On the back of a big win over the New York Rangers, the Vancouver Canucks travelled into the less glamorous city of New Jersey to battle the Devils.
It was the battle of the Hughes brothers as Quinn and Jack faced off for the third time in their NHL careers.
Quinn spoke about the matchup with his brother before the game began. He said that it doesn’t really feel like he’s playing his brother because the two points from a win are so important right now.
Hughes partnered up with Luke Schenn once again as they were set to eat up a lot of minutes against the Devils.
The lineup stayed the same for the Canucks after a big win against the Rangers the night before.
Between the pipes was where the change took place as Jaroslav Halak drew into the crease for the Canucks. As for the Devils, they had a familiar name in the crease with former World Junior goalie for Canada, Nico Daws, minding their goal.
The Canucks needed to be aggressive and test the young goaltender who was making just his sixth appearance in an NHL game.
With an early start, the stage was set for the Hughes battles.
The Canucks tested Daws with a couple of shots early on in the game with a good chance coming to J.T. Miller that he fanned on just outside of the crease.
Jack Hughes was the first brother to hit the scoresheet as he broke down the right wing after a giveaway from Oliver Ekman-Larsson. It turned into a two-on-one and Hughes ripped a wrist shot over Halak’s glove and gave the Devils an early lead. 1-0 Devils.
The pace really cranked up after the Jack Hughes goal. The Canucks were getting more shots but the Devils seemed to be getting more scoring chances.
As the Devils continued to pressure, they were rewarded once again due to a mistake from a Canucks defenceman. This time it was Myers who gave it away in his own zone and the Devils made some pretty passes before Yegor Sharangovich ripped a shot over Halak’s shoulder from just a few feet out. 2-0 Devils.
Schenn took an interference penalty and gave the Devils their first power play attempt. It was all Devils in the period and that continued with the man-advantage. Dawson Mercer had his stick on the ice at the net and was able to shovel the puck past Halak and give the Devils a three-goal lead. 3-0 Devils.
Halak gave up three goals on 10 shots in the period and we went into the intermission with the Canucks trailing by three.
Thoughts from the first
It wasn’t a horrible period for the Canucks if you took away the bad giveaways from Myers and OEL, and Schenn didn’t take the penalty. All of the Canucks’ mistakes were punished and they just weren’t able to capitalize on their shots against the young Daws. The Canucks outshot the Devils 13-10 but the Devils had 17 scoring chances compared to the Canucks’ 11.
The Canucks needed to go harder to the net, capitalize on their chances, and continue to shoot on the young goaltender if they wanted to mount a comeback in this game.
The Canucks came out with a mentality of just getting the next goal and they did exactly that. It took only 96 seconds for the Canucks to score when Vasily Podkolzin deflected a point shot into the top corner of the net. 3-1 Devils.
The Devils counterpunched when Jesper Boqvist came down the right wing, made a move to the net, and scored a goal that was a pretty weak goal for Halak to let in. This gave the Devils back their three-goal lead. 4-1 Devils.
The Devils got another one when Ryan Graves had a point shot that deflected off of Schenn and into the back of the net. Things were starting to get out of hand and Halak even looked over to the bench for help after the fifth goal went in. 5-1 Devils.
It was two goals in less than two minutes for the home team and the Canucks looked strong out of the second-period gate but quickly fell deeper into a deficit.
Jesper Bratt ripped a wrist shot from the right side that beat Halak and that was the end for the Canucks’ goaltender. Thatcher Demko was off the bench and into the crease. 6-1 Devils.
Just when the game was beginning to look out of reach, Tanner Pearson found some space in the slot and ripped a shot off that beat Daws. 6-2 Devils.
Brad Hunt and J.T. Miller got the assists on the goal and that extended Miller’s point streak.
With 4:05 remaining, the Canucks went to the power play in an attempt to get this game closer before heading to the second intermission.
The Canucks had complete control and had a couple of scoring chances for the first unit including Bo Horvat hitting the post on a shot from the bumper. There was no goal on the effort and the Canucks didn’t convert on their first power play.
Matt Highmore took a penalty with 1:09 remaining in the period. No goal came and the power play was set to carry over.
Thoughts from the second
It was good to see some pushback from the Canucks and once Demko got between the crease, the team began to give a damn and keep the puck out of their own net. The game still felt out of reach but we have seen weirder things happen!
We saw all of the lines get moved around aside from the trio of Tanner Pearson, J.T. Miller, and Conor Garland. That trio looked good early in the third period with a flurry of scoring chances.
Dougie Hamilton scored at the midway point of the period. 7-2 Devils.
That was all she wrote. It was an uneventful third period for the Canucks and a snoozer as it concluded.
Demko came in relief and only allowed one goal on 19 shots. He was good in relief of Halak.
The score tells the story in this one. The Devils were able to capitalize on their scoring chances as they crushed Halak early and often before chasing him in the second period.
This team has a problem with consistency. It’s too bad because they can look so good in certain games. Honestly, their effort in the first 40 minutes was pretty good and their starting goalie did let them down in this one.
It’s going to be a couple of days without game-action for the Canucks as they will get a chance to flush this game, practice up, and prepare to play the New York Islanders on Thursday.
Puck drop is 4:30 pm PST for the Canucks vs Islanders game as the road trip rolls along.