The Canucks weather the Leafs storm in an exciting 6-4 win. Saturday night from Rogers Arena in Vancouver, B.C. saw the Canucks jump out to an early 3-0 lead in the 1st period. It looked to be all roses but the Leafs battled back to tie things up at 3 before tying it back up at 4. That was as close they would get on the evening as the Canucks Powerplay came through in the 3rd period with 2 back door goals to seal it 6-4 for the Canucks.
The win moves them back into 1st place in the NHL with 66 points (31-11-4). You are reading this correctly Canucks fans. It’s Sunday morning, January 21st and the Canucks are the top team in the NHL (By Points, Just add in that disclaimer so no one comes at me.)
It shows the depth that this team has right now, I would probably say the worst players on the Canucks tonight were their All-Stars. They scored on the power play and Thatcher Demko made saves when he needed to but it was the depth players who provided the spark Saturday evening.
It Was A Quick Start That Helped The Canucks Weather The Leafs Strom In An Exciting 6-4 Win
Nils Höglander got the Canucks an early two-goal lead just 6 minutes into the first period. The first goal was a solid team goal set up by a great shift in the Toronto Maple Leafs zone. Vancouver was able to change and get the 4th line on and a Quinn Hughes shot was tipped by Sam Lefferty before the loose puck was backhanded home by Höglander.
The second goal was a lot of similar hard work as Conor Garland and Nils Aman worked hard on the forecheck. They were able to get it back to Hoggy who ripped a wrist shot past his former teammate Martin Jones. 2-0 good guys after 6 minutes.
It didn’t stop there for Vancouver as Conor Garland got in on the mix with a nice rebound goal with just over 7 minutes to go in the period. The “Joshua Line” as I am naming it after myself, did some hard work and Garland was the benefactor with a nice release and an even better celly to give Vancouver the 3-0 lead going into the 2nd period.
Not A Second Period To Remember For The Canucks
That was it right, the Leafs limped away into the night to lick their wounds. Not exactly. Toronto was heavily outplaying and shooting the Canucks to start the 2nd and was rewarded just 4:53 into the second frame. After the Canucks failed to get the puck in deep Morgan Rielly was able to get it up quick to William Nylander at the attacking blueline. He turned and fired a shot from a distance that beat a screened Demko to get one back for the visiting side.
It went from bad to worse for the home side as Jake McCabe and Nylander scored just 53 seconds apart. First Matthews walked into the Canucks zone and found Mitch Marner in the slot, he worked to the side before finding a streaking McCabe at the back door, and just like that it was 3-2.
Nylander would strike once again off the rush. His shot was deflected off the stick of Carson Soucy and went over the glove of Demko and the Leafs were right back in the game. The chants of “Go Leafs Go” were picking up as the period continued until Conor Garland struck for his 2nd goal of the night.
Some more hard work down low from Teddy Blueger and Joshua led to a loose puck for Garland. His shot from a tight angle was blocked but he got his own rebound and shoveled it past Jones for the 4-3 lead with just a minute left in the period.
The Powerplay And Canucks Stars Shined Bright In The 3rd Period
Vancouver came into this game with a 28-0-1 record when leading after 2 periods. Kuzmenko had a deadly shift in the offensive zone and set up Pius Suter for a great chance. He retrieved the puck behind the net but was tripped down by T.J. Brodie. the Canucks were off to the man advantage with a chance to put the game out of reach.
Unfortunately, it was Mitch Marner and the Leafs who would take advantage. A bad pass from Petey to Brock Boeser that fumbled off his stick would lead to a break-away for Marner. He made no mistake chipping it over the glove of Demko to tie it back up at 4 just 3:13 into the 3rd period.
Que the Vancouver Canucks powerplay that has been stagnant of late, to say the least. The face-off play to Petey was taken away so Vancouver decided to bring in the back door play, not once, but twice. First, it was Hughes finding J.T. Miller for his 21st of the season to make it 5-4 for the Canucks.
After another Leaf’s penalty to Mark Giordano for Cross-checking. Petey circled around the net and was uncovered as J.T. Miller found him for the 6-4 lead. Hughes got his 45th assist of the season as he continues to make his case for Norris Trophy winner.
Demko was able to stop everything else he saw on the evening including a 6-4 for the Leafs. Overall Demko finished with 42 saves on 46 shots. Hoglander and Garland both had 2 goals and the powerplay came up big when needed.
A New Chance For Kuzmenko?
Was this a night we saw something more from Andrei Kuzmenko? The line of the Kuzmenko, Suter, and Mikheyev was dominant most of the night playing the majority of the shifts in the Leaf’s zone. 5-1 SCF, 3-0 HDCF, and two shifts they controlled play in the Leaf’s zone that directly lead to goals as the Canucks were able to change with possession.
Kuzmenko was also able to draw a penalty after some hard work down low. He tried to get a shoot-off but had to take the puck behind the net before drawing a tripping call. It was a much better night for Kuzmenko as rumours have been circulating for the last couple of weeks about the Vancouver winger.
The 5-Game Homestand Continues After The Canucks Weather The Leafs Storm In An Exciting 6-4 Win
Don’t look now but the Canucks are streaking again with 2 straight wins after a shootout loss to end the road trip against the Columbus Blue Jackets. That makes it 8 straight games with a point as they set their sights on the Connor Bedard-less Blackhawks on Monday, January 22nd.
Some news and notes from Saturday, Vancouver will have 5 players in the NHL All-Stars game on February 3rd and expect at least half to be in the All-Star Skills Challenge. The Canucks will face off against the St. Louis Blues on the 24th of January before taking on the Blue Jackets on the 27th before the break. Make sure to check out all the NHL news from Area 51 Sportsnetwork for all your NHL needs.