CanucksArmy post game: Canucks spoil Kraken home opener as Garland and Demko shine
Photo credit:© Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
1 year ago
Are you ready Seattle?
History starts now.
Those were the two messages flashed across dual jumbotrons during the pregame ceremony from Climate Pledge Arena.
But the question we’re asking is, are you ready Vancouver?
Are you ready to have a proper geographical rival that isn’t most well known for their rivalry with a different geographical rival?
More importantly, were you ready to see a team hang a number in the rafters before even playing a home game? The Kraken retiring number 32 before the game instantly gave Canucks fans flashbacks to the time Vancouver had the “7th man” jersey retirement ceremony.
You’re just not an NHL fan until you’ve been forced to sit through something awkward that your favourite team thought would be a slam dunk great idea.
But enough about the pregame ceremony, it’s time to break down the first edition of The Battle of the Border!
Unsurprisingly so, the Canucks made no changes to the lineup that won Thursday night’s game in Chicago, which meant once again that Vasily Podkolzin is out of the lineup.
Phillip Grubauer started in goal for the Kraken, Let’s do this!
The game started off with a flurry as the Kraken got a breakaway opportunity just 24 seconds into the game (although the play appeared to be offside).
Nils Höglander brought it tonight, and that was evident right away.
Playing like a bull in a china shop — as has long been the norm for Höglander — the Canuck forward was his typical spark-plug self, bringing speed and energy right from the get-go.
As a whole, the Canucks had a strong start to the game, but Kyle Burroughs, in particular, continued his strong play. He was reading plays well, playing physical, and looked solid on a third pairing with Jack Rathbone.
The two teams went back and forth at a high pace to begin the period, and at the 13 minute mark, Jared McCann took a penalty to give the Canucks the first power play of the game.
The Canucks had some good looks on the man-advantage, with Elias Pettersson setting up Alex Chiasson with a slick backdoor pass. Unfortunately for the Canucks, Chiasson couldn’t finish the chance and the power play expired.
The Kraken began to ramp up their intensity in the second half of the first, and nearly converted after Nathan Bastian rang one off the post after pouncing on a loose puck that resulted from a broken play in the Canucks’ end.
Juho Lammikko took a penalty with 3:07 remaining and sent the Kraken to the power play.
Simply put, Thatcher Demko was the Canucks’ best penalty killer for the next two minutes.
Shortly after the penalty expired, Vince Dunn beat Demko glove side to record the first Kraken home goal to make it 1-0 Kraken.
The second period started with Quinn Hughes seeing red.
Hughes went down to his knees after taking Tucker Poolman’s stick to the nose and left with a bloody nose. He received some minor repairs, and was no worse for wear.
The two teams were playing extremely physical to start the second period, and the game got progressively chippier as the period went on.
Conor Garland has impacted the Canucks in many ways. He’s put up points, played well in all areas of the ice, and as has been well documented already, has gotten under the skin of his opponents on multiple occassions.
That continued tonight.
Garland went hard into the corner up against 6’5 Carson Soucy, and frustrated the Kraken defenceman so much that he ripped the 5’8 Garland’s helmet off — which resulted in a two minute minor for roughing.
On the ensuing power play, the Canucks had multiple good looks but couldn’t convert.
Shortly after, Hughes took an interference penalty, which the Canucks successfully killed off.
Thatcher Demko made an absolutely huge save on Mason Appleton with just over 10 minutes to play in the second period. He made multiple ten bell saves, but this was one of his best:
Then, not even a full minute later, Demko made another huge save:
This undoubtedly swung the momentum in the Canucks favour, as shortly after, Bo Horvat scored a goal after a hardworking shift from Garland in the Seattle zone. 1-1 Canucks.
Demko also wasn’t done there, as he added this sweeping grab off the goal line to his highlight reel for the night:
This one remained tied at one apiece heading into the third.
The Kraken came out firing to start the third.
Mark Giordano beat Demko to make it 2-1 Kraken with just under 15 minutes remaining. The Kraken kept up the pressure, but Demko absolutely held the Canucks in it.
They bent but didn’t break. In fact, the Canucks bent, then ricocheted back the other direction and put all the pressure on the Kraken to finish this one off.
The Canucks, led by Conor Garland in particular, were buzzing from this point on.
Juho Lammikko was tripped by Carson Soucy to give the Canucks a power play with just under ten minutes remaining.
The Canucks’ power play was moving the puck with much more urgency than we’ve seen from them before, and finally got rewarded for their efforts.
Quinn Hughes let go of a slapper from the point that resulted in a rebound that was there for the taking for Bo Horvat, who made no mistake in burying it to make it 2-2.
The ensuing minutes were filled with two teams who wanted to win very badly. The Kraken got a flurry of chances off on Demko, and just when it seemed like Seattle was going to break through with some tired Canucks skaters stuck out on the ice, Conor Garland went ahead and captivated an entire fanbase once again, making it 3-2 Canucks.
Justin Downling added an empty netter to ice this one. 4-2 Canucks final.
Nils Höglander has looked good in almost every game he’s played in, but tonight may have been his best. He appears to have reached another gear this year.
Thatcher Demko was lights out in this one. There’s not much else to say — he was fantastic.
Conor Garland again was fantastic. He’s making a strong first impression on his teammates and Canucks fans. He pisses off his opponents, and has the scoring prowess to back it up. He was crucial to the victory tonight.
“We’re starting to feel it now,” said Garland about his growing chemistry with Bo Horvat and Tanner Pearson. “It’s just become more natural. Before we made a couple plays but it didn’t feel natural. Tonight it felt natural.”
The Canucks will be back in action on Tuesday the 26th as they will finally have their home opener against the Minnesota Wild.
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