Vancouver Canucks’ 3 stars of the week: Phil Di Giuseppe stays hot to close out the preseason
Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
1 month ago
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After nearly two weeks of competition, the preseason is complete. After losing the first game 10-0 with an almost entirely AHL roster, the Canucks finished the preseason with a 2-3 record.
The Canucks, who dressed a split AHL/NHL roster last week, lost 2-1 against the Seattle Kraken in Abbotsford last week. Vancouver completed their five-game exhibition schedule with a 3-1 win against the Calgary Flames at Rogers Arena.
Before we get to this week’s picks, I wanted to acknowledge the preseason Brock Boeser and Quinn Hughes (two of last week’s recipients) had. Last game, Boeser picked up his fifth assist and Hughes added another assist to bring his preseason point total to five (3 G, 2 A). While they aren’t on the list this week, they have been two of the team’s best players.
Without further ado, let’s get to this week’s stars!
Third star: Carson Soucy (1G)
There was no Canuck more fitting to score the team’s lone goal in a 2-1 loss against the Kraken than former Kraken himself, Carson Soucy. The goal was created off an extended Canucks shift in the Kraken zone. Soucy’s partner for the evening, Filip Hronek, received a cross-ice feed on the right wing and circled back to the top of the blue line, dishing a pass over to Soucy, who wasted no time throwing the shot on net. The puck entered the goal through a maze of bodies without being tipped to count as the defenceman’s first goal, albeit preseason, as a Canuck.
Soucy’s goal also stood as his lone point of the preseason, as he left the next game with a lower-body injury following a play involving Calgary player Yegor Sharangovich, which resulted in Soucy falling to the ice with his leg trapped under the Flames player. With just days until the Canucks are set to open the regular season against the Edmonton Oilers at home, it’s likely Quinn Hughes will be without his partner for at least the first game.
Second star: Filip Hronek (1A)
Filip Hronek did a great job setting up Soucy for the Canucks goal against the Kraken and was the second star of the game. Hronek’s agility, skating, and manoeuvring were eye-catching in the seconds he had the puck before passing it off to Soucy. To a non-Canuck fan, rewatching the goal, you’d believe Hronek was a forward. His pace was incredible. He looked more than comfortable walking up and down the half-wall. It was nice to see a defenceman other than Hughes have the skating ability and the confidence to wheel and deal at the top of the circle rather than the blue line. With Soucy injured and Hronek the most likely defenceman to fill that position, it’ll be interesting to see how Hronek and Hughes, the two defencemen with the most similar game, will work side by side.
First star: Phil Di Giuseppe (1 G, 1 A)
Preseason be dammed, Phil Di Giuseppe has been on the run of his life. After being held off the score sheet in his first preseason game, Di Giuseppe has had consecutive multipoint games. He chipped in on the first goal of last game, doing the grunt work of protecting the puck at the blue line to keep the play onside before pushing it loose to JT Miller, who found the opening goalscorer, Tyler Myers. Fantastic work from Di Giuseppe to control a difficult pass that bounced off the boards, enter the zone and turn into the boards to buy himself time before spinning back around, and backhanding a pass to a teammate.
For the second game in a row, Di Giuseppe also scored the Canucks’ last goal of the game. This time, Di Giuseppe found himself all alone courtesy of Boeser, who raced down the puck, applied pressure, and caused Calgary to turn over the puck. All while being hooked by a Calgary defender, Di Giuseppe froze Markstrom with a few stickhandles, exposing the entirety of the goalie’s upper glovehand side, before lighting the lamp in that exact spot.
While the Canucks’ 2-3 record does put them last in the Pacific division, for certain players, the preseason couldn’t have gone any better. The ultimate resurgence of Boeser, Hughes locking into his scoring touch, Di Giuseppe emerging as the hidden ace, and Hronek’s smooth skating were a spectacle to watch. The Canucks will need to have a great game if they want to open the season with a win against the Edmonton Oilers. The one advantage they have, and haven’t had for a while, is the ability to do so on home ice.
Stay tuned to next week when we crown the first three stars of the regular season.
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