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Instant Reaction: Nils Höglander scores twice as Vancouver Canucks beat Flames 4-2

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Photo credit:© Simon Fearn-USA TODAY Sports
David Quadrelli
19 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! Wyatt Arndt is on The Stanchies and Mike Liu will have The Statsies — CA’s analytics-based post game report — up tomorrow morning.
Nils Höglander opened the scoring early on in this one, scoring within the first minute of the game after a beautiful passing play from Conor Garland and, even more so, Elias Pettersson.
The Pettersson line has looked great since the additions of Garland and Höglander to EP40’s wings. The line continued their strong start, turning in multiple strong shifts to begin the game. Tonight, they set the tone early and gave the Canucks the lead early.
Nils Höglander got in on the forecheck multiple times and was very noticeable in the first period of this one. Casey DeSmith was also sharp in the first period, and the Canucks exited the opening 20 minutes of play up by a goal.
And who else but Höglander to extend the Canucks’ lead to two in the second period?
That goal was the definition of filthy.
Shortly after the goal, Vasily Pokdolzin hooked Jonathan Huberdeau on a breakaway, leading to Calgary’s first power play of the game. Huberdeau wanted a penalty shot, and it was hard to disagree. Although, did Podkolzin really hook or slash Huberdeau here? You be the judge…
The Flames got onto the board and cut the Canucks’ lead to one in the dying minutes of the second period after Rasmus Andersson caught the Canucks on a bad line change.
This was turning into a tight-checking — and yes, a bit boring — game, and the Canucks entered the third period up by just a goal.
The Pettersson line continued their dominance in the third, and the ice truly seemed tilted every time they were on the ice together. The Flames were a post away from tying the game up late in the third after the Canucks failed to convert on a power play opportunity that would have iced the game.
When they got a second chance to finish this game on the power play, they made no mistake. JT Miller drew the penalty:
And JT Miller scored the Canucks’ fourth goal of the game:
That’s Miller’s 90th point of the season, for those keeping track at home.
Elias Lindholm added an empty net goal, and the Flames picked up a goal in the dying seconds of the game. 4-2 Canucks final.
Some other thoughts from tonight:
-Nils Höglander was a dog on a bone tonight, and the Canucks will need him to keep this up if the Pettersson line is to keep up their success. It wasn’t just the goals that get Höglander the recognition tonight. Tonight is a prime example of one of the things Rick Tocchet always harps on, and that’s that playing the right way will result in points. If you don’t cheat this game, it will reward you, and tonight, Höglander was certainly playing the right way.
-Elias Pettersson and Conor Garland both turned in strong games, and JT Miller showed up when they needed him most. That’s three straight wins for the Canucks as they continue to gear up for the games that really matter next month.
What’s your instant reaction to tonight’s game? Let us know in the comments section below!

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