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Instant Reaction: Nils Höglander scores early and Canucks don’t look back in 2-1 win over Ducks

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Photo credit:© Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports
David Quadrelli
4 months 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! Cody Severtson is on Stanchies duty and Mike Liu will have The Statsies — CA’s analytics-based post game report — posted tomorrow morning!
It’s the Ducks. You need to beat the Ducks, right? Right. Let’s dive into this one!
Nils Höglander capped off a phenomenal first shift of the game for Elias Pettersson’s line, as Quinn Hughes looked ready to leave his rough outing from earlier this week in the past.
That’s 19 even-strength goals for Nils Höglander, who was bumped off PP2 tonight so that Vasily Podkolzin could get a shot.
Alex Killorn benefited from a fortuitous bounce almost immediately after Höglander’s goal and tied things up at one.
Vasily Podkolzin got in on the forecheck on the following shift, and held onto the puck to create a good-looking scoring opportunity for Conor Garland. Unfortunately the shot was blocked, but if the shot resulted in a goal, Podkolzin would have gotten some Dakota Joshua comparisons for sure. Whether rightly or wrongly.
Podkolzin made multiple good plays in the offensive end during the first period. He was getting in on the forecheck, disrupting plays, and looked engaged. Ilya Mikheyev on the other hand…
What can you say about Mikheyev at this point? This might sound a bit harsh, so bear with me.
When a player signed to score offence struggles to produce offence, you feel a bit bad for them. I said a bit. But when they’re not scoring, continue to get chances, and don’t look like they’re really trying? That’s when you start to have the fanbase turn on you. That’s when you get into Loui Eriksson territory. Hell, towards the end of his Canucks tenure, Loui was something of a fan favourite — I said something of a — solely because he leaned into the whole being good defensively while being a black hole on offence. Beating out icings, scoring empty net goals, whatever it was — Mikheyev’s doing none of it right now.
Before the end of the first, the Canucks went to the power play for the first time in this game. Their PP1 personnel were given a timeout (split up from one another after a run of not scoring), but were back together tonight. They looked far more dangerous on their power play opportunities, and on their second one of the game, they managed to convert just as the power play expired, with Nikita Zadorov setting up Conor Garland to give the Canucks a 2-1 lead.
Like they have so many times already this season, the Canucks entered the third with a one goal lead. The last time the Canucks entered a third period with a lead and Casey DeSmith in goal, they lost 10-7 to the Minnesota Wild, so they couldn’t do much worse in this one than they did back then!
The Ducks saved their best period of the game for last, but all they accomplished was adding some new film to Casey DeSmith’s highlight reel, as the Canucks backup netminder allowed just one goal and 19 shots en route to the 2-1 Canucks victory.
Nils Höglander needs some extra love tonight. He was the engine driving the Elias Pettersson line, and nobody was expecting to see that this season. Funnily enough, Höglander’s promotion to the top six seems to have put a giant spotlight on how badly the Canucks need some winger help ahead of Friday’s trade deadline.
Tonight, the Canucks were the better team and won a game that felt very quick. A forgetful game in every sense of the word.
What’s your instant reaction to tonight’s game? Let us know in the comments section below!

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