The Preseasies: Di Giuseppe, Blueger lead Canucks past Flames 3-1 in preseason finale
Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
1 month ago
After six long, arduous games, the preseason is finally over.
The Canucks finished their tune-up schedule with a record of 2-3-1 after beating the Calgary Flames 3-1 on Friday, and the beginning of the season is suddenly just five days away. 82 games across seven months is now all that separates the Canucks from either a triumphant playoff berth or another long summer.
So let’s not waste any time, shall we?
The Canucks didn’t take long to find their footing.
A very nice 69 seconds in, Phil Di Giuseppe wins a puck battle along the boards and moves it to J.T. Miller, who spots Tyler Myers crossing the blue line. Myers then steps into arguably one of the nicest slap shots of his career; a low hard shot that Jacob Markstrom is nowhere near prepared for.
If this version of Tyler Myers shows up during the regular season, consider me excited.
GOAL: 1-0 Canucks – Tyler Myers from J.T. Miller and Phil Di Giuseppe
After grabbing the early lead, the Canucks found themselves in the rare position of being able to dictate the pace of play. With Matt Coronato in the box, the Canucks dominated possession on the power play and gave the Flames’ penalty killers little chance to get a line change.
But eventually the Flames broke through with an aggressive shift that caught the Canucks’ defence off guard. MacKenzie Weegar took the initial wide shot before Jonathan Huberdeau shoveled it back into the crease. Demko did his best to seal off the post, but Nazem Kadri was able to get to the net and jam it in.
It wasn’t the worst scoring chance the Canucks defence has allowed this preseason, but Kadri probably shouldn’t have gotten such an uncontested whack at the rebound.
GOAL: 1-1 Tie – Nazem Kadri from Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar
A bit of an underwhelming end to the period, but it was a good 20 minutes nonetheless!
The game became a more even fight in the second period, as both teams tried to find the go ahead goal without overworking themselves ahead of the regular season. It took until the last six minutes for the Canucks to break the deadlock.
Earlier in the first period, Teddy Blueger had turned a broken up pass in the defensive zone into a great scoring chance for Dakota Joshua. This time, Quinn Hughes fed Blueger a pass through the middle as he split the defence and deked out Markstrom like it’s his daily routine. Then Jack Studnicka got ran into Markstrom and the crossbar by Dryden Hunt, and all hell broke loose.
GOAL: 2-1 Canucks – Teddy Blueger from Quinn Hughes
Not to be outdone by Blueger’s nifty goal, Phil Di Giuseppe capped off a terrific preseason with a coronation.
After Captain Hughes holds the line like a savvy veteran, Di Giuseppe gets behind the Flames defence as Brock Boeser feeds him a pass into the slot. All Di Giuseppe does is rip the puck past Markstrom’s glove to send the Canucks to the locker room with a two-goal lead.
Di Giuseppe is apparently Italian for “big dangles”.
GOAL: 3-1 Canucks – Phil Di Giuseppe from Brock Boeser and Elias Pettersson
The Canucks outshot the Flames 11-8 in the middle frame, but the period ended on a sour note when Carson Soucy got tangled up with Yegor Sharangovich and gingerly made his way to the locker room shortly after.
Right before the start of the third period, the Canucks announced that Soucy would not return to the game. Because it isn’t a Canucks preseason without someone getting injured.
Neither team found the back of the net during the third period, but perhaps more importantly, the Canucks never took their foot off the gas despite their two goal lead.
Vancouver outshot Calgary 11-4 in the third – 31-18 in total – and dominated possession across the board. The bottom six was particularly strong at driving play in this game, and Rick Tocchet noted as much in his postgame press conference.
But with the regular season on the horizon, Tocchet also didn’t put too much stock into the performance.
“We’re not ordering the rings or anything because we won in the preseason,” Tocchet said. “We liked our effort, now we have to work on it again the next [game].”
CanucksArmy Three Stars
First star to no one’s surprise is Phil Di Giuseppe. In the modern NHL where actually “winning a spot” in the preseason is becoming less and less frequent, Di Giuseppe has absolutely accomplished that in the last couple weeks. Tonight he cemented his place on the opening night roster with a goal and an assist. You can’t help but root for him.
Second star belongs to Teddy Blueger, who’s had a quieter preseason than PDG but an extremely effective one. Tonight he was rewarded with a goal for his efforts, and hopefully the offence will find him more as he continues to create scoring opportunities for him and his linemates.
And finally the third star goes to Tyler Myers. I know what you’re thinking; “Lachlan, you just gave the goal scorers as the stars, you lazy bum!” But there’s more to it than that. Not only did Myers set the tempo with his opening goal, but according to Hockey Stat Cards he was also the most effective possession player on either team tonight, earning a game score of 2.14.
A renaissance for Tyler Myers might not be likeliest scenario to happen this season, but hey, stranger things have happened.
The regular season! The Canucks open the 2023-24 campaign at home against the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday, October 11th.
Now the real fun begins!
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