Instant Reaction: Miller line strong, but Tyler Myers and other Canucks still need to step it up

Photo credit:© Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports
David Quadrelli
8 months ago
Welcome back to Instant Reaction — the series here at CanucksArmy where we bring you our instant reaction from every Vancouver Canucks game and encourage our readers to do the same in the comments section below! Wyatt Arndt is writing The Stanchies tonight and those will be posted later tonight. The Statsies — CanucksArmy’s analytics-based post game report by Mike Liu will be posted tomorrow morning.
After Tuesday night’s abysmal loss in Philadelphia, the Vancouver Canucks were looking for a bounce back performance tonight in Tampa Bay. Alternatively, the Lightning were losers of three straight games heading into tonight after falling to Detroit, Ottawa, and Buffalo on their first road trip of the year.
With Steven Stamkos returning to the Bolts’ lineup, it didn’t come as much of a surprise when they came out firing in the first period. The Canucks’ PB+J line — Phil Di Giuseppe and Brock Boeser on JT Miller’s wings — was solid in this one, with Miller leading the way at both ends of the ice all night long. The Lightning came out firing early, but the Canucks were hustling and doing plenty of good things to keep the game scoreless through one.
Then Tyler Myers continued a recent trend we’ve seen too often already this season — making the worst possible play and costing his team a goal as a result. Wyatt provided a good breakdown of the goal on Twitter, and will do an even better job of it in The Stanchies, I’m sure:
We’ve already established that Noah Juulsen and Tyler Myers are clear warts on this team’s defence corps, and one of them wasn’t in the lineup tonight thanks to the addition of Mark Friedman, who I thought looked like a clear step up on the player he was replacing in Juulsen.
Myers, on the other hand, was instrumental in two Tampa Bay goals, both of which made you wonder what on earth he could have been thinking. Here’s the second one:
I mean, seriously. When the final score is 4-3 and your egregiously bad plays cost your team two goals on the night, you need to spend a night in the press box, no matter who you are or how highly you’re paid. But does that apply when the player who’d be coming in for Myers is Noah Juulsen, who’s been almost just as bad, if not worse?
Anyway, that’s about the extent of our negatives for the night. The team’s compete level was much better than on Tuesday night, which was good to see. It will be interesting to hear Tocchet’s candid thoughts on this one in The Stanchies later this evening.
Now the positives!
JT Miller was hands down the Canucks’ best player tonight. He had smart reads in all three zones, and led by example in the give-a-bleep department. Leading by example like that is exactly what you’d want to see from somebody in the Canucks’ leadership group after Rick Tocchet called out his team’s effort on Tuesday.
Miller helped the Canucks get onto the board just 15 seconds into the second period after a dogged effort on the forecheck allowed him to find Brock Boeser in the slot for Boeser’s fifth goal of the year. Myers managed to score the Canucks’ second goal of the game shortly after that, which was nice to see. Unfortunately, when you score, it doesn’t negate the awful things you did in your own end (okay that’s the lost shot at Myers tonight, I promise).
I can’t stress this enough — Miller was excellent tonight for Vancouver and set the tone immediately. He also led the charge on the club’s comeback attempt by scoring the first goal they needed to try to even the score late. Instead, the Canucks fell 4-3, and moved to an overall record of 2-2 on the year.
Other notes from tonight:
-When Tocchet talks about players who need to “step it up,” he often doesn’t name names, and that makes sense. But if we had to pick some players who need to step it up, the obvious answers — aside from Myers and Juulsen, obviously — seem to be Andrei Kuzmenko and Anthony Beauvillier. Kuzmenko’s stick represented the end of multiple Canucks offensive chances and breakout attempts tonight, and that’s just not what you want to see from him. Beauvillier has struggled to do much of anything through the early goings of the season, and it would be nice to see him find a way to contribute sooner rather than later.
-Elias Pettersson was “banged up” and missed practice yesterday. He sure didn’t look right tonight, and if taking Saturday’s game off to get to 100% is what it’s going to take for him to get back to the dominant player we saw in games one and two, then so be it.
-Nikita Kucherov still has it, my goodness.
-You have to feel better about the way the Canucks lost tonight, and while there’s still room for improvement on their play tonight, hopefully they can use this as a starting point for the consistency Tocchet spoke about earlier today.
What’s your instant reaction from tonight’s game? Let us know in the comments section below!

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