday’s 5-1 win in Winnipeg:
Miller, Boeser lead the way
With Bo Horvat and Tanner Pearson still on the team’s COVID-19 protocol list, head coach Bruce Boudreau was once again forced to juggle his line combinations on Thursday night, this time pairing up Miller and Boeser.
And what a decision that was.
The duo first connected in the opening frame, with Boeser delivering a perfect behind-the-net pass to Miller just 10 seconds into the powerplay.
Boeser and Miller continued their offensive connection into the middle frame, this time at even strength, with Boeser executing another perfect set-up to Miller, who wired the wrister past Connor Hellebuyck.
Miller didn’t waste any time completing the hattrick, beating Hellebuyck five-hole just 10 minutes later for his team-leading 15th goal of the campaign. This was just the third time that Miller has recorded two or more goals in a contest this season, but it also marked his 10th multiple-point outing.
Miller eventually returned the favour in the third period, registering the primary assist on Boeser’s powerplay tally to extend the team’s lead to three goals.
In the end, Miller and Boeser combined for seven points and eight shots on the night, carrying much of the offensive load for the Canucks. Miller also led the way amongst all forwards with a TOI of 18:35, including just over four minutes on the penalty kill.