After a horrible two-game series in Florida, the Vancouver Canucks needed a push back game and they got it when they beat the Buffalo Sabres 6-3 on the road. What was interesting about this game was that it was a meeting between two clubs who is each celebrating its 50th NHL season. For fans interested in a bit of history, the Canucks won the first two meetings of the clubs, beating the Sabres at Vancouver 7-2 on Oct. 27, 1970, and then winning 4-1 at Buffalo just over a week later.
In this post, I want to help Canucks fans stay up-to-date with news emerging from the team.
Item One: Quinn Hughes Names to 2020 NHL All-Star Game
He’s an amazing rookie no doubt, and to further support that contention the young Canuck defenseman Quinn Hughes was named to a spot at the 2020 NHL All-Star Game. He was voted in during what’s called the “Last Men” vote in the Pacific Division beating out the Anaheim Duck’s Ryan Getzlaf, Arizona Coyotes’ Clayton Keller, Calgary’s Flames Johnny Gaudreau, Edmonton Oiler’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and the Los Angeles Kings’ great defenseman Drew Doughty. It will be Hughes’ first All-Star appearance, but I’m predicting not his last.
Item Two: Goalie Jacob Markstrom’s Back on the Winning Track
Jacob Markstrom doesn’t always win pretty, but he does seem to win. Against the Sabres, he gave up three goals but still pulled out the victory. In his last game in Florida, he had been absolutely rocked (well, as had his backup Thatcher Demko); but, in this game, he was solid enough and his teammates came out flying and out-scored the Sabres.
To recap the totality of the Sunshine State Snafu, the Tampa Bay Lightning pushed six goals past Markstrom in less than two periods. Until that game, he had been on a six-game winning streak. Perhaps the win over the Sabres will be the beginning of another six-gamer.
The Canucks play a quick-turnaround back-to-back game on Sunday afternoon against the Minnesota Wild on the road, and no doubt Thatcher Demko will start.
Item Three: Tanner Pearson’s on a Six-Game Streak
Against the Sabres, Tanner Pearson contributed two assists. That means that, over his last six games, he’s had multiple points three times. I hate (actually I don’t) to say “I told you so,” but I had predicted that Pearson would have a career and I was right.
The 27-year-old has snapped out of the doldrums of his past couple of seasons during his first full season with the Canucks. As it stands, he only needs 12 points over the second half of the season to snag his best season ever. He now has 33 points in 45 games. In 2016-17, he had a 44-point season with the Kings.
Item Four: Bo Horvat Scores His 14th Goal and Continues His Six-Game Streak
In the victory over the Sabres, Canucks captain Bo Horvat scored a pair of points – a goal and an assist. It was his 14th goal of the season, which gave him 10 points in his last six games and 38 points in his 45 games this season.
As Horvat reported it, the team had a bad on – not particularly against the Sabres – but against being waxed again by another opponent. He noted, after the game, that the team “didn’t take those losses lightly. We definitely weren’t happy with our games. So to bounce back like we did today is definitely huge for our group.”
Item Five: J.T. Miller Just Keeps Getting My Attention
J.T. Miller just keeps showing up on the scoresheet. I’ve said it a few times recently that it seems that, every time I write a news and rumors piece about the Canucks, I mention that Miller’s been part of the winning action on the ice. He might go down as one of the Canucks’ general manager Jim Benning’s best trades – ever.
To be honest, Miller came into the game on a three-game scoring drought. He had a four-point night in the wild 7-5 win over the Chicago Blackhawks but nothing since. However, his two points gave him 42 points in his 45 games. I’m hoping he can continue to flirt with the point-a-game pace he had reached. Perhaps he won’t, but he certainly will set a new personal career-high. He only needs 12 points in 35+ games, and that seems an easy goal given his success so far with his new team.
Item Six: Brock Boeser Keeps Scoring Goals
Until the 5-2 loss to the Florida Panthers, Brock Boeser had been in a six-game scoring drought. He scored in the team’s last-game loss in Florida and then scored two against the Sabres. Both goals came at critical times, and his last goal was the game-winner.
Since Dec. 1, Boeser has only missed the scoresheet three times. What’s different about his game this season is the number of assists he’s scoring. In previous seasons, he’s been primarily a goal-scorer, but it seems as if his game has become more rounded. Chalk that up to his line-mates. Playing with Elias Pettersson and Miller can’t help but make you a better player. That line is simply one of the best lines in the entire NHL.
I’m not that into fantasy hockey, but the most recent fantasy hockey notes placed that line as the ninth-best in the NHL. I rank them a bit higher.
Item Seven: Micheal Ferland Remains Out
It was reported that the Canucks general manager Benning reported that forward Michael Ferland won’t return to the lineup until after the All-Star break.
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