Instant Reaction: Zadorov-enge for Nikita in 4-3 defeat of the Calgary Flames in Canucks debut

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Lachlan Irvine
7 months ago
Welcome back to Instant Reaction — the series here at CanucksArmy where we give you our instant reaction to tonight’s game and ask our readers to do the same in the comments section below. Wyatt Arndt is writing The Stanchies, which will be posted later tonight. The Statsies — CA’s analytics-based post game report by Mike Liu — will be posted tomorrow morning.
It wasn’t a super pretty game, but the Canucks won’t be complaining about the two points earned any time soon.
The spotlight shone brightest on Nikita Zadorov, who made his debut in a Canucks uniform against the team that traded him. And as if by very specific script, Zadorov wound up with a touch on the game-winning, empty-net goal.
Zadorov insisted to Hockey Night in Canada’s Scott Oake that Elias Pettersson was the last to touch it, but the replay didn’t lend much evidence to that being true.
EDITOR’S NOTE: As of 10:55 PM, the NHL officially credited the goal to Elias Pettersson, giving him 10 goals on the season. Who are we to disagree with the Canucks newest addition or the NHL scorekeepers?
Unlike their last game against the Golden Knights, things got off on the right foot for the Canucks almost immediately. Quinn Hughes gave Jacob Markstrom 2017 flashbacks by scoring on the Canucks’ very first shot of the game, a far-side laser beam past Markstrom’s glove just two minutes into the contest. Six minutes later, Markstrom made a stop on Filip Hronek, but Sam Lafferty whacked home the rebound to double the Canucks lead.
After Mikael Backlund got the Flames back into the game with a power play goal off an Adam Ruzicka cross-ice pass, both teams settled into a very low-event, even-keeled game. From the second period, all the way into the later stages of the third, both teams traded chances, but neither passed ten shots in any given period.
The Flames found life late in the third after Elias Lindholm cut the Canucks lead in half after drawing Thatcher Demko out of position to make it 3-2. Then Zadorov (Pettersson?) sealed it with an empty netter.
Lindholm made it interesting in the dying minute when he scored his second of the game off a wild round off the backboards that put Demko out of position for the second straight goal.
There’s no doubt that some players had better nights than others. Mikheyev had a great evening, finishing with an even-strength goal and the primary helper on Lafferty’s tally.
Here are some other observations from tonight’s tilt in Calgary:
  • Sometimes, I think people are being a little unfair to Noah Juulsen. But then he does something like singlehandedly creating a 2-on-1 against or throwing the puck over the glass with a minute to go, and I’m right there with the fans expressing doubt over his contributions.
  • Myers and Zadorov had a quieter night than most expected from the new Chaos Brothers. In some ways, that’s a checkmark in their favour. Giving up the cross-ice pass that led to Backlund’s power play goal wasn’t great, but we can chalk that one up to “new linemate” bugs for now.
  • Thatcher Demko walked away with the win, and that’s frankly all that matters. But it’s hard not to notice how often he’s ended up out of position on scoring chances in his recent starts. The Flames’ second goal tonight was a prime example. Knowing Demko, this is likely a short-term issue, but it’s certainly worth keeping an eye on if it persists.
What’s your instant reaction to tonight’s game? Let us know in the comments section below!

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