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The Stanchies: The Dakota Joshua Show Featuring An Arty Party and Boeser’s 38th

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Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Trent Leith
17 days ago
We did, folks. We made it. Through all the turmoil on and off the ice, the Canucks are finally in the playoffs. And real playoffs, too, not some fake summer camp crap that the Canucks only qualified for because the NHL expanded the number of playoff teams. Legitimate Stanley Cup Playoffs, with fans and everything!
We put up with the Bitter Bros and Benning Bros wars. We have argued over which jersey was better (the Skate, for the record) and how the Olli Juolevi was actually a good pick. We have also discussed how Jake Virtanen just needs more time and how Nikolay Goldobin was actually elite. Hell, I even had Aquilini’s girlfriend (allegedly) call me a dishwasher from Surrey on her burner account.
Things got weird out here for the last nine seasons, but we can put that behind us and put up the car flags instead. Towel Power is coming back, baby.
And so are really bad T-shirts!
Is this a good shirt? Nope.
Am I thinking about buying one anyway and never wearing it? Yup!
It’ll go right next to my “Team Like That” shirt.
Canucks fans deserve this. For as unhinged as Canucks Twitter can be, you can’t say there is no passion. This is one of the most passionate fanbases in the NHL, and the fans finally have something meaningful to root for.
But there’s still work to be done, especially if they want the title in the West. And the work continued on Sunday afternoon when the Canucks played the Anaheim Ducks.
Elias Pettersson didn’t make practice on Saturday. Some say he was out trying to buy car flags before they all sold out. I am still working on a source to go on record with that. However, he must have finished his shopping because he was ready for game time.
We also got our first #ArtyParty of the season, with Casey DeSmith getting a break after his stretch of games in Thatcher Demko’s wake. Arturs Silovs got his sixth NHL game on Sunday after playing five games last season for the Canucks and putting up half-decent numbers.
The last lineup change saw Nikita Zadorov get the night off, supposedly for load management for the defence core. We have seen Ian Cole come out of the lineup, and it was time for Zaddy to take the night off and watch some Canucks hockey.
Enough preamble, let’s talk about the game.
Best Joshua Show
This game was about one man and one man only: Dakota Joshua. After missing a stretch of games from a hand injury he sustained beating the wheels off Mackenzie Entwistle, he has returned in spectacular fashion. His first game back was against Dallas on Thursday; the second game was on Sunday, and he stole the show.
Joshua ended the game with two goals on two shots and a 70% shot share with him on the ice.
Joshua was unstoppable.
Joshua was elite.
Joshua didn’t miss a beat.
Let’s start with his first goal. You’ve seen it. It has been everywhere. But it was beautiful so what is the harm of watching it again?
Chefs kiss.
No notes.
When asked if that was the nicest goal he had ever scored, he said, “In the NHL, yeah, for sure.”
“You know, it’s a different speed at this level. But yeah, I feel comfortable and confident in my game to be able to make plays down there [Net front on the powerplay] for sure.”
Yeah, I’ll say it, Joshua, you seemed just fine. 
But that was not even close to the totality of his contributions to the game on Sunday. He had the game’s first high-danger chance, that I noticed at least.
Did I forget to check a box when clipping the game and now some of the clips are dark? Yes.
Apologies for the technical difficulties on some of these GIFs. It will be fixed in the next edition of the award-winning Stanchies.
Picture this: You are skating into your own zone to pick up a puck, and all you can hear is Dakota Joshua shredding up the ice behind you. You know he is there, but you have to do your job and get the puck. But you know you will be crushed into the boards at any moment.
The terror he must have felt. This is why I never backcheck. I don’t want to die; I got work in the morning, you know?
Joshua and Conor Garland were on a line with J.T. Miller on Sunday, and I have to say, I really like it. At five-on-five, they had seven high-danger chances for and only three against (70%). More than anything, I just missed watching Garland and Joshua do their thing.
Their chemistry is so good, and finding it again took no time at all. They were up to their old high jinx in no time.
In the third period, the Canucks gave up two goals for the Ducks to tie the game at two and cause some nervous laughter from the fans. The Canucks just locked the playoffs and were on the brink of blowing a 2-0 to the 30th-place Ducks.
