NHL: Canucks rounding into form, face West-leading Golden Knights
Coming off what coach Bruce Boudreau called his team’s best game of the season, the Vancouver Canucks will put a two-game winning streak on the line when they host the Western Conference-leading Vegas Golden Knights on Monday.
Vancouver, which started the season without a win in its first seven games (0-5-2), has gone 6-4-1 since, including an impressive 4-1 victory over the visiting Los Angeles Kings on Friday. Brock Boeser and Elias Pettersson each scored twice, and Thatcher Demko finished with 37 saves to win just his second game in 12 decisions (2-8-2) this season.
“I think for the most part, it was our best game of the year,” said Boudreau, who reportedly was on the hot seat after the team’s slow start. “(Demko) has taken a lot of heat this year, but he was the one that sort of made the difference in the game, and that’s great. When you get good goaltending, usually everybody else is playing well, too.”
Those on the ice were just as pleased with the performance.
“I’d have to agree with coach, that was probably one of the only games we played a full 60 minutes, and kind of kept things coming to them,” captain Bo Horvat said.
Boeser, coming off back-to-back 23-goal seasons, scored his first two goals of the season after being blanked in his first 11 games.
“A little weight off my shoulders,” said Boeser, who extended his point streak to six games (two goals, five assists). “Anytime you have a goose egg and you’re supposed to score and help the team win hockey games and we’re not winning hockey games, it weighs on you. That’s what I get paid to do, so I’ve got to make sure I continue to find ways to put the puck in the back of the net.”
Vancouver now faces a daunting three-games-in-six-days stretch that includes meetings with the Golden Knights on Monday and Saturday in Las Vegas sandwiched around a Wednesday matchup at defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado.
Vegas is coming off a 4-3 overtime loss at Edmonton on Saturday which snapped a six-game road winning streak. Mark Stone scored twice, including one on a second-period penalty shot, and also tied the game at 3 midway through final period. It was his first two-goal game of the season and 22nd of his career.
Connor McDavid raced down the right wing past Alex Pietrangelo and then flipped a shot past goalie Adin Hill and into the top right corner of the net for his league-leading 16th goal of the season 1:17 into overtime to win it for the Oilers.
“It’s tough when the best player in the league makes a play to win it but I thought overall, it’s three-on-three, you never know about that,” Stone said. “We play another 10 minutes of five-on-five, I like our chances.”
Although he wasn’t satisfied with the result, Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy was at least glad his team forced the extra period.
“We want two points,” Cassidy said. “We’re a good overtime team and we started with the puck so we had our opportunity to generate something. They checked it back so good for them. … At the end of the day, we’ll take the one (point), we’ll head to Vancouver.”
–Field Level Media