Instant Reaction: Elias Pettersson and Thatcher Demko lead Canucks to win vs. Hurricanes

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
David Quadrelli
2 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 in the comments section below! Wyatt Arndt is on Stanchies duties and Mike Liu will have The Statsies up tomorrow morning. 
Last game, we talked about how the win-one lose-one Vancouver Canucks were looking to keep that trend going and beat the Minnesota Wild after falling 6-5 to the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night. The Canucks got the win, making tonight the perfect night for them to buck that trend.
Sam Lafferty opened the scoring early on in this one, with Sam Lafferty banging in a rebound off of a well-placed shot for a rebound off the stick of Elias Pettersson.
Moments later, Noah Juulsen drew a tripping penalty to give the Canucks their first power play opportunity of the night. At this point, the official shot tally was 8-1 in favour of the Canucks — exactly what the doctor ordered after slow starts in their past couple of games.
Another power play went the Canucks’ way after Jesperi Kotkaniemi hauled down Elias Pettersson after EP40 made a dangle to free himself up while entering the zone. On the ensuing power play, the Canucks had the Canes’ PK hemmed in and cycled the puck in a way that made you think for sure they would extend the lead to two. Instead, an uncharacteristic mishandling of the puck at the Carolina blue line from Elias Pettersson led to the Canes nearly getting a breakaway chance on Thatcher Demko.
Speaking of Demko, look at this new mask he debuted tonight, with a tribute to Roberto Luongo painted on the side.
A Filip Hronek penalty put the Canucks down shorthanded with just over two minutes remaining in an otherwise successful first period — at that point, the Canes still had just two shots off on Thatcher Demko. To make matters worse, a JT Miller slashing penalty put the Canucks’ woeful-of-late penalty kill down by two men against the Hurricanes’ 15th-ranked power play. The Canucks managed to kill off that penalty to close out the first, with less than 30 seconds to go on the Miller penalty to start the second period.
Upon exiting the box, Miller made a power move to the net and drew a tripping penalty on Brady Skjei, putting the Canucks right back on the power play. After failing to convert, the Canucks gave the Hurricanes another power play, this time with a bench minor for too many men on the ice.
All night long, Thatcher Demko was the Canucks’ best penalty killer, and that was true on this shorthanded period as well.
Back at 5-on-5, Elias Pettersson mishandled a rink-wide feed that would have sprung him in on a 2-on-1, but corralled the puck shortly thereafter and sent a laser of a pass to Ilya Mikheyev, who buried his ninth goal of the year.
On the very next shift, the Canes’ fourth line struck, with Jordan Martinook scoring his first goal of the year after a defensive lapse from the Canucks. Rick Tocchet isn’t going to like that one.
After that, Nils Höglander took a tripping penalty while on the forecheck — 200 feet from his own net — to give the Canes another power play. Tocchet likely isn’t going to like that one either. The Canucks killed that one off too, but don’t worry, we’ll get back to the penalties soon.
Before that, we have a JT Miller goal to give you. Miller hops off the bench, skates directly into the high slot and barks at Brock Boeser to feed him the puck. And feed him he did, as Miller rifled one over Anti Raanta’s shoulder to make it 3-1 Canucks.
Just four minutes later, the Canucks gave the Hurricanes their fifth power play of the game by taking another too many men on the ice penalty.
The Hurricanes made the Canucks pay this time, as Brady Skjei one-timed a shot past Thatcher Demko to make it 3-2 Canucks heading into the third period.
The Canes came out with a vengeance in the third, scoring just over two minutes into the period to tie this one up at three. Officially, the Canucks had blown the lead, and didn’t have anyone to blame but themselves.
Then Elias Pettersson got to work, scoring his 11th of the season to get the Canucks right back in front. That marked Pettersson’s third point of the night.
Some takeaways from tonight:
-We’ve seen a string of “get right” games from Elias Pettersson lately. EP40 is back to being a positive influence at 5v5, is putting up the points, is defending well, and is drawing penalties. He was crucial to the Canucks pulling ahead and making it back-to-back wins for the first time since November 15th when they beat the New York Islanders in overtime.
-With his eighth goal of the night, Sam Lafferty is now up to eight on the season. That’s the same number of goals that Sebastian Aho has for Carolina this season. He’s been found money for the Canucks.
-Nils Höglander continued his strong play and was out in the final minutes of the game protecting the Canucks’ one goal lead while the Canes had their net empty.
Thatcher Demko was sharp tonight, and the Canucks needed him to be. The Canes got some grade-A looks against him during those early power plays. For those who listen to the podcast and want my hand-tracked high-danger chance tally on Thatcher Demko tonight, here it is:
First period: 5
Second period: 4
Third period: 7
Natural Stat Trick’s tally:
First period: 4
Second period: 2
Third period: 6
For those of you who don’t watch the show, I’m hand-tracking high-danger chances against when I go to games, as the public numbers we have access to aren’t quite perfect from a goaltending perspective.
4-3 final from Rogers Arena.
What’s your instant reaction to tonight’s game? Let us know in the comments section below!

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