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Instant Reaction: Elias Pettersson picks up three points in Canucks’ 3-2 win over Sabres

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Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
David Quadrelli
29 days ago
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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! 
This was a strong game for a number of Canucks. You could pick a name out of a hat and say “yup, they played a good game.” Let’s get into it!
The Canucks’ penalty kill was tested early as Carson Soucy was called for a high sticking penalty. Even if he were able to, I don’t think that’s one Rick Tocchet would challenge.
The Sabres did use a challenge, though, and that was because they challenged Conor Garland’s opening goal for goaltender interference.
The Canucks were hoping to see something from Elias Pettersson’s new-look line, and that line got off to about as good of a start as they could’ve hoped for. Because it was it was determined that no-such interference occurred, the Sabres were given a bench minor for interference.
That meant that the Canucks’ struggling power play got their first opportunity of the night. The good news was that they created some high-danger chances and moved around plenty. It was about as dangerous as they’ve looked for some time. The bad news, of course, was that they didn’t score. Elias Lindholm even made a nice play to strip the puck from a Sabres defenceman and slide the puck right into a high-danger area. Unfortunately, Sam Lafferty couldn’t convert.
It was a first period filled with great news for the Canucks, really.
They needed to come out firing and put the pedal to the metal against a lesser — but hungry — team in the Buffalo Sabres. They took the Capitals too lightly on Saturday, and couldn’t afford to do that against Buffalo tonight.
The first period was almost all good news for the Canucks because Casey DeSmith made nice saves, JT Miller blocked a shot that looked bad but didn’t miss a shift, and they got another power play to close out the period. Although they were only up by a goal, it was a great first period.
The bulk of their power play came to start the second period, and again, the Canucks’ power play — both units, even — looked dangerous. They were zipping the puck around with poise and moving plenty. It was a good sign but once again, they did not score. It was still a good sign though. 2 for 2 on looking good on the power play!
With the Canucks down shorthanded later in the second, Elias Pettersson set up Ilya Mikheyev for a breakaway that resulted in Mikheyev drawing a holding penalty after Devon Levi did well to stop his backhand bid. It was among the strongest games we’ve seen from both Mikheyev and Elias Lindholm. Both players were buzzing tonight, and that’s a great sign. Mikheyev had a number of instances where he applied pressure on the forecheck in a way we just haven’t seen from him this year. It was a strong night for Mikheyev. A great sign.
Perhaps an even greater sign is that Elias Pettersson scored on the power play the Canucks got from the penalty Mikheyev drew. 3 for 3 on looking dangerous on the powerplay, 1 for 3 on actually converting.
This marked both Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes’s second point of the night. Both players had strong nights.
The Canucks played a great first 40 minutes and led by two. Now it was time to lock it down and see the victory through, and avoid a collapse like we saw when they played the Colorado Avalanche last week. Of course, the Sabres aren’t the Avalanche, and the Sabres on the second leg of a back-to-back certainly aren’t the Avalanche. Nonetheless, it was important to see this victory through.
Pius Suter took a penalty early in the third, giving the Sabres their fourth power play of the game. The Canucks penalty killers held the Sabres to the outside, resulting in Buffalo not even getting a shot on goal.
Despite taking a penalty, Suter had a strong night. Almost immediately after stepping out of the box, Suter drew a penalty, putting the Canucks on the power play again. And once again, the Canucks’ power play looked dangerous. That’s what matters. This team’s power play was looking like a major question mark heading into the final month of the season
The Sabres pulled within one, but because Sportsnet+ is one of the worst services ever created — calling it a “service” feels generous — many Canucks fans missed the goal. But not Uncle Stanchie. He provided us a great look at this goal, which makes me think maybe a member of Filip Hronek’s family somehow knew this play was coming and has control over the Sportsnet master controls. Because, woof.
That’s not a good defensive play, to say the least.
Just like that, this game got interesting in the last ten minutes, as the Sabres pushed for the equalizer. The Canucks staved off the push, and fittingly, it was Elias Pettersson capping off a great night with his second goal of the night on the empty net goal.
Two assists for Miller, two assists for Hughes, and three points for Pettersson including his 32nd and 33rd goals of the year. The Canucks’ big guns came to play tonight, and their pieces in the bottom six showed some uber-important signs of life. This was a complete win and one they’ll want to build off of with Montreal coming to town on Thursday.
3-2 Canucks final.
What’s your instant reaction tonight? Let us know in the comments section below!

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