Instant Reaction: Pistol Pete’s 99th point plunges poniard into Flames’ playoff push
Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
7 months ago
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 comment section below! The Stanchies by Wyatt Arndt will be posted later tonight, and The Statsies — CanucksArmy’s analytics-based post game report by Mike Liu — will be posted tomorrow morning.
The Canucks played a game on Saturday night!
It’s been a long season with an unusually high number of bad storylines and perpetual drama, both on the ice and off. How bizarre that in game 79, the Canucks entered and left a game with zero bad vibes? In fact, how bizarre is it that in game 79, the Canucks actually left a game with more good vibes than bad? More fun storylines than miserable?
What a time to be alive!
Sure, the evening started with Bo Horvat roasting his former fanbase. But was he wrong?
Bo was a loyal soldier for nearly a decade and captained this team through some of the worst iced lineups in franchise history. Is it Bo’s fault that the GMs above him floundered for eight years, struggling to ice a contender? Is it Bo’s fault that an incompetent GM’s near-decade-long failure to ice a watchable product turned Rogers Arena into an overpriced ghost town? No.
Getting mad at Bo for showing some personality is an absolute loser mentality. Let Bo crack jokes at his old team’s expense! It’s great WWE heel content and great commentary on the previous regime’s utter failure to accomplish anything with him as their leader.
Bo Horvat has single-handedly made a home game against the New York Islanders worth the price of admission!
But this game against Calgary was nothing but positive and a smidge of bittersweet. On “fan appreciation night,” the Vancouver Canucks finally gave the fans something to smile about for a change.
First, we had the new kid on the block, Cole McWard, opening the scoring for Vancouver with a heater through traffic.
It was a must-win game for Calgary heading into Saturday night in Vancouver. They trailed the second wildcard spot leading Winnipeg Jets by two points, with the Jets edging the Flames by the “regulation wins” tiebreaker, 34 to 30. So naturally, with the stakes at their highest to keep their playoff hopes alive, the Flames choked.
While we’re not a fan of meaningless wins down the stretch that do nothing but sewer the Canucks draft position, we are fans of meaningless wins down the stretch as long as the win sewers the playoff chase of a division rival!
Speaking of trailing! The Canucks glass cannon penalty kill stayed hot, with J.T. Miller picking up his 48th assist on Elias Pettersson’s 38th goal of the season.
The Canucks PK is somehow second only to the Edmonton Oilers in shorthanded goals for and tied with the St. Louis Blues for the most shorthanded goals against, because of course they do.
Then there was the bittersweet from the evening, with John Garrett calling his last home game as part of the regional broadcast.
Ahead of the second period, Shorty cited the Vancouver faithful’s admiration for Garrett. Cheech joked, “Yes, Vancouver has always been very kind to me. They were very kind to me, and my 6.49 goals against average!” The comedy stylings of John & John on the broadcast have been a staple of the past decade of near-unwatchable Canucks hockey.
Saturday night was another reminder of how good Vancouver has it when things are going their way. Exciting games, players breaking records, a result that stokes the fires of a division rivalry, and the best broadcast in hockey cruising down memory lane to honour a legend.
We’re not sure who will be filling in for Cheech next season, but it will be a tall task for whoever is asked to fill the shoes left behind by Vancouver’s beloved ketchup king.
Thatcher Demko picked up his first shutout in game 78. During the broadcast’s trip down memory lane, they brought up Cheech’s unintentional jinx of Roberto Luongo’s shutout streak.
Even Bobby Lu wanted Scott Oake to address it post-game.
Unfortunately, the trip down memory lane came at a pretty stupid time. Sure enough, Elias Lindholm scored 38 seconds into the 3rd to end Demko’s shutout streak. Six minutes later, Nazem Kadri scored to knot the game at 2.
Hard to be negative about the broadcast’s shutout jinx because it was based on good intentions! But so very Canucks of them to jinx Demko’s best performance of the season against a dangerous and desperate team.
Again, sticking with the all-positives, the overtime was electric, Akito Hirose and Cole McWard continued to shine as rookie defencemen trying to earn themselves an NHL roster spot for next season, and Thatcher Demko was lights out (jinxes aside), stonewalling the Flames in the shootout and plunging a dagger deep into their playoff hopes.
Yes, the two points also plunged a dagger into the Canucks odds of drafting Connor Bedard. But hey, you can’t win ’em all!
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