I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.
After hearing it in the broadcast, though, I’m not changing the title. You can’t make me.
FINAL SCORE: VANCOUVER CANUCKS 5, PITTSBURGH PENGUINS 2
The Canucks came into their Wednesday night game against the Pittsburgh Penguins hoping to win two straight for the first time in November, riding a 5-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers from Tuesday.
The expectation was that Pittsburgh was going to be able to get the jump out of the gate, with Vancouver both on the road and playing a back-to-back – but instead, sharp offense and stellar goaltending helped the Canucks coast to their second 5-2 finish in as many nights.
Scoring opened up with none other than ‘Brock Star’ Boeser, who cleanly beat Murray short side after Sven Baertschi capitalized on a clear down by Anders Nilsson. It would be his first of two goals on the night, bringing him to 11 on the year – and now 21 points in 19 games, good for the scoring lead by a whopping four points (despite holding three games in hand on his teammates).
Jake Guentzel followed up with a power-play goal of his own just three minutes later, capitalizing on a bouncing rebound from his own shot during Pittsburgh’s power-play. The Penguins wouldn’t maintain their lead, though, as Loui Eriksson finally scored another goal on the season two minutes later.
For the rest of the game, Pittsburgh would chase Vancouver; Derrick Pouliot would score his first goal of the season for
Pittsburgh Vancouver on a second-period power play, then Boeser would fire one from the point to make it 4-1 heading into the final frame:
What. A. Shot.
Boeser scores again – an absolute rocket to the top corner. pic.twitter.com/sIh3NVR1vY
— Ryan Biech (@ryanbiech) November 23, 2017
Guentzel would get his own second of the game to kick off the third period, converting on one of Vancouver’s three unanswered penalties during the final 20 minutes – but with a Brandon Sutter empty-netter at 18:40, the game was over.
For starters: I’m not entirely sure what the reasoning is, but Matt Murray looks decidedly human this year.
His flaws have always been there, but they’re exacerbated this year; his angles are off, he misplays his depth, and he can get caught unaware when allowing a rebound. I’m not sure if the departure of goaltending coach Mike Bales was a contributing factor, or if he just had luck on his side in years past – but I have yet to be overly impressed with him this year, and tonight was no different.
On the other end of the ice, though, Nilsson has been a lot of fun to watch. I’m always happy to eat my words when a goaltender proves me wrong, and Nilsson has been doing that in spades; his overactive play from Edmonton and the Islanders a few years prior seems to be all but completely gone, and he looks arguably better than Jacob Markstrom.
What really set Nilsson and Murray apart, though, was that neither had a particularly easy time of it tonight. Murray faced 37 shots on goal, while Nilsson faced 45; with neither getting particularly stellar defense from their blue line corps, the fact that Nilsson came out on top spoke volumes.
Obviously, huge accolades to Brock Boeser for having a monstrous game, but quiet nod to Derrick Pouliot. Not only did he get the most surprising tribute video in his return to PPG Paints Arena (I mean, what exactly did he do there, other than skate with a two-time cup-winning team for a whopping 67 regular season games over three years?), but he also got his first goal of the season against his old club. If you can’t keep up with them, score against them. Or something.
To be fair, this was the back leg of a back-to-back on the road.
But after coming out of the gate so strong, Vancouver really tapered towards the end of the game. Between their slew of late-game penalties and their lagging possession, there’s still room to fix things.
(Not, though, with Brock Boeser’s game. He was clearly perfect.)