But don’t worry, Daky Daddy is here. He did the on-ice version of swaddling Canucks fans and whispering calming sweet nothings in our ears. He gave the Canucks the go-ahead goal with 2:13 remaining in the third period.
I know this segment is about Joshua, but can we talk about Garland for a moment? I know Canucks fans are finally catching up to Thomas Drance circa 2021 with their praise of Garland’s talent. He plays so low to the ice he looks impossible to defend.
And his spins. My goodness, the spins. This is the second game in a row where Garland was fighting for a puck behind the net and made a perfect backhand blind pass to a player in the slot.
On Thursday, it was to Miller; on Sunday, it was to Joshua. These two are going to be an absolute riot to watch in the playoffs.
That was a bad choice of words.
Not only was Joshua good in the offensive end, but he was strong on the penalty kill, too. In a game where there were eight penalties awarded, there was lots of special teams time awarded, and the Canucks PK was a strength going 4-4 on the PK.
His most notable play on the PK was a diving poke of the puck to Teddy Blueger, who had space for a zone clear.
You can’t teach that; that is just high-IQ hockey.
I’ll only send one more Joshua GIF, and it was because it made me giggle. It is obvious that Joshua is a pain in the ass to play against. Here, Joshua just so happens to be around the goalie as he smothers the puck. Lukáš Dostál just got frustrated and gave Joshua a chop on the inside of the leg, and Joshua didn’t even flinch.
Best 40 Goal Watch
Brock Boeser had a strong offensive game, playing alongside Nils Höglander and Elias Pettersson. He opened the scoring on the powerplay with a great second effort for his 38th goal of the season. This was simply good hard work from Boeser, who tipped the shot, collected the rebound, and scored on the powerplay with only five seconds left on the man advantage.
Boeser’s career high in goals was 29 in his rookie year. Seven seasons later, he has found his stride as a goal scorer. The Canucks haven’t had a 40-goal scorer since 2010/11 when Ryan Kesler and Daniel Sedin did it.
Boeser nearly had a second goal with another tip in the third period.
Remember when Boeser only scored on long-range shots? Now, he is one of the most dynamic goal-scorers on the team. He has pivoted his play and production to become even more dangerous.
Best Arty Party
Arturs Silovs got his first look in NHL action for the season tonight to let DeSmith get some rest, and he played quite well with a .909 save percentage and made 20/22 saves. For a guy that hasn’t played a game since Demko got hurt, he looked sharp and did his part to help the Canucks win.
The only two goals came early in the third period on back-to-back shots, which is never good. The first came off Olen Zellweger’s stick for the first of his career.
It was a bad-angle shot that beat Silovs over the right shoulder. This is always a tough goal to save, but it doesn’t help when Zellweger uses Hronek as a screen to hide the shot.
The second goal is hard to blame on Silovs. The Ducks go behind the net for a wrap-around, and no one was covering McTavish. When the wrap-around failed and went right to McTavish’s stick, Silovs had to go post to post and unfortunately couldn’t get across in time.
Silovs made this save in the first, which looked harmless enough. However, it was a lunging glove that may have gone wide, so it’s best to flash the leather and be safe, just in case.
He did a good job tracking the puck through traffic and smothering plays before they got out of hand in front.
Silovs locked it down in the final moments of the game to keep the Canucks up by one. Here, he does a great job playing Trevor Zegras’ shot in the final minute.
In the last sequence of the game, Silovs did well to manage a scramble in front of the net despite Mason McTavish digging at him as if he were a small dog on a nice couch.
Props to Hronek for snapping on McTavish for digging after the whistle as he did. Hronek was fuming. It’s a good thing for McTavish that the game was over.
Silovs played so well in his first outing that we already have a controversy on our hands.
Oh Vancouver, never change.
Worst Parts First
Despite the win, the Canucks did have a brief collapse in the third period, but I have to give them credit. They bounced right back. But there were two things the Canucks did poorly on the night I want to touch on.
The first is a JT Miller failing to clear the zone on the PK.
