Third Period and Extra Time: Becoming the Vegas Golden Knights
It’s the last game recap of the season, so let’s get right down to the goals. There were three in the final frame after a scoreless second.
The first came from a point shot which Martin had absolutely no chance on as Evander Kane stepped right in front of his eyes as soon as the shot left the Edmonton defender’s stick.
And just like that, we were back at even, until a beautiful play by none other than Quinn Hughes, who allowed Garland to pick up the puck and drive in short side to slip a soft goal past Koskinen. That marked Garland’s 48th even-strength point of the year.
Hold your horses, it wasn’t done yet. The Oilers scored a nearly identical goal to their first to tie the game for a second straight time. Darn those point shots through traffic!
The way the Oilers packed it on in the final minutes of play made it seem like Vancouver wasn’t even going to make it to overtime. But wait, who gave Thatcher Demko Martin’s jersey? My oh my, some of the saves Martin was turning aside, can only be described as devilish. This contributor doesn’t know what the scouting report was on Martin, but the Oilers were taking every last opportunity to try to deke the goaltender out glove side.
Nevertheless, in true Canucks fashion, Vancouver ended up going back to OT on back-to-back nights. On the upside, Martin is officially unbeaten in regulation. Yet another player the Abbotsford Canucks will be able to run with for a deep playoff push in their first quest for the Calder Cup Trophy.
No surprise here, Boudreau rolls with Miller off the draw, and on his first shift of the extra frame, he had a golden opportunity to jam it home for his 100th point. After that, the game got really sloppy, and the kind of sloppy that creates breakaways, odd-man rushes, and uncontrollable heart palpitations.
The first close call came on an Edmonton 2-on-1, which Hughes came back and magically defended without a stick by doing a pad stack. Could you imagine that move in a black skate jersey?
After that display of magic, the final 15 seconds were met with a 1-on-1 showdown between Martin and an Edmonton defender after Martin got caught out of his net trying to play a 50/50 puck. Thankfully, he recovered beautifully with a left toe save, sending the game to a shootout.
Of course, game 82 was going to end in the exact same score as game 1. However, the question remained, which team would walk away with the upper hand? Miller may have been stifled at 99 points, but the Canucks could still help Boudreau reach 600.
Without Draisatil or McDavid to fall back on in the shootout, Vancouver had the edge. But, there is just something about the last game of the season that turns everything on its head. In an ironic series of events, Vancouver was unable to score on any of their six attempts – sounds pretty similar to what happened to a certain division rival, hm?
And just like that, the Canucks season is done.
Vancouver finished the year with 92 points, tying them for the franchise record for most points in a season without making the playoffs. Since Boudreau took over, the Canucks have been on pace for 106 points, more than what the Oilers finished with tonight.
Now, management will have to make some tough decisions in the summer to resign Brock Boeser and captain Bo Horvat, and see what they can make of Miller’s trade value. Will they send the leading scorer packing for some picks and prospects or will they wait until the forward’s final year of his contract next offseason?
It wasn’t a picture-perfect year by any means, but the Canucks are one giant step closer to becoming a playoff team, something that was thrown completely out of question last year. Special teams have been operating well, key role players have made all the difference, and for the first time since the duo of Jacob Markstrom and Demko, the Canucks seem to have some reliable top-notch goaltender.
Fans will have to wait another 82 games to see how the Canucks will stack up next season, but if Vancouver can get off to a good start, they have a legitimate shot at playing summer hockey instead of golf come next year.
What are your thoughts from Friday’s 3-2 shootout win in Edmonton? Let us know in the comments!