Game 2 Canucks Lead Series 2-0 After 4-3 OT Win
Game 2 of the best of 7 series between the Vancouver Canucks and St. Louis Blues. An afternoon affair from Rogers Place in Edmonton Alberta with a 3:30 Pacific time start, 4:30 from Edmonton. The Canucks came in with a 1-0 series lead after a 5-2 win against the defending Stanley Cup Champions.
The teams looked pretty even through two periods and were tied 2-2 going into the 3rd period. Vancouver would score 3 straight starting with a Troy Stecher goal before Captain Bo Horvat and Finally, J.T. Miller got a late powerplay goal. Check out more from game one in my recap right here for Sports Talk Line.
Vancouver made make no changes to the lineup from game one. It was confirmed by pretty much everyone that J.T. took the pre-game skate. The teams were going different directions as the Canucks had won 4 straight while the Blues have lost 4 straight.
St. Louis would make 2 changes to the lineup with Alex Steen and Sammy Blais slotting in. Head coach Craig Berube was looking for more physicality and experience in game two. Jordan Binnington is always great after a loss and Friday afternoon was no different. Both goalies needed to be sharp and quick.
Canucks and Captian Bo Horvat Took Over The 1st Period vs Blues
It was a scramble start to the first period. Jacob Markstrom and Jordan Binnington were called upon early to make big saves for their respective teams. Both the Canucks and Blues came out physical and despite the early whistles were trying to roll all four lines to get into the game.
The Whistles would continue as the teams would parade to the penalty box. Alex Edler was first off taking a tripping penalty on Vladimir Tarasenko 3:02 into the period. St. Loius was able to test Markstrom 3 times and Jay Beagle had a key block but Vancouver was able to kill it off. The Blues were next when Jaden Schwartz hooked Stecher shortly after they were off the powerplay.
The Canucks had some nice passing on the man advantage but weren't able to get the finish on the final pass. The second unit would come on and Antione Roussel would take Vancouver off the powerplay after slashing, soft call, Oskar Sundqvist. The teams would skate 4 on 4 shortly before Bo Horvat did this...
Short-Handed the captain went around the two blues forwards who were back and beat Binnington. I thought his goal last game was going to be the best we see from him this playoff but I guess not. He would lead the Canucks with 3 shots in the first period. The Canucks had another chance shortly after when Tyler Myers made a nice play, yes he makes nice plays, down the wing. He faked the shot and found Tyler Motte in front of the net. He couldn't get it through the mob of people in front and the ref blew the play dead.
Jacob Markstrom was solid in the first period making saves on Jaden Schwartz and Colton Parayko to keep it 1-0. Tarasenko had a great chance off a Stecher turnover but fired it over the net. Vancouver would get the majority of the chances with 9 high danger chances to the Blues 3 but was outshot 12-10. Jake Virtanen had limited ice time with the penalties but almost set up a late period goal.
Canucks and Blues Second Period Of Penalties
The second period Canucks and Blues was slowed down heavily by penalties. Both teams would take advantage of the powerplay with the Blues getting the first chance. J.T. Miller had no complaints about his slashing call on Tarasenko at 1:51 into the period. Beagle was strong on the penalty kill and able to block some shots. Scandella was saved by the glove of Markstrom who was looking strong.
The Canucks looked to make it 2-0 when J.T. was sprung out of the box and deked past Jordan Binnington. Head coach Craig Berube was quick with the offside challenge and Millers' foot was off the ice. The goal was called back but St. Louis would keep up on the attack. O'Reilly was stopped on the doorstep by Markstrom before Jake Virtanen took a slashing call on Perron. 5:52 into the period the Blues would go back to the powerplay.
St. Louis wasn't able to score on the powerplay but shots were 5-0 at this point in the period. Vancouver wasn't able to manage a shot until 11 minutes into the period. The pace slowed a bit before Alex Steen took a hooking penalty on Tyler Motte. The Canucks lead series 2-0 and the powerplay was a big part of things. Halfway through the powerplay while Vancouver was in the middle of a change they worked it in and Petey found Tanner Pearson. He made it 2-0 for real for the Canucks.
Things would get physical between the Canucks and Blues as a battle of what Zack, Zach was the right spelling ensued. Zack MacEwen and Zach Sanford jarred off the face-off and had a quick tilt. Zack prevailed but things would continue after a bad hit by Sammy Blais on Brandon Sutter. Jay Beagle took exception and ran him, he got a double minor for roughing while Blais only got 2 minutes.
The Blues would go on their 6th powerplay of the game and Captain Ryan O'Reilly would score his first of the series. A nice pass from Perron and O'Reilly was able to fake out Edler and walk around him and beat Markstrom for the goal to make it 2-1. Vancouver was unable to use its skill players like Pettersson and Hughes with all the penalties. After the second period, they had 9:52 and 11:22 respectively. Shots were 25-16 for the St. Louis Blues.
