Game Recap: Canucks Fail To Dethrone Golden Knights

VANCOUVER, CANADA - MARCH 21: Elias Pettersson #40 and Thatcher Demko #35 of the Vancouver Canucks defends against Brett Howden #21 of the Vegas Golden Knights during the second period of their NHL game at Rogers Arena on March 21, 2023 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Derek Cain/Getty Images)
VANCOUVER, CANADA - MARCH 21: Elias Pettersson #40 and Thatcher Demko #35 of the Vancouver Canucks defends against Brett Howden #21 of the Vegas Golden Knights during the second period of their NHL game at Rogers Arena on March 21, 2023 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Derek Cain/Getty Images) /

The big game was a little too big for the Vancouver Canucks, falling 4-1 to the Vegas Golden Knights. The Golden Knights took an early lead and never looked back. Vegas now has a comfortable three-point lead over the Canucks in the Pacific Division standings. 

The Golden Knights were dominant tonight, outshooting the Canucks in each period and doubling their total shots on goal. While Thatcher Demko is probably disappointed with his performance tonight, he still managed to stop forty of the forty-four shot attempts he faced.

The Dakota Joshua-Teddy Blueger-Conor Garland line continues to impress, generating immense pressure in the offensive zone. Joshua has a big body, and he knows how to use it. Whether he’s completed a body check or using his frame to box out defenders along the boards, he uses his leverage to retrieve any loose puck.

First Period

This game started with some back-and-forth pressure from both teams, with some early shots on goal on either end. Less than five minutes into the game, we saw the first high-danger scoring chance for the Golden Knights.

After a wild scramble in front of the net with four Golden Knights having the puck on their stick in front of the net, Mark Stone shoots it wide right to Jack Eichel. The creative centreman wants the chaos to continue by throwing it to the front of the net, deflecting off Demko’s lost stick and right to Ivan Barbashev. The Russian power-forward makes no mistake, sneaking the puck through Demko’s five-hole for the game’s opening goal.

The Canucks tried replicating the gritty Golden Knight play style by making it their mission to throw the body early. Noah Juulsen had a noticeable shift throwing his weight around after a Canuck powerplay.

Paul Cotter was racing down the left wing where Juulsen met him and nearly put him into the Canucks bench. Later in that shift, he laid another big hit on William Karlsson and eventually was the one to clear the puck out of the zone. With more shifts like this from Juulsen, it will be hard to take him out of the lineup when the blue line gets healthy. 

J.T. Miller has been nothing short of outstanding for the Canucks this season; until this play later in the first period. After losing the puck on a failed zone entry, he chases Barbashev back the other way until he realizes he cannot catch up.

At this point, you can see his frustration level in his lack of effort on the back check. Miller’s lackadaisical play allows Barbashev to find an open space at the side of the net, allowing him to make the perfect cross-crease pass to Eichel and in the back of the net. Canucks trail 2-0 after the first period.

Second Period

The Canucks come out swinging for the first half of the second period. While both teams registered six shots on goal, Vancouver had double the shot attempts of Vegas. The Canucks showed they were a competent opponent for the Golden Knights, but the constant pressure wasn’t enough to crack Adin Hill.

Garland and Joshua’s connection continues to grow. After a wild scramble of their own in front of the net, Garland finds himself stick-handling the puck in Gretzky’s office. Garland spins one way and fires a backhand pass, which deflects off Brayden McNabb’s stick and right to Joshua at the front of the net.

The creativity from Garland to get the goalie moving and looking one way, only to find the open man on the backdoor, is entertaining to watch. The play resulted in Joshua firing it right into Hill’s midsection.

Tyler Myers gets called for an unfortunate holding penalty when Paul Cotter runs into him, and they both go down to the ice. Not shortly after, William Karlsson gets the puck on the half wall, picks his spot and extends the Vegas lead to 3-0.

The score would remain the same heading into the third period.

Third Period

An unusual start to the third period for the Golden Knights as backup goalie Logan Thompson led the team out. Adin Hill was removed from the game due to a lower-body injury, which later came out as a precautionary move by the Golden Knights.

All hopes for a Canucks comeback quickly diminished with a Brett Howden goal sixteen seconds into the period.

Off an offensive zone faceoff win from Howden, Pietrangelo takes a wrist shot from the point that deflects off the centreman’s stick and passed Demko. Canucks now trail 4-0.

This goal took the wind out of the Canucks sails. The rest of the period seemed like both teams were waiting for the game to finish.

The lone bright spot for the Canucks tonight was recently scratched Andrei Kuzmenko found the scoresheet after eleven straight games without a goal.

After winning a neutral zone battle for the loose puck, Miller and Kuzmenko escaped on a two-on-one. Miller sends a saucer pass to Kuzmenko, who catches Thompson out of position and snipes it right by him for the Canucks first and only goal of the game.


It’s clear that Canucks coach Rick Tocchet isn’t happy with his lines. Throughout the game, we saw several combinations of lines, with the only one staying intact being the Joshua-Blueger-Garland line.

One player I’ve noticed getting a substantial opportunity is Nils Hoglander. Coach Tocchet tried out Hoglander on the second line with Miller and Boeser last game and continued to sprinkle him on that line again in this game.

Phil Di Giuseppe showed a connection on this line last season but hasn’t been able to maintain that production. Hoglander has been excelling in his fourth-line role, registering four more goals and two more points than Di Giuseppe in two fewer games.

Expect Tocchet to make the permanent switch sooner rather than later. With the recent Nikita Zadorov trade, I’d anticipate the Canucks to focus on finding a consistent second-line winger to consider themselves contenders.

The Canuck Way
The Canuck Way /

Want your voice heard? Join the The Canuck Way team!

Write for us!

Canucks Bets, Recap:

We sweep our second article in our first two weeks. The brick wall Thatcher Demko comes through for us, nearly clearing his 26.5 line in the second period. The Vezina candidate ended with forty saves, cashing our half-unit ladder play to 30+ saves.

Pietrangelo continues his dominance in Rogers Arena, registering two assists on the four Golden Knight goals.

Last Game Recap: 3-0 +2.41 units.

All Time Record: 15-12 +0.98 units.