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Instant Reaction: Quinn Hughes nearly scores a hat trick as Vancouver Canucks fall 6-3 to Vegas Golden Knights

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Photo credit:© Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
David Quadrelli
1 month 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!
The Canucks looked incredibly sloppy to start this game, and that’s not good. Vegas was all over them in the early goings, and the Golden Knights were rewarded with two goals early on.
On the first one, Casey DeSmith made a marvellous save and then made a crucial error when he sweeped the puck under his glove and right onto the doorstep.
The second goal was a case of DeSmith getting cleanly beat, and simply put, this is one you want DeSmith to have.
The Canucks pulled within one after a hardworking shift from Elias Pettersson and his line. Pettersson battled to keep the play alive behind the Vegas net, eventually sweeping the puck out in front. Nils Höglander, refusing to give up on the play, poked the loose puck past Logan Thompson to make it 2-1.
Then, just seconds later, Jack Eichel made it 3-1 after Arshdeep Bains was a bit delayed in picking up his check. It was a tough game for Bains.
The Canucks took the first penalty of the game when Nikita Zadorov was called for a phantom high stick.
The Golden Knights scored on the ensuing power play to make it 4-1, and I can’t help but think back to last month, when Rick Tocchet took the opportunity to suggest that if the NHL brings in further reviews of high sticks, they should include post-review penalties for players who snap their heads back to draw a call. It’s hard to disagree.
The Canucks got their first power play of the game when JT Miller took an actual high stick to the face. It was a four minute power play, and despite it still being in the first period, it felt like the Canucks needed a goal in order to stay in this game.
They didn’t score one.
To make matters worse, Nikita Zadorov was assessed a five minute major, for boarding after this hit:
Of course, Vegas scored to make it 5-1 in the second.
Quinn Hughes scored a goal to make it 5-2.
In the third period, Hughes scored again to make it 5-3!
Just 24 seconds after that goal, the Canucks gave up another 2-on-1, and Vegas took the three-goal lead right back.
Quinn Hughes nearly scored a hat trick goal later in the third when he ripped a slap shot off the crossbar. But it wasn’t meant to be. This one ended by a final score of 6-3, with the Canucks actually managing to outshoot the Golden Knights when it was all said and done.
I’m not trying to pin this loss on Casey DeSmith. The Canucks played poorly in front of him and gave up some untimely odd-man rushes. It was by no means a banner night for this team on the defensive side, but it doesn’t feel crazy to say that this one likely would have at least been closer if Thatcher Demko was in net.
Some other thoughts on tonight’s game:
-This is awful.
-Wait, it’s only the second period? You’ve got to be kidding me.
-This was a rough game for Ian Cole. Manage his load! He was on the ice for all of Vegas’ first five goals.
-Nikita Zadorov’s load was managed on Sunday, but apparently not enough, according to Kelly Sutherland.
-This was a rough night for Casey DeSmith. Thatcher Demko skated today, and Arturs Silovs will start in Arizona tomorrow.
-He was involved on Höglander’s goal and deserves credit there, but it was another quiet night for Elias Pettersson against a top team.
-It sure feels like Brock Boeser needs to step his game up if the Canucks are going to do anything in the playoffs.
What are your thoughts on tonight’s game? Let us know in the comments section below!

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