Photo Credit: © Dominique Belanger-Gagne - USA Today Sports

CanucksArmy Post-Game: Christmas Holid-yay!

Prior to tonight, the Canucks had one win in their last nine games and Christmas break couldn’t come faster. Players departed to their hometowns to spend quality time with their family and friends, then arrived back in YVR hoping to hit the reset button. Well, they did and it worked out for the better. The Canucks defeated Chicago by a score of 5-2.

The Statistics

  • Thomas Vanek: 2 goals, 3 assists
  • Sam Gagner: 2 goals, 2 assists
  • Brock Boeser: 1 goal, 3 assists
  • Goldobin, Edler, Stecher: 1 assist
  • Markstrom: 30/32 saves

Game Summary

For not having played in four days, together with the indulgence of Christmas dinners, the Canucks came out as expected in the first period: slow. Luckily for them, the Blackhawks appeared to suffer from the same side effects. The first goal of the game came off the stick of Sam Gagner, who deflected a shot past Anton Forsberg.

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Four minutes later, Henrik Sedin went to the box on a hooking call. Nick Schmaltz tied the game with a one-timer assisted by Patrick Kane.

Later in the second period, Vanek put the Canucks up 2-1 off a nice behind-the-back pass from Gagner.

The line of Vanek-Gagner-Boeser kept rolling as they extended the lead to 3-1 one minute into the third period. That goal made it a 3-point night for Vanek, a 3-point night for Gagner, and a 2-point night for Boeser. But no, it did not stop there. With three minutes left in the game, the trio was at it again. Vanek made it 4-1 Canucks with Boeser getting the primary assist.

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The deal wasn’t sealed yet. Boeser made is 5-1 to top off a terrific night with his line. Chicago scored with 8 seconds left in the game, but that doesn’t matter because nobody could take the spotlight off the VGB line.

Game Notes

  • The Blackhawks look far different from their dominant team from recent years. Aside from Patrick Kane, who found himself dangling between the Canucks and setting up opportunities, there was barely any push-back from the team.
  • The Vanek-Gagner-Boeser line was buzzing all night. Despite being matched against Patrick Kane and/or Jonathan Toews, they were offensive threats and, for the most part, shut it down in the defensive zone. For months now, we’ve all been hoping for Gagner to show some offensive consistency. Well, he has points in four straight games and tonight was an indication of some chemistry brewing between the three forwards.
  • Thomas Vanek was excellent tonight, despite taking a penalty in the first period. He had three or four quality scoring chances in the first period alone. He and Gagner set up Boeser for a tap-in goal in the second, but unfortunately he hit the post. Vanek finished the night with 5 points (2 goals, 3 assists).

  • Brock Boeser was Brock Boeser. When New York Islanders forward and BC’s own Mat Barzal scored a hat trick last week and jumped ahead of the rookie scoring lead going into Christmas break, there was a sense of worry amongst some Canucks fans. Boeser responded, however, by putting up 4 points and recapturing the scoring lead by two points.
  • Nikolay Goldobin stuck out in the first period and definitely looked like an offensive threat. He drew a penalty on former Canucks prospect Gustav Forsling, thus leading to the power-play which the Canucks almost scored on. Gagner’s goal was 3 seconds after the penalty expired. He dropped off in the second and third periods, though one could easily say the same about everyone not named Gagner, Vanek, or Boeser.
  • Alex Biega made a poor hit in the second period. With just 3 shifts totaling 1:42 TOI in the first, the bulldog came out hungry to make his case. With Murphy facing the boards and his numbers straight in front of Biega, the hit was just about as textbook as it could possibly get. Good on Biega for playing with grit and tenacity, but that was a poor decision.

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  • Jimjamg

    Tommy Gun, trade or re-sign? I think I am moving into the re-sign camp. He is hilarious to watch, generates offense consistently, and that breakaway backpass was off the chain. I don’t think even Hank in his heyday tries that one. And of course the chemistry with BB is real too.

