Canucks offence comes alive for crucial Game 2 win

Aug 5 2020, 5:37 am

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The end was a little scary, but the Canucks got the job done in Game 2 with a vastly improved performance.

Despite a couple late goals by Kevin Fiala to make it a one-goal game, the Canucks offence did enough, scoring four times on Alex Stalock to take a 4-3 win and even the best-of-five series.

Travis Green made some changes to the lineup, taking out Adam Gaudette and losing Tyler Toffoli to injury, which brought Loui Eriksson and Jake Virtanen into the lineup.

The Lotto Line was reunited as part of the line changes, and the trio was dangerous all night long.

JT Miller was a bit off his game on Sunday, but he looked much better in Game 2 and gave the Canucks a 2-1 lead in the second period with this beautiful shot over the glove of Stalock.

The Lotto Line struck again later in the period, as Brock Boeser was finally rewarded on the scoresheet for his excellent play in this series.

Great positioning by Boeser but the bulk of the credit for this goal should go to Elias Pettersson for the exceptional awareness on the play to see Boeser and tip the point shot right to him.

The Canucks got up to a comfortable 4-1 lead when the power play finally converted and Bo Horvat deflected a Quinn Hughes shot past Stalock.

Things got a little dicey at the end when Fiala scored in the final three minutes, and then again with eight seconds left, but the Canucks held on to get the victory.

While the Canucks seemed to get more comfortable as the game went on (minus those final few minutes), they also got the start they envisioned when Tanner Pearson scored on the first shift of the game.

Was it simply coincidence that the Canucks first playoff goal was scored on Loui Eriksson’s first shift? Most definitely, but it’s also hilarious.

Speaking of hilarious things involving Eriksson, this 2-on-1 in the third period was the most Loui Eriksson thing to ever happen.

Jokes aside, Eriksson had quite a strong outing. He logged over 20 minutes playing on a line with Horvat and Pearson, finished a +1, and was effective on the penalty kill.

It was the first career playoff game for Jake Virtanen, and he too had a positive impact after being a healthy scratch in Game 1. He played just 8:13 but managed to generate a nice scoring chance early on and had one excellent back check where he used his speed to thwart a shorthanded breakaway.

The Canucks had a great chance to take an early two-goal lead in the first period when they had three straight power play opportunities, but the results were disastrous.

After a few promising chances on the first power play that were turned away by Stalock, the final two power plays were legitimately hard to watch. The Canucks didn’t generate any chances, insisting on using a drop pass play that the Wild penalty kill picked apart at the blue line.

Even worse, the Wild ended up scoring shorthanded to tie the game.

Thankfully the Canucks stabilized things in the second period, but you can bet that would have been a major talking point had the game swung the other direction.

The penalty kill had a much better outing in Game 2, killing off all six Wild power plays in this one. Tyler Motte in particular was excellent at using his speed and quick stick to break up plays.

Jacob Markstrom let in a couple late goals but was sharp overall and recorded his first career NHL playoff win, making 32 saves.

Despite the win, it wasn’t all good news for the Canucks. Micheal Ferland and Antoine Roussel both left the game with injuries (Roussel took a puck to the head, Ferland is unknown). Toffoli is reportedly in a walking boot, suggesting he may not be ready for Game 3 either.

Fortunately, Virtanen and Eriksson both proved they could hold their own in this series, and the team still has Gaudette and Zack MacEwan chomping at the bit.

The Canucks have evened up the series at 1-1 and will hope to carry the momentum into Game 3 on Thursday. Puck drops early, at 11:30 am.

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