The Vancouver Canucks got great goalie play from Jacob Markstrom and beat the traveling Carolina Hurricanes 1-0 in overtime on December 12. It was the team’s last home game before leaving for San Jose to play the Sharks on Saturday.
That victory gives the team three wins in its last four games – only losing to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the past week. The Canucks win also stopped a three-game win streak by the Hurricanes, who had been playing excellent hockey on its road trip.
In fact, it wasn’t as if the Hurricanes didn’t play well. It’s just that Markstrom played better. He withstood an offensive barrage to bring home the win. In some ways, to me, it seemed the reverse of the Canucks’ previous game against the Toronto Maple Leafs where – at least to my eye – the team had played strong offense and got beaten by the big Dane Frederik Andersen, who was in goal for the Leafs.
In this post, I want to review the Canucks’ victory over the fans and offer notes about the three stars in the win over Carolina.
Third Star: Brock Boeser Gets Assist On the Overtime Winne
Boeser had an assist in Thursday’s 1-0 overtime win over the Hurricanes. Usually, having a single assist is good, but not noteworthy. Yet, in a 1-0 overtime game, it matters tons.
After playing three periods without a score, Boeser found Elias Pettersson for the score less than a minute into the overtime. Boeser has been on a point-a-game pace, with a goal and four assists in his last five games. However, he’s not yet a point-a-game for the season – but he’s close.
Boeser’s now up to 29 points in 32 games this season. Interestingly but not surprisingly, given his team’s power-play success, 13 of those points have come on special teams with the man advantage. My prognosis is that Boeser might come close to 70 points for the season. Of course, he has to stay healthy. If he did, it would be a career year for the 22-year-old winger.
Second Star: Elias Pettersson Scores Game-Winner
Pettersson’s 100th career point was special. It was the only goal scored in the 1-0 overtime victory. The young Swede is having a strong offensive season, and now has 13 goals, 21 assists, and 34 points in 32 games. Pettersson’s goal, as I noted, was the 100th point of his career and it came in his 103rd game.
First Star: Goalie Jacob Markstrom Was Perfect
Coming into the Hurricanes’ game, Markstrom had struggled recently. He had lost back-to-back games to the Edmonton Oilers and Maple Leafs and his 3.07 GAA and .887 save percentage could have been better. The 29-year-old was hoping to get back on track against a hot Hurricanes team that had reeled off three straight wins. In short, he was more than on-track. He was perfect.
After coming under some question against the Maple Leafs in the team’s last game, Markstrom was stellar as he recorded this shutout. Obviously, the team needed him to perform at his top level because the Hurricanes were pumping rubber at him all night. In the end, Markstrom made 43 saves.
The Swedish goalie was by far the best player on the ice, and it was his first shutout of the season. That game improves his record to 9-8-3 with a 2.58 GAA and a .918 save percentage in 20 games. If Markstrom thrives on work, he’ll get it. With Thatcher Demko suffering a concussion in practice in midweek, Markstrom will likely get most of the Canucks starts in the near future.
To take Demko’s place in the lineup, the Canucks brought up Michael DiPietro from AHL Utica on Thursday. I know it’s too soon probably to thrust DiPietro into a start, but I’m anxious to see him between the pipes.
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