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Photo Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Canucks Army Post-Game: Boeser-Mania

Brock Boeser, Reid Boucher Lead the Canucks to 4-2 Victory Over the Wild

These last few weeks have been difficult for the Canucks and their fans, no doubt. If they can turn out a few more efforts like today’s, though, I think we can all leave the season at peace.

Playing the third leg of a four-game swing through the Western Conference’s Central Division, the Canucks took down the reeling Minnesota Wild. On the backs of a strong second period, Vancouver charged ahead of the host team by a score of 4-0.

Reid Boucher led the charge offensively with two goals of his own, including a shot so deft it was deemed to have hit the post before Toronto forced a review mid-play to reveal a top shelf shot so fast you could barely catch it on camera. One of Boucher’s goals came with the man-advantage, and Canucks’ head coach Willie Desjardins even sent the diminutive forward out with the Wild net empty to try and complete the hat trick.

The real star of the show today was Brock Boeser, though. Boeser, who played a NCAA game that went into double-overtime just a day prior, played on the Canucks’ second line with Sven Baertschi and Bo Horvat primarily (though he was with the Sedins for puck drop) and contributed a goal in 12:44 of ice-time, all spent at even strength. Boeser sprung Horvat with a deft neutral zone pass then picked up the rebound for an easy tap-in goal that proved the game winner.

Jack Skille contributed the fourth and final Canucks’ goal but was forced to leave the game in the third period with an ankle injury on a questionable late hit at the hands of Charlie Coyle. Richard Bachman 25 of 27 Wild shots, and was running a shutout until a Ryan Suter marker with just over two minutes in the third.

Stats

Quick Hits

  • Let’s get the best part of the day out of the way first. That’s right; we’re getting into Boeser-Mania. First of all, based on everything we’ve heard in the lead up to this debut and what we heard from the Star Tribune’s Michael Russo about Boeser and the challenges he and his family faced to get here, the Canucks have an excellent person in their wake. I’m not sure how much that counts for, and I’m fairly certain it’s something vastly overvalued in a certain front office, but it’s a positive all the same and something we should absolutely acknowledge and celebrate whenever the opportunity affords us as much. Hell, I’m down with any opportunity to celebrate people being decent human beings — all the better when they play for the Canucks. As for his game, I thought he looked just swell. I thought his passing was surprisingly good and that he had a few plays in the neutral zone that stuck out immediately as smart ways to advance play. For example, I was equally impressed by his setting Horvat up for the breakaway that led to his eventual goal as I was the goal itself. His awareness today was at a pro level. His -3 Corsi For differential at five-on-five isn’t great, but it’s also tied with a few other Canucks for fifth best on the team. Let’s just brush that aside as score effects at work.
    •  I’ve noticed a fair amount of handwringing in every circle of the media, local and national alike, about Boeser’s contract. Specifically, the concern about Boeser burning a year of his ELC on wasted games. I don’t think this is even remotely worth fretting over. We’ve done a fairly good job covering why this might benefit the Canucks on Canucks Army, and one of the best reasons is it prevents another team from hitting Boeser with an offer sheet at the conclusion of his entry-level contract. Besides, if he’s eligible to negotiate earlier, it’s an opportunity to lock him up long-term on the cheap before he explodes offensively.
    • My only concern here isn’t contract related as much as it is Boeser’s health. His wrist is taped up something fierce, and it seems like he’s still smarting from the surgery that cost him December and the World Junior Hockey Championship. I’d rather sign him, burn a year and have him not risk further injury. He doesn’t have to play to earn money on this deal or burn a year, after all.
      • I hate that Boeser is wearing the number six. This doesn’t really matter. Like, not in the slightest. It’s just a weird quirk of mine. Basically, I hope he gets a better number in time for next season

  • How about that Boucher kid the Canucks found on the waiver wire? He’s not so bad, eh? Go figure! Today Boucher contributed two goals in the second period and had one of his strongest games in his own end, too. I thought it great that Desjardins had him out with the empty net and even better that he contributed positively to maintaining the 4-2 lead.

  • Skille’s been back in the Canucks’ lineup for less than a week, and it looks like he’s already on his way out. Shortly after scoring the Canucks’ fourth goal, Skille suffered a late hit from Coyle, and his leg twisted all kinds of weird ways. The coach said after the game it’s an ankle injury and added it will be a while before we see Skille again. I fear his season, and perhaps his time as a Canuck might be done. What a shame. Skille’s grown on me as a useful fourth line player as the season’s gone on, and it seems like he’s a decent human too. Wish him the best in his recovery and wherever he finds himself next season.

  • I was surprised when I heard that Desjardins gave a glowing review of Nikita Tryamkin’s performance after the game. It’s not just that he’s been exceedingly hard on the kid for the last couple weeks; it wasn’t even a particularly good game by Tryamkin. The towering Russian had the single worst five-on-five shot attempt differential with -14 and didn’t look particularly good at any point. Tryamkin was also on the ice for the Eric Staal goal and didn’t do much to impede his progress. Oh well, I’ll take it.

