Well, that was different for the Vancouver Canucks.
The team kicked off a three-game road trip on Wednesday night, facing off against Nathan MacKinnon and the Colorado Avalanche at Ball Arena.
It hadn’t been the best start to the week for the Canucks, who blew yet another multi-goal lead en route to another disappointing loss against the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday, giving both the fans and media even less to be excited about as the season drags on.
However, despite Monday’s third period collapse (the seventh one of the season, might we add), Vancouver still appeared optimistic to flip the switch against the defending Stanley Cup champions.
Let’s start with the line-up.
Much to the delight of the fanbase, the biggest addition took place on the blueline, with head coach Bruce Boudreau finally bringing back Kyle Burroughs to the third pair in lieu of Riley Stillman.
The bench boss also made a change in the crease, opting to start Spencer Martin between the pipes over Thatcher Demko. Both goaltenders have put up subpar underlying numbers this season, but there’s no question that Martin has been the better of the two in this tandem, forcing Boudreau to make the decision of once again benching his supposed starter, who was at the helm during Monday’s loss against Vegas.
As expected, it was a fast-paced, high-energy contest against the Avalanche, with players like MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Cale Makar showing exactly why they’re three of the best in the entire game.
The Canucks did manage to strike first in the contest, and very early on to boot, thanks to Ilya Mikheyev’s fifth tally of the season. The Avalanche, as expected, responded right away, with two goals from Rantanen in the latter half of the opening frame to give his team a lead heading into the first intermission.
Enter Bo Horvat.
Like we’ve seen so often this season, the captain stepped up when his team needed him to, burying his 16th goal of the year to bring the game even again. With the goal, Horvat is now tied with Connor McDavid and Jason Robertson for the most goals amongst all players.
Alas, the Avalanche made sure to find a way to respond, with Makar notching a powerplay tally to restore his team’s one-goal with under five minutes to go in the middle frame.
Now at this point, it would’ve been typical for Canucks fans to lose all faith in this team.
Only 20 minutes left to notch at least two more goals against one of the best teams in the league, while also making sure that they don’t create any offence of their own against one of the most expensive, yet also most painfully-flawed blueline? That doesn’t sound too fun to watch.
But, against all odds, Vancouver managed to flip the switch, with Sheldon Dries and Ethan Bear leading the offensive charge en route to the 4-3 final score in Denver.
Both Dries and Bear finished the game with two points apiece, while Martin stopped 33 of 36 pucks thrown at him, bringing his overall record to 5-1-1 with a .901 SV% and 3.42 GAA.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson was the other player who recorded a multi-point night with two assists, while Elias Pettersson extended his point streak to four games with an apple of his own.
With the win, Vancouver improved their record to 7-10-3, bringing them tied for fifth in the Pacific Division with the San Jose Sharks.
The Canucks are now off for a few days until their Saturday night rematch against Vegas at T-Mobile Arena. Puck drop is set for 7:00pm PST.
What are your thoughts from Wednesday’s win in Colorado? Let us know in the comments!