Instant Reaction: Quinn Hughes forces the eastern media to notice him in Canucks’ win over Panthers

Photo credit:© Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
David Quadrelli
6 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.
Tonight’s game was a 4 PM Pacific start — 7 PM Eastern. It was on Hockey Night in Canada.
Quinn Hughes clearly knew what all that really means: The analysts who don’t stay up late enough to watch him play were definitely going to be watching this one.
Although, the Leafs were playing, so maybe they’ll still be catching the highlight package of this game…
In the same month that ESPN ranked him as the 60th best player in the league (Seth Jones came in at 52 on the same list!) Quinn Hughes put on a show in Sunrise tonight.
The Canucks’ captain was simply controlling the game at a level that rightfully got major props from former Canuck Kevin Bieksa during the Hockey Night in Canada intermission. Hughes’ poise with and without the puck was the story tonight, as when things looked hairy for the Canucks after a bit of a lacklustre first period, Hughes brought a level of stability to the ice that the Canucks just didn’t have to that point.
Hughes opened the scoring for the Canucks in the first period with the first power play road goal of his career. How good has Hughes been this season? Tonight was the first time this season that he’s been on the ice for a goal against. This is a player who’s been playing huge minutes against the opposition’s best, and is a regular on the Canucks’ penalty kill. The fact it took this long for him to be out for a goal against is absolutely bananas. Especially when you consider that tonight’s 5-3 win was unequivocally a very a strong game for Hughes.
Some other thoughts:
-Elias Pettersson and Jack Hughes share the NHL point lead. Pettersson isn’t playing at 100%, and although he tallied two points on Thursday night, he looked much better in this game where he tallied a goal and an assist.
-Casey DeSmith was fantastic tonight, especially in the third period. Tocchet spoke earlier today about the team needing to trust their backup goalie, and so far, there’s been no reason for the Canucks not to trust DeSmith to man their crease.
-That’s how you answer, Andrei Kuzmenko. This morning, Tocchet said he thought Kuzmenko has been struggling as of late, and rightfully so. Following a 39-goal rookie campaign last season, Kuzmenko had just one goal and one assist through the Canucks’ first four games despite playing next to the red-hot Elias Pettersson and getting prime time on the Canucks’ first power play unit. His goal tonight was a nice way for him to get the monkey off his back.
-Give them credit, the Lafferty-Studnicka-Garland line seemed like the ultimate spare parts line to me when I saw the line rushes this morning. I wasn’t expecting much tonight, but they were a bit of an energy line, which is likely exactly what Tocchet wanted from them.
-Brock Boeser is already up to six goals as he was out late while Florida had their goalie pulled. I just want to remind everyone that one of my major predictions ahead of this season was that Boeser would hit 30 goals. And don’t worry, I knocked on wood immediately after I wrote that sentence.
All in all, tonight was another solid effort from this Canucks team. We shouldn’t have to make note of that, but we saw this team already take their foot off the gas earlier this week when they were in Philadelphia. Tocchet seemed quick to get them back on track, and even though they also lost to the Lightning, the effort was there in that game, too. Tonight’s second period was likely the most complete and strongest period this team has played this season, and that came at a great time after a fairly average first frame.
Obviously, wins and losses matter, but seeing this team play a smarter, more complete game tonight was certainly a welcome sight for fans.
What’s your instant reaction from tonight’s game? Let us know in the comments section below!

Check out these posts...