We know JT is one of the best players on this team, especially this season. And when the puck is on your stick all the time, you are bound to make mistakes. We know this: JT tends to do 10 things right and then one big, glaring thing wrong. This game’s problem was a blind attempt to dump the puck. The puck went right into a player’s shin pads and stayed in the zone for about another 60 seconds.
Those are clears you have to make. There was no goal on the penalty kill, so no harm, no foul, but when the games are at their biggest, something as small as a puck to the shins can change an entire game and potentially an entire series.
As I said, though, Miller does more good than bad, but the bad can be so blindingly glaring. With all the fans recently chanting his name in the arena, the last thing any of us want is for him to be a whipping boy because of a bad play in the playoffs.
The last negative I want to mention is Bains. I love Arshdeep Bains’s story and am rooting for him, but I don’t think I am breaking any news when I say he just isn’t ready yet.
His confidence at this level just isn’t there. You can see him gripping his stick a little too tight and overthinking plays a little too much – a lot of what Canucks fans saw from Vasily Podkolzin last season.
You can see (once you crank your brightness) that he almost tries to split two defenders and backs out at the last second. Running out of space, Bains makes a pass along the blue line that is awkward to handle, and the puck leaves the zone. It isn’t catastrophic by any means, but it is a good example of a lack of confidence. In the AHL, I bet he tries to split those defenders there. You can see that he wanted to, but at the last moment, he double-clutches and runs out of time to make a strong play.
Bains just needs the confidence to either make the flashy play or the safe play and go with it. The fact that he was torn and overthought for a moment means he ran out of time and space at the NHL level. It will come, but I don’t think he is quite there yet.
Best Parts Second
Now, for the good, I thought there was a lot of it in this game.
Let’s start with Bains again because I don’t want to dump all over him. This was a great backcheck that he turned into a rush the other way, nearly ending Teddy Blueger’s 37-game goalless streak.
Perfectly executed rush and a perfectly placed pass. Great look here by Bains and Bluger.
I know Joshua got all the love from his line today, but this was a great look from Garland in the third, looking to break the tie.
No one works harder on this team than Garland, and it shows every time he is on the ice.
This only makes the “good” pile up because the refs missed it. Here is Carson Soucy defending by simply tackling his man in the crease.
I don’t know how the refs didn’t call that, but they didn’t. “If you aren’t cheating, you aren’t trying.”
Here we have Ilya Mikheyev and Pettersson on a short-handed 2-on-1 that very nearly scores; Mikheyev just couldn’t get a stick on it.
After the Ducks tied the game, the Canucks did a great job of putting on the pressure. It seemed like everyone was playing great, and it was only a matter of time before the Canucks scored again. After the Ducks scored on two back-to-back shots, the Canucks had 12 shots in a row before the Ducks got another.
Hronek had a great backcheck in the third when the Ducks nearly got a breakaway. He took a perfect angle to the puck to block the player but did not take an interference call, controlling the puck and sent it to safety without taking a penalty.
You don’t have to be the fastest player to defend off the rush as long as you defend smart, and Hronek did that perfectly in this sequence.
I am going to drop three gifs in a row here of Quinn Hughes performing magic in the third period trying to will the Canucks to a victory. Grab a snack, put your feet up and check it out.
Quinn Hughes ft. Nils Höglander:
Quinn Hughes ft. JT Miller:
and finally, Quinn Hughes off of the draw
Quinn was dynamite in the final frame at driving offence.
Right after Zellweger scored, Höglander almost got it back immediately with a backhander that went off the crossbar.
And maybe the best part of the game is why the Chaotic Tyler Myers briefly turned into Quinn Hughes.
Look at that. The fake one-way at the blue line, the fake back to beat the defender. That Audible snap of the Ducks players’ ankles and then Myers walks in and lets go a backscratcher of a slapshot. That folks, is what dreams are made of.
Best Jersey Botch
This man looked at the Canucks 20-man roster and went, “Yep, Åman is my guy,” and hit check out. Someone get this man an accent for the jersey.
Best It’s That Time Again
The Playoffs are three weeks away folks. It’s time to get fired up. So I will leave with this:
  1. Get your car flags out. 
  2. Fist pumping! Playoff atmosphere! Look at the boys go! Crank it up! Let’s Go!

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