3rd Period Could Have Been A Time To Turn Over And Die
Canucks could have let the third period of Friday nights game deflate them. Tyler Myers took a hit from behind by Brayden Schenn and went down akwardly into the boards. After some nervous minutes he was able to skate off but headed down the tunnel and did not return. Canucks lead series 2-0 but could have lost Myers for a while. The teams would trade chances before Perron would take an interference penalty on Pettersson.
Finally, the refs called a cross-checking penalty! Vancouver would go to work and after a J.T. Miller shot broke Justin Faulks stick Boeser and Petey made them pay. Justin Faulk had to get a stick and was second behind getting back to the Alien. The puck was tipped up and Pettersson whacked it into the back of the net and Vancouver had the 3-1 lead.
Minutes later the Blues would press and cause Markstrom and Edler to make mistakes. First Markstrom tried to play the puck up instead of back which he did several times in the game. It came to Edler and he threw it right up the middle and it was picked off by Sammy Blais. He walked in and beat Markstrom to make it 3-2 for Canucks and Blues.
Loui Eriksson once again looked good and had a chance after the goal but was stopped by Binnington. The 4th line would help slow things up with a nice shift which seemed to buy Vancouver sometime. The Canucks seemed happy at that point to pack it in and hope Markstrom could make the saves. To their credit, they were keeping the majority of shots to the outside.
The Canucks lead series 2-0 but almost gave up the game late. After the Blues pulled their goalie with 2:06 to go and looked like the more aggressive team. They would continue to press and after an icing with 38.9 to go St. Louis would tie things up. A shot by Pietrangelo was tipped down in and past Markstrom but initially called high sticking. After review, it was determined it was a good goal and we had us a tie game.
Vancouver would be in for some overtime hockey on a Friday night in game two. They would need to come out strong for the Canucks lead series 2-0 and they did. Myers would not return for Vancouver so they would be shorthanded on the defensive end.
Canucks Lead Series 2-0 After Rallying In OT
The Canucks and Blues would need overtime to settle things. Unfortunately for Vancouver, it didn't end as quickly as their last over time with the Wild. Despite Tanev having an early chance. The play was in the St. Loius end for the first couple minutes and Marco Scandella had to make a great clearance after a shot looked like it might trickle in.
The Canucks lead series 2-0 after they made sure they didn't let the overtime go on too long. The Blues would have a chance on a scramble but Elias Pettersson would make the two patty stack save on Perron and the Canucks would look to capitalize. Hughes would skate down the puck and that's where it would stay for the next couple minutes. The Blues would try and put pressure on the Canucks but Hughes would make a beautiful pass to Bo Horvat.
The Captain would move in on the breakaway and deke past Binnington. Game 4-3 and the Canucks take 2-0 series lead thanks to a wonderful game by Horvat. Canucks and Blues looked to be again evenly matched but the Star players showed up for Vancouver when it mattered.
The Blues won the shot battle 37-25 but Markstrom seems to play better when he is under a barrage of shots. There will be more line up questions for Craig Berube after this one. With back to back games will he go with Jake Allen over Jordan Binnington? Will Travis Green go with Jacob Markstrom or Thatcher Demko? Who are we kidding he is going with Markstrom.
"This is where I want to be back in the Stanley Cup playoffs." Horvat would say post-game as the Canucks lead series 2-0. "I had a chance in overtime and luckily we played well enough to win."
Quinn Hughes was limited from his usual ice time after the injury to Tyler Myers in the third period. He only played 19:37 but that should mean he will be fresh on Sunday. The Blues might be in panic mode if they weren't the defending Stanley Cup Champions. Yes, it is tough to come back from 2-0 down in a series but if any team can do it they can. Things were a nightmare if you were a goalie looking at the heatmap.
The Blues will need more from Tarasenko who once again had chances tonight but couldn't score and kept his cold streak alive. A St. Louis player that was able to end his cold streak was Ryan O'Reilly and that isn't a player that you want to wake up if you are Vancouver after the Canucks lead series 2-0 series.
Sports Talk Line Has You Covered As Canucks Lead Series 2-0
The Canucks lead series 2-0 against the Blues they will have one day before getting back at things. The teams will play back to back Sunday and Monday for Games 3 and 4. If Tyler Myers is unable to go for Vancouver than expect Jordie Benn to draw in after having some time back on the ice with the team.
A team like the Blues will be happy to keep on crashing in on every dump in. A 7 game series is a battle of attrition and though the Canucks lead series 2-0. There are 2 more games they need to win. It would be smart for the Canucks to try and end things as quickly as possible.
Game 3 goes Sunday and make sure to check out Sports Talk Line where we will have you covered on our Website and YouTube Channel. Also, make sure to follow me on Twitter for the latest news during and after the game.
The Vancouver Canucks could make a big run here with a 2-0 series lead in the Western Conference Quarterfinals. It will depend on if they want to step on the gas peddle to give the Blues some room for air.