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Vancouver Canucks’ 3 stars of the week: The line of J.T. Miller, Brock Boeser and Illya Mikheyev combine for six points

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Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Dave Hall
3 months ago
It was a short and sweet week for the Vancouver Canucks, resulting in a small sample size for potential star candidates.
To make our selections even more difficult, the team’s performance wasn’t particularly glowing — dwindling the crop down even further.
Interestingly, the Canucks kicked off both games with considerable energy, scoring right out of the gate early and instilling hope for a couple of home-ice victories. Unfortunately, their momentum waned as the team fell flat on both occasions, dropping both matches.
Vasily Podkolzin, Casey DeSmith and Quinn Hughes were among those who turned in decent efforts this week. Podkolzin led the forward group with eight hits, DeSmith lost both games but looked fine, and Quinn Hughes, who was up to his typical ‘Quinn Hughes’ shenanigans.
However, there were simply too many passengers, highlighted by the team’s freshly minted $92.8 million signing, Elias Pettersson. The team’s depth scoring, which has been the team’s feel-good story of the year, has all but dried up. While the newest acquisition, Elias Lindholm, simply hasn’t lived up to his trade deadline price tag.
Only four players registered more than a single point this week. While under the hood, just four players who participated in both games achieved a Corsi percentage above 50%.
Heck, even Rick Tocchet is beginning to question things ahead of the final stretch.
“It’s that seal, right? They have to get past that seal. It’s my job to get them to break that seal. There’s more in the tank. There’s always more and we’ve got to break through and find it.” Tocchet told Postmedia after Saturday’s 2-1 loss to the Washington Capitals.
There is a line that delivered some light, bringing us to this week’s three stars.

Third star: Ilya Mikheyev

To put it bluntly, Ilya Mikheyev has struggled to find his form this season. His performance has been lacklustre, and since returning from his ACL injury, he hasn’t displayed the same level of speed and effectiveness that was promised when he initially arrived in Vancouver.
However, this week showed signs of life.
Skating on the team’s most dominant line alongside J.T. Miller and Brock Boeser, Mikheyev managed to break his goal drought by scoring his first goal since December 17th in Chicago. He followed that up with an assist on Saturday, marking his first back-to-back points since scoring that goal in Chicago (he added two assists the next game).
Although the underlying metrics for Mikheyev were not outstanding, he was one of just two forwards on the entire team who were not on the ice for any goals against this week. The team would outscore their opponents 3-0 when Mikheyev was on the ice.
It hasn’t been a banner year for the 29-year-old, but one thing he does have going for him is resilience. This season, he has played the most games in a single season throughout his five-year career, appearing in 64 matches so far–his previous high was 54.
Although it took 18 more games, the points he earned this week match his totals from last year (28), and he now sits just four points shy of his career-high (32). Overall, Mikheyev’s recent performances show promising signs of improvement, and he’s found a nice little spot on this line, for now.

Second star: Brock Boeser

Brock Boeser is in the midst of a career-defining season. With 56 points as his former career high (2018-2019), and his closest brush with a point-per-game pace being 0.89 (2017-2018), he has taken his game to new heights in 2024. He’s not only surpassed the 30-goal mark, netting his 36th goal this week, but he’s also just two points shy of averaging a point per game, putting him ever-so-close to tracking his first 80-point campaign.
It’s the resurgence of Brock, and we are all here for it.
Boeser was involved in the early goals in both games. He grabbed an assist on his first shift against the Colorado Avalanche and opened the scoring on Saturday while taking a beating at the net front.
 
While Brock Boeser has long been recognized for his wicked release, this season has seen him add a new dimension to his game by becoming a force in the gritty areas around the net. Who cares how he is cashing in? He’s now just four goals away from reaching the 40-goal mark with 14 games remaining in the season.

First star: J.T. Miller

It took J.T. Miller all but 24 seconds to establish his spot as this week’s number-one star, kick-starting the week’s scoring early against the Colorado Avalanche.
Despite less-than-stellar advanced statistics across the board, Miller stood out as one of only two forwards with a Corsi For percentage (CF%) above 50%–his 55.22% led all forwards and ranked third on the team. Additionally, he led the forward group in expected goals (xGF%) with 62.21% and was just one of four players to grab a multipoint week.
At this point, are we even shocked? Miller has been leading this group all year long. He is very much involved in a two-headed race between him and captain Quinn Hughes for this team’s season MVP — and he’s probably the front-runner at this point. He remains on pace to surpass the 100-point mark for the second time in his career.
He was also the brains behind Ilya Mikheyev finally finding the back of the net (clip above). Miller manned the entire play on his own before delivering a perfect cross-ice pass right on the stick of the goalscorer.
In addition to his offensive contributions, Miller also ranked third on the team in hits. He recorded seven over the pair of games, including five against the Capitals on Saturday night. He also excelled in the faceoff circle, as he won 67.74% of his 31 draws.
The long-winded home stand continues next week as the Canucks host the Buffalo Sabres, Montreal Canadians and Calgary Flames.
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