Photo credit:© Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Instant Reaction: Elias Pettersson scores seventh goal in three games to give Canucks OT win vs. Penguins
1 month ago
Welcome 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 The Stanchies and Mike Liu will have The Statsies — CA’s analytics-based post game report — out tomorrow morning.
A common theme of the Canucks’ season is that they don’t often have to come back in games because they’ve been great at starting on time and picking up leads early. On nights they don’t start on time, they often have Thatcher Demko or Casey DeSmith ready to buy them some time.
Tonight, the Canucks didn’t really need their goaltender to start this game. Instead, they turned to the Lotto Line, who continued to build their case as the best line in the NHL.
After dominating their first few shifts of the game — as they’ve made a habit of doing — the lotto line opened the scoring in this one when Brock Boeser redirected home a laser pass after Elias Pettersson made an elite move to the middle to create space for himself.
A Sidney Crosby penalty gave the Canucks’ power play a chance to get to work early, and wouldn’t you know it, Brock Boeser scored again!
The Lotto Line is also the Canucks’ first unit power play, for those of you who are new here.
With just under four minutes remaining in the opening frame, Pittsburgh scored to make it 2-1 Vancouver.
Not wanting to be outdone, the Lotto Line hopped over the boards a minute later, and Elias Pettersson deflected a Filip Hronek point shot to make it 3-1.
I pondered on Twitter that the Lotto Line playing out with the Quinn Hughes-Filip Hronek pairing is a cheat code, and our friend Daniel Wagner helped us prove that point further:
Those are video game numbers.
The first 20 minutes of the game came to a conclusion, and Elias Pettersson already had three points in the form of a goal and two assists. JT Miller assisted on all three Canucks goals in the first period as well. Video game numbers.
The second period was less full of sunshine and rainbows for the Canucks, and that was thanks almost entirely to Tristan Jarry, who started the second in relief of Alex Nedjelkovic. Jarry stopped all 12 shots he faced in the second, whereas Nedjelkovic had allowed three goals on nine shots.
The only goal of the period came from Sidney Crosby.
Teddy Blueger won’t make highlight reels for his play on the penalty kill that took place later in the period, but he was absolutely dynamite in killing off the penalty after Quinn Hughes took an uncharacteristic delay of game penalty.
This game had some life injected into it in the third. The Penguins have been hot as of late, and with a competent goaltender in their creates, this game suddenly had a playoff like feel to it.
It really started when JT Miller gave this shot to the back of Sidney Crosby’s head.
The Canucks killed it off, but that isn’t where our story ends. The rough stuff continued, as on the same shift, JT Miller tackled a Penguins player through the neutral zone. Then Sidney Crosby took down Quinn Hughes, and then Lars Eller cross checked Conor Garland. This is a breakdown best suited for The Stanchies, but Eller was the only player who had a penalty called against him. This gave the Canucks their second power play of the game, and they failed to get set up.
The nicest — and most crucial — save of the game came from Thatcher Demko with just over five minutes left in the period when he stopped Sidney Crosby in all alone.
Unfortunately, Crosby asked the ref to call a penalty on the ensuing play, so Filip Hronek went to the box for holding, giving the Penguins a late power play. Again, it was Teddy Blueger that deserves plenty of accolades for his work on the PK. Him and Elias Pettersson were vital to the Canucks killing off the late penalty.
With two minutes left, the Penguins called Jarry to the bench to get an extra attacker out on the ice.
Once again, Thatcher Demko came up huge for Vancouver in the final moments of this one. This was his second stellar start in as many outings after a bit of personal regression in the month of December. Despite his best effort, the Penguins just kept coming at the Canucks, and with less than 30 seconds remaining, Sidney Crosby tied the game.
Overtime played all the hits. We had Andrei Kuzmenko ignoring defensive responsibilities, Quinn Hughes putting on a possession clinic, Thatcher Demko making huge saves, and of course, Elias Pettersson playing hero in the end.
That’s his seventh goal of the road trip, and seventh goal in the past three games. Seven goals for Elias Pettersson since being reunited with the Lotto Line. Makes you think!
What’s your instant reaction to tonight’s game? Let us know in the comments section below!
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