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Instant Reaction: Vancouver Canucks upset Edmonton Oilers in mixed bag win

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Photo credit:© Perry Nelson-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! Cody Severtson 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. 
The Canucks won all three periods against the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday, and quickly made it four during the Oilers’ home opener tonight.
It appeared as though the Canucks’ forecheck and overall physicality took the Oilers off-guard in the first period. Edmonton struggled to break the puck out of their own zone cleanly, struggled to move the puck through the neutral zone, as the Canucks gave them plenty of trouble in the opening 20 minutes.
Dare I say it? The Canucks’ structure, accountability, and habits were very noticeable in the first period, and slightly less noticeable, but still noticeable, in the third.
Tocchet has spoken plenty about playing a solid enough structure that the Canucks are able to recover if one player makes a mistake. After the Oilers’ first goal, the Canucks really tightened things up and managed to avoid compounding mistakes.
In the second period, some players were impressive, while others weren’t. Transcendent analysis, I know. Let me be more specific.
The Akito Hirose-Noah Juulsen pairing’s job tonight was to just tread water, and it seemed like Hirose held up his end of the bargain. He made some smart reads, played the body when the moment called for it and was solid tonight. He wasn’t spectacular, but the Canucks weren’t asking him or Juulsen to be spectacular. Juulsen, on the other hand, had multiple miscues in this one, and cost the Canucks dearly when he tried to make a stretch pass while shorthanded instead of flipping the puck out. This led to the Oilers’ second goal of the night, and first on the power play.
Later in the second, Juulsen put the Oilers back on the power play, but thankfully, the Canucks managed to kill that one off.
Through 40 minutes, the only Canucks pairing that could truly be classified as “good” was Quinn Hughes and Filip Hronek.
Ian Cole was better in the second than he was in the first, but an unnecessary roughing minor put the Oilers back on the power play late. Whether you agree with the call or not, this team is not in a position to allow referees to make judgement calls like that. Thankfully, the Canucks escaped the second period still tied at three, but after such a promising opening 20 minutes, the Canucks’ bottom two pairings and penalty kill left much to be desired. Cole logged big minutes tonight, and this certainly isn’t an effort to single him out in a negative way. He was crucial to the success that the penalty kill found tonight and was a key part of the game.
Now, the Oilers came out much harder in the second than they did in the first period, but it was still the kind of adversity you’d like to see the Canucks answer with more of what made them successful in game one and in period one of this game.
This tweet is obviously in jest, but is it that far off from being the truth…?
How different does this team look if they have the option of scratching Juulsen and running a second pairing of Carson Soucy and Ian Cole? Myers would be on the third pairing with Hirose, and theoretically, that would give the Canucks two defence pairings they can be quite confident in.
The Canucks gave a taste of what they’re capable of at various times tonight, but their flaws were also very apparent. With the structured system this team is playing with to start the season, combined with the play of both of their goaltenders to this point, it’s hard to believe that some reinforcements at the bottom of the lineup wouldn’t do wonders for them. Think Sam Lafferty, but on defence.
Speaking of Sam Lafferty, what a nice sight to see somebody wearing number 18 for the Canucks drive the net hard and actually score.
As you can tell by the way this article has gone, tonight’s game was a mixed bag for the Vancouver Canucks. They looked great in the first, looked weak in the second, and responded well in the third. Casey DeSmith was excellent despite facing a whopping 41 shots.
As you’ll read in The Stanchies, both Tocchet and Ian Cole weren’t doing cartwheels after tonight’s win. They saw the Canucks’ flaws just as much as we all did.
In the end, the Canucks held on and secured the victory by a final score of 4-3. More importantly, the Canucks are the sole reason that the Edmonton Oilers are now 0-2 on the season.

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