Instant Reaction: The Canucks drop their season finale against the Jets, lose 4-2

Photo credit:Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Tyson Cole
8 days ago
Welcome back 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! Cody Severtson is on The Stanchies and Mike Liu will have The Statsies — CA’s analytics-based post game report — up tomorrow morning. 
The Vancouver Canucks put the icing on the cake of what has been a successful and exciting 2023-2024 regular season. Tonight’s opponent is the Winnipeg Jets. With both teams in the playoffs, it was a very meaningless game, as these teams were already locked into their playoff positions – #1 in the Pacific for the Canucks and #2 in the Central for the Winnipeg Jets. 
With that in mind, both teams rested some players and superstars tonight.
For the Canucks: J.T. Miller, Brock Boeser, Filip Hronek and Ian Cole.
For the Jets: Kyle Connor, Mark Scheifele, Adam Lowry, Vladislav Namestnikov, Morgan Barron, Josh Morrissey, Brenden Dillon and Connor Hellebuyck.
Guess who? The usual suspect as of late, Conor Garland, opens the scoring. Elias Lindholm grabs the loose puck and quickly sends it to Dakota Joshua. The puck is poked off Joshua’s stick, goes through the crease and right to Garland for his 20th of the season and his 14th point in his last 14 games. 
The Canucks gained confidence after this goal, as they controlled play and outshot the Jets 4-0 in the following 7:31-minute frame. That was until Gabe Vilardi found the equalizer.
Sam Lafferty covers for a pinching Tyler Myers but commits behind the net instead of covering the front, where Vilardi is left all alone and shows off incredible patience to beat Thatcher Demko. 
A mis-change led to a Canucks too many men penalty. Mark Friedman made his presence felt in his return to the lineup for only the fourth time since November by blocking a heavy shot from Nikita Chibrikov. With Friedman clearly ailed, Demko showed why he’s this team’s best penalty killer, making these two massive saves.
One thing to note for any playoff teams set to play the Jets: this Nikolaj Ehlers-Sean Monahan-Tyler Toffoli line will be a problem. They seemed to always be in the offensive zone, creating chances and even having a two-on-one rush. The trio would finish the first period with one shot on goal each and eight total shot attempts.
The Jets wasted no time taking the lead in the second period. After a late change by a Canucks defender, it leads to a 3-on-1 where Cole Perfetti snipes it past Demko. 
Nils Höglander put his shiftiness on display in the second period with an impressive 1:11-minute offensive zone shift. He won board battles while dodging opponents’ checks, picked players’ pockets by lifting their sticks to regain the puck, and even tipped a Carson Soucy point shot that hit the post. 
The Canucks capitalize on some sweet, sweet vengeance after Laurent Brossoit takes a delay of game penalty and pays the price. 
It’s hard to truly analyze the Canucks powerplay with J.T. Miller and Brock Boeser missing from tonight’s action. Still, it did give Canucks fans another look at what Lindholm looks like at the net front.
This goal gave Canucks fans some déjà vu to his Canucks debut when he scored two net-front tip-in Quinn Hughes goals on the powerplay.
Speaking of Quinn Hughes, can we just appreciate his work here in the offensive zone?
Nikita Zadorov is clearly in playoff mode with his second big open-ice hit in the neutral zone – this one on Jets forward Rasmus Kupari. 
Nikita Chibrikov stripped the puck away from Demko behind the net, who later received a pass in the right faceoff circle for his first NHL goal and the eventual game-winner. 
Despite the Canucks late push of causing chaos in front of the net, Perfetti found the empty net for his second of the game and solidified a Jets win.
With not much on the line for the Canucks in this game, I think there were two things they were hoping to see as they load up toward the playoffs. 
Firstly, giving Thatcher Demko a second straight start was vital to get his legs under him. Just one start since March 9th may not have shaken off all the cobwebs before the playoffs. 
Secondly, continue to build the chemistry between Joshua, Lindholm, and Garland. Since combining against the Edmonton Oilers, Lindholm and Garland have points in all three, while Joshua has points in two of three as he was held off the scoresheet tonight. 
Also, these three will likely have the daunting job of playing shutdown against the high-firing Nashville Predators’ top line. Keeping those three contained will be critical to a Canucks round-one series victory. 
What’s your instant reaction to tonight’s game? Let us know in the comments section below!
Be sure to tune in and interact with Jeff Paterson and Irfaan Gaffar on Rink Wide LIVE moments after the game! You can watch the live stream below, and we’ll have coverage all throughout the playoffs as well!

Check out these posts...