Thoughts on the game
In the early stages of the game, it was all Minnesota.
The Canucks were stuck in their own zone and the Wild were winning pretty much all the board battle for the first five or six minutes as John Garrett pointed out on the broadcast. However, they managed to get some good zone time themselves and Cam Talbot had to be sharp.
Vancouver got some good looks on the rush and they were moving the puck well in the first period. They even got a four-minute power play thanks to Kirill Kaprizov getting his stick in Brad Richardson’s face and he was bloody.
I’m not blaming the refs for the loss by any means here but how was this not called? It looked like Kevin Fiala slew-footed Thatcher Demko and the refs were not interested in making the call. Why? We’ll never know.
In the second, the goals started to come in bunches for both teams.
It was a rough night for the pairing of Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Tyler Myers. Both of them were on the ice for three of the Wild’s goals. Both of them were chasing the Wild forwards all night and let them get by easily as seen on Fiala’s first goal for example.
Elias Pettersson continued his great form. He joined Bo Horvat and J.T. Miller in the 30-goal club Thursday night and this is the first time the Canucks have had three 30-goal scorers since the 1995-96 season. Those players were Alexander Mogilny, Trevor Linden and Martin Gelinas.
Pettersson got two on the night or a brace as they would say in soccer. He and Conor Garland were connecting all night and the two of them were passing the puck well to each other.
It was an excellent pass from Garland and a bullet of a shot from Pettersson for the Canucks first goal.
Matthew Highmore also got on the score sheet after displaying good aggression to take advantage of Nicolas Deslauriers’ mistake.
The Canucks showed a lot of determination in the second period but Talbot was up to the task. Demko looked good too and made some key saves but he probably should’ve had the Wild’s third goal.
The Canucks seemed to have run out of gas in the third period as Minnesota decided to amp their energy up to 100.
They were knocking the Canucks off the puck easily and displayed a ton of speed entering the zone. The Wild seemed to pressure the Canucks in their own zone and it paid off as Fiala managed to get the game-winner as he just flew ahead of Brad Hunt
It seems like he always scores against Vancouver.
The Canucks were flat in the third, especially in the last 10 minutes or so. It was like they were put under a sleeping spell. They started a bit slow and quickly turned around and gave a good effort but that third period was the killer. There was some pressure late in the third but it wasn’t enough.
It was another important game and another loss. Despite the effort and Pettersson’s two goals, the gas ran out and it looks like the playoffs are not happening again in Vancouver.