    • truthseeker

      And how unselfish was it too? The guy could have tried to go for the hat-trick and not a single person would have begrudged him that, yet he knew Brock was behind him and wanted to set him up for one of his own. You just know Vanek knows what kind of a special season BB is having and wants to help him pad his goals…lol. Hey..if Vanek is Tommy Gun then Boeser should be BB gun….lol. I’ll take anything over “the flow”….geesus that’s stupid…

      At this point I’m looking at it two ways…

      if the canucks somehow claw their way back into a wild card and look like it’s a strong possibility then I say keep him. This team has some pretty good chemistry even with the loses. If they make it, give them a shot to see what they can do.

      But if we stay around this position and out of the playoffs, then for sure you’ve got to try to get a decent pick or Burrows/Hansen type return. And yeah for sure bring him back again next year, if there is space.

      The way BB talks about him and the obvious influence he’s been has been exactly what I thought of with trying to get Jagr. Just as the Twins do their mentoring thing, Vanek has been more than I ever expected.

      And thank whatever you want that Gagner is finally doing something. I hope it continues.

    • Nuck16

      Hard to break that line up if they keep playing like that…I think no brainer to re-sign unless a team offers up a lot (1st rounder, which they won’t)…they will need offence with the Sedin’s on the way out and Vanek is ‘cheap power’…that said, we have a couple more months to evaluate.

  • defenceman factory

    The Islanders are right in the playoff hunt and Boychuk, a big RHD, is hurt again. Hope Benning is on the phone. Islanders have 2 1st and 2 2nd round picks in 2018. I also hope Garth Snow didn’t see that last
    Chicago goal.

  • Rodeobill

    How can you not be a fan of Vanek after this one. Coulda went for the hatty, but nah, drop pass to Boeser. Plus great interview during the intermission. Kinda wish I could buy him a beer.

  • Bure Fan

    The all powerful Eastern based league and media is all in on Barzal and the league is desperate for the Islanders to make a splash with a new rink imminent (see Oliers, Edmonton). Therefore Barzal is a lock for the Calder and the Isles are also a playoff bound team. Sorry Brock.

    • truthseeker

      Don’t care. It’s just a trophy. If Brock is the best then he’s the best.

      Would anyone in Vancouver trade BB straight up for Barzal? Yeah….exactly. (I’m sure one of the self loathers will be here to say they would…lol)

  • Lemmy Kilmister

    I have to say that was a super play by Vanek to set up Boeser…
    And again I said this before but this kid really reminds me of Brett Hull on his release and ability to know where to be

  • Rodeobill

    Sometime in the future, JV and Gaunce are going to start dialing in on where to place those shots, they keep doing everything up to there and getting lots of chances. It is really rewarding seeing our next gen developing, and if their development keeps us out of the bottom of the standings, that’s fine by me. Seeing them become greater players now and towards the future is worth more in the rebuild than a marginally better chance to draft Dahlin. Regardless of if we win that lottery, it looks like the second tier of prospects just behind look to be on a pretty even playing field and we will get one of them.

  • Bud Poile

    Boeser will want to play with Vanek as long as he can.
    9 points between them and a 12 point outing with Gagner.
    From losing to outrageous winning with two elite playmakers.

  • TheRealPB

    I have to admit to being pretty surprised by Vanek. I know he got bought out with the Wild and he was underwhelming with the Sabres the last time but he was basically a point a game player for a while and did fairly well last year. I’ve generally been pretty impressed with him all year; I’m still not entirely sold on Gagner.

    And of course while I loved the rest of the game, yikes, that last goal. Someone tell me again how Gudbranson plays hard in front of the net? Does “hard” mean an immovable object that you just skate around?

    • Beer Can Boyd

      Would have to see it again, but I think it was Stechers man, who he lost when he fell down at the blue line. Stecher will be the next d-man to get a press box seat based on his current play.

      • truthseeker

        Hutton slipped on the puck. Not the most smooth move but it happens sometimes. The Hawk player was coming in and Gudbranson was skating across from the other side. The guy made a beautiful outside inside move. Could Guddy have played it better? Yeah probably. I think he might have been puck watching instead of just taking the body, but it was a beautiful deke that probably would have had most NHL defensemen fooled who were coming at him from that way. Markstrom had a clean look at that shot and probably should have stopped it. All three of them have some blame on that goal.

        People need to let it go. It’s hockey. Sometimes the opposition just makes a good play.