What happened and thoughts on the game
As said in my last article, the Canucks defence needed to step up in the next few games with Hughes out but that is a tough ask.
Unfortunately, the Coyotes were breezing by the Canucks defence and invading the Vancouver zone like the coyotes taking over Stanley Park. Looks like that is going to be life without Hughes.
The Canucks were giving up a lot of rushes and the Coyotes forwards were easily getting by the defenders. The Canucks gave up six high danger chances in the first period alone. On the night, they gave up 13. Against Arizona, that isn’t a good look.
Fortunately, Thatcher Demko was there to save the day. Fresh off the All-Star Game, Demko didn’t let the Las Vegas hangover get to him. Like he has done all season, he was making the big saves, especially with the blocker and pads. Demko made 35 saves and Lawson Crouse was the only Coyote to beat him.
Demko made two brilliant saves off Riley Nash and stopped Clayton Kellar on a partial breakaway. No wonder he is an All-Star.
The lack of offence has plagued the Canucks and they really needed to get going especially guys like Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser and Garland. Well, the offence and the power play woke up and after a sluggish first period, the Canucks looked much better in the second.
Garland got it started with a snipe past Karel Vejmelka after a nice pass from Juulsen. Garland has struggled offensively recently and that was his first point in seven games. It must have felt sweet for him to end the drought against his old team.
Bo Horvat also needs to step up the offence and he got a goal on the power play which he deflected Ekman-Larsson’s point shot off his knee. Ekman-Larsson is a lot better on the top of the blue line rather than on the side. That was also his second of three assists against his former team. It would be great to see OEL unlock more offence with Hughes out.
Pettersson was reunited with Vasily Podkolzin and Nils Höglander and I think should be kept together. Pettersson was also moved back to centre after playing the wing for a couple of games. He is much better at centre. Pettersson looked more involved playing down the middle and looks more creative and that is where he is at his best.
Pettersson also got back on the scoresheet after receiving a slick pass from Podkolzin on the rush.
Pettersson has eight points, including six goals, in his last ten games in case you are wondering.
The fourth goal was just insane stuff from J.T. Miller. This has to be a contender for goal of the year. In fact, this is Miller’s second highlight-reel goal of the season as he scored a similar one against the Ottawa Senators on December 1.
Here he starts from behind Demko’s net and just goes coast-to-coast. I guess that skyrockets his trade value.
Expect to be on the highlight reels over the next few days. What a goal.
Boeser also got on the scoresheet on the power play. There was some great puck movement and passing on the man advantage and it went two-for-two on the night. Pettersson makes a great pass (at first glance, it looked like a shot.) to Boeser who tips it home.
Boeser was second on the Canucks in Corsi For with 58.33% according to NaturalStatTrick.
The first period could have been better and the Canucks defence still let the Coyotes get good chances but it was great to see production defencemen such as Ekman-Larsson and Juulsen as well as Garland, Boeser and Pettersson score. Sure, the Coyotes are a bad team but they were getting good looks offensively and looked dangerous on the rush.