STL Audio Post
What they needed: A 2-1 Canucks vs Oilers victory… What they got: A 2-1 Canucks vs Oilers victory. Saturday night Vancouver was in dire need of a win. Every night from now on they would need to win! but with Calgary beating the Canadiens earlier in the evening this one could mean something.
The Canucks would go with Thatcher Demko who had been on fire. While Edmonton would go with Mikko Koskinen in the second of back-to-back games. It was a nervous day for Vancouver fans trying to navigate just who was going to be in the lineup for tonight’s game.
One thing for sure is “Little Things” Loui Eriksson would get back in with the absence of both Jay Beagle and Antoine Roussel. Zack MacEwen would also return to the lineup after a 6 game absence. I am sure it would make for a lot of excitement…
The Worlds Most Interesting 1st Period
This is a clear lie! this was a very low-event first period that saw the Oilers jump out with a couple of quick chances. Thatcher Demko was sharp early stopping Kailer Yamamoto on the Backhand 3:30 into the period. The Canucks would hit a post when Tanner Pearson’s shot was tipped off the leg of Jake Virtanen but that was as close as they would get. Vancouver finished the period with 4 shots, 4 scoring chances, and 1 high danger chance.
Edmonton would let Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl go to work like usual. McDavid had 4 shots in the period and almost banked one in off the back of Demko. Mikko Koskinen stopped all 4 shots he faced in a very comfortable period. The highlights for the Canucks were Alex Edler running over Yamamoto at the blue line and Zack MacEwen with a big hit that broke the glass.
Edmonton played last night so it made sense they came out with the jump. How flat Vancouver was to start was a surprise as every game is a must win if they want any chance of making the playoffs.
Canucks Grease One In For A Lead
Vancouver would give up an early two-on-one to start the period. Nate Schmidt had a good defensive game and played it perfectly sprawling to block the pass. Jesse Puljujarvi would take the first penalty of the night with a weak slashing call on Quinn Hughes. Once again the Canucks best chance was a post. This time Miller ripped a bouncing puck past Koskinen but dinged off the outside of the post. Vancouver would go 0/1 but seemed to tilt the ice a bit back in their direction.
They were even able to pin Connor McDavid in his own zone for a shift. After some back and forth play Nils Höglander was called for a weak holding penalty for Vancouver. He reached around Ethan Bear right in front of the referee and the dangerous Oilers powerplay went to work. McDavid would hit a post for Edmonton and they would manage 2 shots but could not beat Thatcher Demko.
I said the ice was starting to tilt for the Canucks and they were able to draw another powerplay. Brandon Sutter kept his legs moving and was able to draw a tripping call against Tyler Ennis at the 12:00 minute. The 1st unit was able to work it around a bit before things got Greasier than Danny Zuko’s hair. It was Greasier than the entire Outsiders crew. Greasier than Kramer covered in butter.
The goal was given to captain Bo Horvat for his 12th of the season. Tanner Pearson and J.T. Miller were given assists? I don’t know who was responsible for scoring that play but good on them. Vancouver had the 1-0 lead and I guess were rewarded. It wouldn’t last long as McDavid and the Oilers would step up the pressure. A shift in the Canucks zone leads to J.T. Miller losing his stick. He would try and pinch down on the boards on Tyler Ennis but was called for interference. Things would go from bad to worse when Alex Edler would take a cross-checking penalty to put the Oilers on the 5 on 3.
Vancouver was barely able to kill off the first penalty before Travis Hamonic would break his stick trying to defend. McDavid was able to get it to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in the high slot who quickly found Draisaitl. He would wire his 16th of the season past Demko and we were tied up one. The score would stay at one to end the period thanks to some more magic by Demko. He was able to make a fantastic stretching save with less than a minute to go. Edmonton was still up in shots 23-17 in shots but Vancouver heavily out-chanced the Oilers 11-2.
Release The Mighty Giraffe In The 3rd
Edmonton would almost pull ahead 35 seconds into the period. Darnell Nurse’s point shot would find a way through but ring off the post. Höglander would head back the other way with a shot that was easily blocked away by Koskinen. He would make his best save of the game shortly after on Bo Horvat. He was set up in the slot by Pearson but Koskinen was able to kick out the leg to keep it locked at 1-1.
The Horvat line was the best of the evening and they would continue to look for the go-ahead goal. Horvat would shovel it one-handed in front of Tanner Pearson but his bad luck would continue as it would rattle around in the blocker of Koskinen before he was able to cover. The 3rd period was starting to look like the first period until a face-off in the Oilers zone just after 9 minutes to go.
Höglander would work hard along the boards and get the puck back to the blue line. Jordie Benn skated in front to open some room before finding Tyler Myers. The (not so) Mighty Giraffe would walk down the wing and wired a slap shot past Koskinen. The Canucks got their lead back with just over 8 minutes left in the game.
In the last 8 minutes, Vancouver was forced to hold on for dear life. Thatcher Demko made 12 of his 34 saves in the final period making key stops on McDavid and Yamamoto. To make things even more nerve-wracking for fans Tanner Pearson took a hooking penalty on Tyson Barrie with 2 and a half minutes to go. Alex Edler and Nate Schmidt would throw their bodies on the line to block shots and Demko was able to show his great positional play. He was able to slide over and make the saves on Leon Draisaitl look easy. Despite the calls for Loui late with the open net Travis Green played things smart and kept the top players on the ice.
A nervous 18 seconds but Vancouver was able to hold on for a 2-1 Canucks vs Oilers victory. Demko made 34 saves on 35 shots and improves his save percentage to .917 on the season. He is very quickly earning himself a contract the Canucks might not be able to afford. But we will worry about all that stuff on a day-by-day basis.
Thoughts After A 2-1 Canucks vs Oilers Victory
With a 2-1 Canucks vs Oilers victory Vancouver moves to 13-16-2 with 28 points after 31 games. While Edmonton falls behind the Winnipeg Jets with 36 points and an 18-12-0 record. There was a lot of praise after the game for Tyler Myers, and rightly so! he scored the game-winning goal. This does not take away from the fact that his play this season has been a nightmare most of the time.
This isn’t good! the eye test isn’t good! Take for example the 2 on 1 that Quinn Hughes defended and the one that Nate Schmidt defended. That was proper defending. Next time Myers is put in a 2 on 1 defensive situation watch and have the Benny Hill Theme song ready to go because it is comical.
Sports Talk Line And The Vancouver Canucks
A 2-1 Canucks vs Oilers victory will keep Vancouver in the hunt for now. It will take by my loose math a record of 18-7 to even have a shot at the postseason (64 points). Vancouver fans can hope for the Montreal Canadiens and the Calgary Flames to lose.
The Canucks head out east to take on the Ottawa Senators. Despite being last in the Scotia North Division this will not be a game to be taken lightly. They play Monday and Wednesday in the nation’s capital before a back-to-back Friday and Saturday against the aforementioned Canadiens. Hopefully, Vancouver can get some bodies back in the lineup as it was very nervous to start tonight’s game. Elias Pettersson should make the trip for the team, when he is available is still yet to be known.