Instant Reaction: Casey DeSmith weathers the storm in Canucks’ 2-0 shutout win over Wild

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
David Quadrelli
6 months 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! Wyatt Arndt is on Stanchies duty, and you can look for that later tonight. Mike Liu will be bringing The Statsies — CA’s analytics-based post game report tomorrow morning.
Lately, the Canucks have played the part of a .500 team. They win one, they lose one, and they can’t really pull ahead.
Tonight, they looked to keep that trend going and bounce back from a disappointing 6-5 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night.
The Canucks were heavily criticized for their lack of effort through the first 40 minutes of Tuesday night’s loss, and looked well on their way to repeating that after an abysmal first period. The Wild had registered their 10th shot of the game before the Canucks had gotten one off on Filip Gustavsson.
Casey DeSmith’s weathering of the storm in the first period was absolutely crucial to tonight’s win for the Canucks. Here’s the story of tonight, told through the number of high danger chances the Canucks forced DeSmith to stop.
In the first period, the Canucks allowed seven high-danger chances against, with DeSmith turning aside every one he faced. That’s three more HDCA the Canucks allowed in the abysmal first period that ultimately cost them Tuesday night’s game. DeSmith was sharp, and gave his teammates a chance to wake up.
And wake up they did. In the second period, the Canucks came out looking like the October version of themselves. They were hard on the forecheck, refused to give the Wild an inch through the neutral zone, and were showing off every bit of the structure, habits, and accountability they want to play with. The result? Just one high-danger chance against.
This continued in the third period, even when the Wild pushed in the back half of the final period as they pushed for their fifth straight win.
Now, that was the story from the high-danger chance against perspective, courtesy of Natural Stat Trick, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t shout out some players aside from Casey DeSmith.
First, Nils Höglander, who turned in about as good of an effort as you could have hoped for from a player getting his long awaited shot in the top six alongside JT Miller and Brock Boeser. Höglander played the part of a buzzsaw all night long, and was rewarded for his efforts in the first period when he opened the scoring:
That’s nine for Nils!
The second period remained scoreless as the Canucks locked things down defensively. The next goal of the game came off the stick of Teddy Blueger.
Tonight was a night where every line was going for the Canucks for the final 40 minutes. The end result is a 2-0 win and a well-deserved 26-save shutout for Casey DeSmith.
Some other takeaways:
-Tonight was another positive performance for Elias Pettersson, even if he didn’t record a point. Lately, his line has been getting caved at even strength, but tonight, both his line and the JT Miller line were great for the Canucks tonight.
-Not to get too into the analytics here, but Andrei Kuzmenko played just over nine minutes at 5v5 and was on the ice for 13 chances against and just four chances for. This wasn’t his bounce back game. Maybe soon?
What’s your instant reaction to tonight’s game? Let us know in the comments section below!

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