  • Brandon Sutter’s primary assist on Skille’s goal was his first such helper since January 2nd. That puts him in a tie with Thomas Greiss and Frederik Andersen. With today’s game, he’s finished in the black by five-on-five shot attempt differential once in the last thirteen games.
  • I thought Richard Bachman played well! Such a shame to see the shutout die in the final minutes of the game; then to have the goal total run up to two because of a bounce off the stanchion. I wonder if this earns him an extended look down the stretch and whether this impacts the Canucks decision on who they bring next year with Jacob Markstrom. I doubt it, but it’s an interesting storyline.
  • It’s going to be hard for the Canucks to catch the Arizona Coyotes for 29th overall. After today’s victory, the Canucks are six points ahead of the Coyotes. I’d almost say that dream died today. If you’re still on #TeamTank, look to the New Jersey Devils as the next team to beat at being bad. They’re three points back of Vancouver but have a game in hand. Dare to dream.

 

    • Dirty30

      One can only hope! The team may be getting younger but some of us fans aren’t … so it was nice to see Brock pot a goal with Bo and to see Boucher get two and a chance to try for more.

  • TD

    I though Bo, Baer and Brock had some decent passing plays and chemistry. They could be a good line. I liked the number of times Brock found open space trailing the play. Seemed to have good hockey sense. It may take some time to learn the league, but Boeser looks like he’ll be as good as advertised.

  • wojohowitz

    Could it be that Willie is not carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders anymore, like he is finally loosening up, playing Boucher late so he might get a hat trick, giving Boeser 12+ minutes, giving Goldie 11+ minutes, praising Tryamkin after the game. Maybe that is his problem – being in complete control of everything at all times.

  • Dan B

    Next year’s lines:
    Baertschi Horvat Granlund
    Sedin Sedin Eriksson
    Boeser Nolan Patrick Goldobin
    Virtanen Sutter Boucher
    Gaunce (Biega)

    Edler Tanev
    Hutton Gudbranson
    Tryamkin Stetcher
    Pedan Biega

    • LTFan

      I guess you can dream. I don’t see Virtanen, Gaunce, Biega, Gudbranson, or Pedan being on the team. Come back at the beginning of the season and see how many you have.

    • TD

      I liked Boeser with Horvat and Baertschi. That also leaves Granlund to play with Sutter and Goldobin. I like seeing Patrick in there, but you obviously haven’t been a long enough suffering Canucks fan if you think they have a chance at the draft lottery. I hope they keep Virtanen in the minors until he gets his scoring touch back.

      • I think when they promote Virtanen from the third line to the first line, we’ll see an improvement in stats. But they’re intentionally keeping him with the Utica captain and assistant captain so he learns the ropes. In an interview, Virtanen said that he and Carter knew each other from 5-6 years ago and Jake’s happy to be playing with him.

      • Killer Marmot

        Jake has not had a good year in the pros. If he wants to return the NHL he’ll have to seriously change some things. Coming into camp last year overweight — and presumably under conditioned — was a serious mistake.

  • Killer Marmot

    The great thing for Boeser in joining the Canucks…

    If he plays even half decently then he’ll get plenty of ice time. No serving time on the fourth line for him.

  • Not only is Desjardins incompetent, he’s spineless. Gave Boeser 12 minutes without any practice and having played 5 periods the day before. Total about face after the Goldobin debut. Why, he’s gutless. If we win because the kids are playing and getting good minutes, it’s because we’re free of Desjardins and his Megna boy-love. Need more proof that any wins this season were in spite of the coach?

      • More like we’re stuck with an AHL-grade coach for another year. We’re starting to see an eruption in offence after Desjardins has been ordered to not be Desjardins. Sorry, I don’t agree with your desire to see the Canucks losing.

        • Killer Marmot

          Ranting over trivialities like Goldobin only getting 5 minutes in his first game hardly makes that case. Neither of use are privy to all of the reasons for the amount of ice time a player gets in any one particular game.

    • TD

      I agree about Megna, but you can’t compare Goldobin to Boeser. First, they were still in the playoff race at the time Goldobin debuted and Willie was worried about his current and future jobs. Second, if you were to believe Craig Button, Boeser was the sixth best prospect not in the NHL. Goldobin didn’t make the top 50 list. Boeser probably has more offence while also not being the defensive liability that caused Goldobin to be outside of Button’s top 50. Different players and completely different situations in which they debuted with the Canucks.

  • Betty

    JD, I’d be surprised if Boeser changes his number. It’s his ailing father’s number from his highschool days. (If you watch the video of his parents announcing, his dad asks if Boeser knows it’s his number, to which Boeser replies “Yeah, all three years”)

    I just hope Boeser has better health luck than Salo did. Watch out for crackers buddy!

  • Ragnarok Ouroboros

    I’d keep Boucher over Megna any day of the week. I feel bad for Skille. I don’t think he will be back as a Canuck next year. LaBate should probably go back to the AHL; he was just ineffective.