Instant Reaction: Nikita Zadorov hits the griddy on Jake Walman as Canucks beat Red Wings 4-1

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
David Quadrelli
4 months ago
Welcome back to Instant Reaciton — 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 duty and Mike Liu will have The Statsies — CA’s analytics-based post game report — up tomorrow morning!
The Red Wings’ forecheck was so strong to start this game, and it was very interesting to see how the Canucks’ defencemen handled that pressure. The short answer was that they handled it admirably and, as Rick Tocchet might say, met pressure with pressure.
The Canucks transitioned the puck up with speed, which caused Detroit to be back on their heels a bit. Even better, the Canucks got the puck deep and answered with an overwhelming forecheck of their own. Now, Detroit’s back end isn’t filled with the best puck movers, so pressure like that often leads to mistakes from the defencemen. And on the Canucks’ first goal, it was Jeff Petry making the mistake.
Even Luca Sbisa sees that turnover and wonders how an NHL defenceman made that play.
You could say that the only thing worse than Detroit’s defence is their goaltending. This goal from Elias Lindholm — his third as a Canuck — on just the Canucks’ fourth shot of the game is the reason you could say that.
The biggest story from the first wasn’t the goals, and it wasn’t even the Canucks’ pressure on the forecheck. No, the story of the first was Noah Juulsen.
Juulsen logged one more minute than Quinn Hughes in the first period, and in the minutes that he played, he was making great plays all over the ice, continuing his run of strong play over the last few games.
If there was a “most improved” Canucks team award, Noah Juulsen would be the heavy favourite for it right now. He might even be making his case for the Unsung Hero award with the way he’s been playing lately. Watch this montage.
There’s shot blocks, smart defending with both stick and body positioning, a slap pass, and more shot blocks. That was an excellent opening 20 minutes of play for Noah Juulsen — par for the course with how he’s been playing lately.
I sometimes get an early look at The Stanchies and can tell you that Wyatt will be bringing the heat tonight when it comes to breaking down what Juulsen is doing to find success right now.
The second period of this game was scrambly, but also action-packed. We saw Thatcher Demko make some phenomenal saves:
And of course, we also saw some weak-looking shots make their way through traffic and beat Wings goaltender Alex Lyon:
In the third, we saw a strong contender for the worst slashing penalty of all time called against Quinn Hughes:
But it wasn’t just the bad call. There were some non-calls that were just silly. This one against Quinn Hughes being the most egregious:
Of course, we all know why this wasn’t called — because the Canucks were already on a power play, and as we all know, breaking the rules is fine when one of your teammates is already being punished for breaking one of the rules.
This game’s intensity level picked up big time in the third. A storyline heading into this game was if the Canucks would have any response to Jake Walman hitting the griddy dance move after his OT winner on Saturday. As it turns out, the Canucks’ strategy was to play hard — and to high stick Walman. Elias Pettersson caught Walman up high on a backhand follow through, and Nils Höglander caught him later. When Walman complained to the refs, Nikita Zadorov mocked the Wings defenceman’s goal celebration, and shortly after, the Canucks went up 4-1.
It’s safe to say the Canucks got the last laugh here in a game that quickly felt like it had a playoff flavour to it. Elias Lindholm scored his second goal of the game, and that was just about all she wrote.
Tonight was one of the Canucks’ most complete victories of the season, and was a ton of fun. If this was a glimpse of what playoff hockey will be like, you have to like what you saw from the Canucks — especially Nikita Zadorov.
What’s your instant reaction to tonight’s game? Let us know in the comments section below!

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