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Instant Reaction: Canucks crumble late against the Stars, lose 3-1

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Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Tyson Cole
21 days ago
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Welcome to Instant Reaction — the series here at CanucksArmy where we give you our instant reaction to the game and ask our readers to do the same in the comments section below! Wyatt Arndt is on The Stanchies and Mike Liu will have the Statsies — CA’s analytics-based post game report — up tomorrow morning.
It was reported on Wednesday that Dakota Joshua returned to practice as a full participant and was practicing on a line with J.T. Miller and Brock Boeser.
Well, Canucks fans had a fun day imagining what that may look like; it will just be an imagination – at least for now. Rick Tocchet had put his lines in a blender, with all four lines different from last game.
Yet another physical playoff-type atmosphere in the first period. Both teams finished their checks and pressured the puck carrier to shorten the gap and limit space.
Joshua’s presence was very noticeable early on. He was relentless on the forecheck and wasn’t afraid to throw the body – he would finish the period with four hits.
Dakota Joshua would be rewarded for his impressive play, picking up the loose puck and taking a shot on Jake Oettinger.
Ian Cole gives a slight nudge to Johnston’s back, who then runs DeSmith over into his own net. Shockingly enough, the referees would call an interference penalty on both Cole and Johnston.
With all the line juggling, the Pettersson and Blueger lines were dominant, spending most of their shifts in the offensive zone. However, the Miller line struggled, as they got caught puck-chasing in the defensive zone for most of the period.
Quinn Hughes would get a little trigger-happy with his stick as he took a high-sticking penalty on Victoria native Jamie Benn late in the first period.
While at first, the Canucks did a great job at limiting the Stars ability to set up in the offensive zone, Roope Hintz would eventually find the back of the net after a controversial high-stick from Jason Robertson to keep the puck in the zone.
After a lengthy unsuccessful coaches challenge from Rick Tocchet, the call on the ice was confirmed, sending the Canucks back to the penalty kill. This penalty was stretched into the second period, and the Canucks would kill it off.
Although the Stars would outshoot the Canucks 9-8 in the first period, four shots came on the powerplay in the final few minutes of the period. At 5-on-5, Vancouver looked like the better team. Vancouver also won the physicality battle, out-hitting the Stars 17-7.
Arshdeep Bains showed he’s also back in the lineup by drawing a tripping penalty on Thomas Harley – the first of two penalties Bains would draw this game.
It was an eventful Canucks powerplay for both teams. Vancouver would finish with two shots, including this Quinn Hughes point shot, that Pius Suter can’t get his stick on as the puck trickles through the crease.
Hintz would have his own grade-A scoring chance off a shorthanded 2-on-1 that trickled just wide of the net.
 
It took nearly 28 minutes to see the first Canucks goal of the game. Garland uses his small frame to his advantage to swiftly maneuver his way around Miro Heiskanen. He would do a spin-o-rama pass to a charging J.T. Miller, who steps into a one-timer to tie the game.
After this, the Canucks carried on their momentum and looked like the more dangerous team.
The second period would feel less like a playoff game, as the teams would trade two penalties each.
DeSmith shows here that it is true: your goaltender is your best penalty killer. When the play goes array, he follows the play and makes a great save on Tyler Seguin for his 22nd of the game.
As you probably noticed, the Canucks had a new face in the bumper spot, Elias Pettersson. The Stars did a great job of cutting off the Pettersson one-timer option, leaving Suter wide open in the bumper spot. So the Canucks played right into that and put Pettersson in the more dangerous area.
This powerplay looked more threatening than the rest as they moved players around more. It will be interesting to see if they go to the Pettersson bumper spot more often. This move allows Miller and Pettersson to switch spots fluidly and opens up the ice for more maneuverability for the lethal unit.
To start the third period, the Canucks would have the most dominant shift. And who’s at the centre of it? You guessed it, Quinn Hughes.
The first half would start slower and more defensively, as the teams split just seven shots. Vancouver had all the momentum after that, having the only two lengthy stints in the offensive zone.
I’m sure all of Canucks Army were holding their breath seeing Joshua fall awkwardly into the boards after Heiskanen interfered with him.
Luckily, Joshua would be fine and would find Hesikanen later for some kind words, of course.
Teddy Blueger would take a costly high-sticking penalty late in the third period, allowing Benn to take the lead with 3:08 remaining in the third period.
Tocchet aggressively pulled his goalie with 2:44 left in the final frame in an attempt to find the same heroics from the last game, but to no avail, as Jason Robertson would find the empty net.
The Canucks will have to wait until Sunday at 12:30 PM against the Anaheim Ducks to reach the century mark in points and hopefully punch their ticket to the Stanley Cup playoffs.
What’s your instant reaction to tonight’s game? Let us know in the comments section below!

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