CanucksArmy post game: The Bruce Boudreau era in Vancouver begins with a 4-0 Canucks win
Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
11 months ago
The Vancouver Canucks were seemingly given new life tonight.
After getting a spark that the organization so desperately needed with a new face behind the bench and new direction in the management group, the Canucks came out gunning tonight.
They won a game in which all the fans were cheering for a victory with no fear of the status quo remaining any longer.
The Bruce Boudreau era of Canucks hockey has officially begun.
Here’s the first lineup that Boudreau ever submitted as head coach of the Canucks.
This game started with a lot of back and forth, and a whole lot of broken plays.
Alex Iafallo got the first shot of the game nearly five minutes in.
One thing was clear right away though.
The Canucks are already forechecking like a Bruce Boudreau-ran team.
The Canucks were routinely sending in two skaters deep while the Kings tried to break out of their own end. This appeared to catch the Kings off guard, as one can only assume most of their game planning assumed that Travis Green would still be behind the bench.
Elias Pettersson was flying early on, setting up chances for his teammates while getting good looks for himself.
After Tucker Poolman got turn styled at the Canucks’ blueline, Thatcher Demko had to be sharp. Up to that point, however, the Canucks had been pretty solid defensively.
Seeing the team forecheck the way they were while also paying attention to the defensive end was a welcome sight after seeing the way things had been going for them recently.
This one remained scoreless after 20 minutes of play, with the shot totals reading 13-11 in favour of the Canucks.
The second period began with a grade-A chance for Brock Boeser right in front, but Boeser tried to make a move rather than shooting the puck immediately, and unfortunately fumbled the puck.
Mikey Anderson took a tripping penalty roughly two minutes into the period to send the Canucks to their first power play of the Bruce Boudreau era.
The man advantage started with an Elias Pettersson one-timer, which was, somewhat fittingly, blocked by Alex Edler.
Tanner Pearson set up Brock Boeser for a shot in the bumper position from below the goal line to make it 1-0.
This is a look that the Canucks have seldom generated this season with the man advantage.
Shortly after the power play marker, the Pettersson line got right back to work, with Conor Garland neatly tucking the puck in from behind the goal line after Vasily Podkolzin’s chance missed wide. Assists to Podkolzin and Pettersson on the goal that made it 2-0.
Juho Lammikko had a grade-A chance after the Kings’ defence had a minor miscommunication breaking out of their own zone. Lammikko had time to walk in and get the shot he wanted, but unfortunately for him, his shot rang off the post.
The Canucks were absolutely flying to start the second, and were all over the Kings.
Matt Roy slashed Quinn Hughes to send the Canucks back to the power play.
And to say the Canucks’ first unit looked dangerous once again would be a slight understatement. Pettersson was getting chances, Conor Garland was creating all sorts of space, and Quinn Hughes looked just as dangerous as he has all season.
The Canucks didn’t manage to convert, and we were back to even strength.
Thatcher Demko made a huge save off of Alex Iafallo who managed to split the Canucks’ defence and move in on a breakaway.
“Besides the Pittsburgh game, I think he’s been pretty good,” Brock Boeser joked post game when asked to evaluate Demko’s play up to this point. “No, he’s been awesome for us this year, but just for him to get a shutout, it’s special and special for the new coaches and everyone involved.”
Make no mistake about it; overall, the Canucks were good defensively in front of Demko, but there were also a few monumental gaffes that resulted in extremely dangerous chances for LA to capitalize on.
Travis Hamonic took a tripping penalty with roughly five minutes to go in the second.
Vasily Podkolzin and Elias Pettersson were out on the penalty kill, and this led directly to a penalty shot.
Pettersson missed the net on his attempt, but that’s beside the point.
The point is, Vasily Podkolzin and Elias Pettersson were out killing penalties. This is something that probably should have happened already, but it took a coaching change to finally see it in action.
“Well, yeah, evidently, the sitting back wasn’t working,” said Boudreau when asked about the focus on forechecking while shorthanded. “We changed it up, we gave other guys opportunities to do it. And I think they embraced it. Like I mean, they sit there and they haven’t done it before and I told Brock, I said ‘you’re next’ and he said like ‘holy crap, I’m gonna kill a penalty.'”
“They did what Scott wanted them to do and so they’re gonna get more opportunities to do it,” Boudreau added. “I mean, it’s not always gonna work like that. But it worked out good tonight. I think we caught them by surprise.”
It’s hard to disagree with the Canucks’ new bench boss there.
Tanner Pearson took a holding penalty with just over a minute to go to send the Canucks right back out on the penalty kill.
The Canucks went with Horvat and Lammikko to start, then Miller and Motte, then sent out Horvat and Pettersson for a defensive zone draw. The duo managed to clear the zone and time expired with the Canucks up 2-0 heading into the third.
The Canucks opened the period with just under a minute left on the Pearson penalty.
Jason Dickinson and Bo Horvat combined to create an offensive chance, and the Kings failed to generate a quality chance as the penalty expired.
Back at even-strength, the story was all Thatcher Demko as the Kings poured on the pressure. Demko was dialled in all game long, and came up huge to keep the Kings from capitalizing on their momentum.
Philip Danault took a holding penalty at the 4:35 mark and sent the Canucks back to the man advantage for the third time of the night.
The Kings killed off the penalty, but the Canucks kept up the pressure.
Thanks to their aggressive approach to the forecheck, Juho Lammikko managed to pounce on a bobbled puck and snipe home his first goal as a Canuck to make it 3-0 Canucks.
Lias Andersson took a high-sticking penalty with 7:51 remaining and sent the Canucks back to their fourth power play of the game.
The Canucks moved the puck with poise on the man advantage and J.T. Miller sniped home a one-timer that gave fans flashbacks to 2019-20 after being set up by Brock Boeser. 4-0 Canucks.
With four minutes remaining, the fans began chanting “Bruce there it is!” which was not only incredible in its own right — but an extremely welcome change of pace.
What a difference actually taking action and listening to your fans can make. Who would have thought?
As time dwindled down, the Rogers Arena faithful rose to their feet and erupted in applause as the players spilled over the boards and the coaches shook hands to congratulate Bruce Boudreau on his first win as head coach of the Canucks.
It was a two point night for Brock Boeser, who was pulled aside at morning skate by Boudreau who had one message for his new star sniper. Shoot the puck more.
“When I shoot the puck, I gain confidence and I think he’s, you know, he’s a really smart hockey coach,” said Boeser. “And I think he knows that so yeah, that was pretty much the conversation. He told me not to pass and shoot as many pucks as I could.”
Boeser joked that Boudreau “gave him [expletive]” for passing the puck on the J.T. Miller one-timer goal.
Thatcher Demko was dynamite once again, but this time, the final score reflected it. Demko picked up his first shutout of the season and was impressed with the play of the skaters in front of him.
Canucks fans busted out a “Bruce there it is!” chant, but Boudreau didn’t hear it. When made aware of it after the game by media, Boudreau said, “oh really? That’s nice, that’s great stuff. Anything positive — I mean, Bruce is so close to boo” with a smile and a laugh.
The Canucks made mistakes tonight, but as Boudreau said, they were mistakes that didn’t come from a lack of effort.
“We made a lot of mistakes that are correctable mistakes, but I mean, when you can get away with those correctable mistakes, I think it’s it’s a great teaching tool for tomorrow’s practice,” said Boudreau.
The Canucks will practice tomorrow at 11:30 AM and face off against the Boston Bruins at 6 PM from Rogers Arena Wednesday night.
The Bruce Boudreau era in Vancouver has begun, and it’s off to a flying start.
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