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Instant Reaction: Vancouver Canucks work hard and anticipate well to beat the Stars 3-1

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Photo credit:© Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
David Quadrelli
10 months ago
As you likely read in Scenes from morning skate, Guillaume Brisebois was a game time decision in this one. And the decision here was for him to sit out and for Jack Rathbone to slot back into the NHL lineup.
On his first shift of the game, Rathbone made a nice play to be the first to a loose puck behind the Canucks’ net, and caused Ty Dellandrea to high stick him.
Ryan Suter opened the scoring for Dallas just past the halfway point of the first period, with Dakota Joshua and Nils Aman teaming up to convert on the penalty kill to even the score for the Canucks heading into the second.
And it was in that second where the Canucks really came alive.
Filip Hronek and JT Miller teamed up to find Brock Boeser alone in the slot, and Boeser made no mistake in ripping the puck home. This goal was the first of two where the Canucks showed off that North-South aggressiveness that Rick Tocchet wants to see his team play with.
That aggressiveness was more noticeable on the next goal, where four of five Canucks players were below the hash marks when the goal went in.
On this goal, Andrei Kuzmenko showed off tremendous patience in the offensive zone to feed Jack Rathbone for a one timer in the slot. It was a nice welcome back to the NHL for Rathbone, whose last NHL game was on November 9th.
The Canucks took a two goal led the exact way Tocchet would have wanted them to.
The Canucks were anticipating plays incredibly well tonight. It’s been games like this one where the Canucks’ team defence and process looks good that has people believing — cautiously, of course, since they’ve seen this movie before — that a full season under Tocchet will result in this team once again reaching the playoffs.
Tonight, the Canucks took down one of the top teams in the Western conference in convincing fashion. Not because Demko stole them a win, not because Dallas played last night. Sure, Matt Murray was in net instead of Jake Oettinger, but the point stands.
If there’s one critique of this game, it’s got to be the Canucks’ new-look power play with Filip Hronek on the left side. Hronek has an absolute bomb of a shot and was unable to show it off. He also wasn’t really able to do much with the spot he was in, and philosophically, going with two defencemen on the power play — especially a 5-on-3 power play — seems a bit foolish.
I get wanting to get Hronek into more opportunities to show off his offensive chops — he was great at both ends of the ice once again, to be clear — but the power play formation the Canucks went with tonight yielded no results with the three chances they had. I’m not even advocating for Hronek to be taken off the power play, per se. What I’d really like to see is for the Canucks’ first unit to be more active in rotating positions (like the Oilers’ PP) to free up Hronek to let go of some slap shots from the point.
Anyway, there’s your old man yells at cloud segment for the night.
All in all, it was a good game for the Canucks and they deserved the win tonight. Enjoy the rest of your Saturday everyone! We’ll do it all over again tomorrow!

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