Instant Reaction: Canucks put up valiant effort, lose to Stars in OT, now tied for top spot in the NHL

Photo credit:© Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
David Quadrelli
4 months ago
Welcome back to Instant Reaction — the series here at CanucksArmy where we give our instant reaction to the game and ask our readers to do the same in the comments section below! Wyatt Arndt will have The Stanchies later tonight and Mike Liu will be writing The Statsies tomorrow morning! 
Our wild stat of the day is brought to you by Cody Severtson, who put a spotlight on the fact that the Dallas Stars hadn’t beat the Vancouver Canucks since 2019 heading into tonight.
Additionally, Thatcher Demko was 7-0-0 with an otherworldly .938 save percentage and 1.68 goals against average through seven career starts against the Stars.
Despite this, the oddsmakers had the Canucks as the underdogs tonight. Sure, this game probably looked like a scheduled loss for the Canucks, with it being their fourth game in six nights on the road.
Despite that, the vibes were still good as the Canucks put together a solid showing against the Stars.
Perhaps nobody has better vibes right now than the “Needs a Name” line, and the trio got to work almost immediately in this one. After a strong back check, Conor Garland transitioned the puck up the ice on a 2-on-1 with Dakota Joshua. Garland made a beautiful pass and Joshua got the shot off quickly (refusing to massage the puck, one might say) and quickly opened the scoring for the Canucks.
Much to the chagrin of Wyatt Arndt (Conor Garland and this line’s biggest fan), the line’s lack of effort on the back check led to Dallas tying the game up.
With the Stars outshooting the Canucks 16-6 in the first period, it was clear very early on that the Canucks were going to need Demko to be sharp for them to secure seven of a possible eight points on this road trip.
In what was a bit more of a low-event period than we saw in the first, the Stars pulled ahead on their 19th shot of the game.
Things looked primed to go from bad to worse for the Canucks, as Nils Höglander was called for tripping while forechecking in the moments that followed the Stars’ go-ahead goal.
Thatcher Demko was the Canucks’ best penalty killer on the ensuing power play, as the Canucks managed to still only be down by a goal while being outshot 20-8 at this point in the contest.
The Canucks came out pressing back at even strength, and Brock Boeser turned into the rookie version of himself, cleanly ripping a shot past Wedgewood to tie things up on his 24th goal of the season. It all started with a solid outlet pass from Quinn Hughes, and a patient feed to the middle from JT Miller to find the Canucks’ leading goal scorer with the pass.
After some wary moments, the Canucks were right back in this game, and had a prime chance to pull ahead late when they got their third power play opportunity of the night with just over two minutes to go in the second period.
While they looked much better than they did during their two previous chances in terms of controlling the puck in the offensive end, it ended with the same result as the Canucks’ PP moved to 0/3 on the night as this game headed off to the third period tied up at two apiece.
It was a tight checking third period, with the Canucks really turning up the heat on the Stars in the second half of the period. The Canucks’ work on the forecheck was simply overwhelming the Stars, with Vancouver managing to extend offensive zone time on multiple occasions by simply outworking the opposition.
The thing that was really noticeable in this period was just how easy it now is to see when one player lets up even a little bit, because more often than not, every player on the ice in a Canucks uniform is working their tail off these days. So if you’re the one who isn’t, you’re going to stick out like a sore thumb. Pius Suter found himself with a golden opportunity at the side of the net after some hard work from Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes, but Suter couldn’t make contact with the bouncing puck.
That ended a sequence of about five minutes where it was all Canucks, and just when you thought their momentum was gone, the “Needs a Name” line hopped over the boards.
Of course it was this line that put the Canucks ahead, with Conor Garland scoring his third goal of the season. From there, the Canucks went to work doing what they’ve done so well this year: Locking things down and protecting their lead in the third period.
Unfortunately, the hockey gods didn’t want this wildly entertaining affair to end that easily.
After a D-Zone faceoff win, Miro Heiskanen stopped the Canucks’ clearing attempt, with Thomas Harley getting one past Demko to tie this game up once again.
In the three minutes that followed this goal, the Canucks looked like they were trying to win, while Dallas looked like they were trying desperately not to lose. Despite repeated efforts and plenty of offensive zone time for the Canucks, this one needed overtime.
Heading into OT, all anyone was hoping for is that this game would be nothing like the OT we saw in Minnesota on Saturday. Aside from the Canucks losing in the shootout, that OT frame was a nightmare in terms of a lack of action. If you’re against 3 on 3 overtime, that’s the game you show your friends to explain why.
In tonight’s OT frame, Dallas won the opening faceoff and played keepaway from the Canucks for over a full minute. The Canucks got a whistle when Demko deflected a Dallas shot over the glass, but after another faceoff win, Dallas got right back to work in possessing the puck. It took until the 2:14 mark for the Canucks to gain extended possession of the puck. With just over 30 seconds to go, the Canucks got their best chance of the game as Elias Pettersson moved in on a 2-on-0 with Dakota Joshua.
EP40 couldn’t get the puck past Wedgewood, and Duchene did the opposite on Demko at the other end. 4-3 Dallas final.
Despite the loss, this was a solid game for the Canucks to cap off an exceptional road trip, where they picked up six of a possible eight points. Both of their losses came in OT, and after they play the Sharks on Saturday, the Canucks enter a beautiful stretch of time where they don’t play very much for the next couple of weeks.
Oh, and they also are now tied with Vegas for the best record in the NHL standings, and they hold the tiebreaker over Vegas, so when you go look at the NHL standings, you’ll see your Vancouver Canucks in the number one spot in the league.
What’s your instant reaction to tonight’s game? Let us know in the comments section below!

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