Everyone can breathe, the Vancouver Canucks have their first two wins of the season. Over the past week, the team has rattled off wins against the Los Angeles Kings and Philadelphia Flyers, evening up their record at 2-2. There were many players that stood out, but only three can be chosen as the three stars. Let’s see who made the podium this week!
Third Star: Tanner Pearson (1 Goal, 2 Assists)
Tanner Pearson has been a bright light for the Canucks since being acquired last season from the Pittsburgh Penguins. He has displayed great chemistry with Horvat and has generated 16 points (11 goals, 5 assists) in 23 games so far. He currently sits second on the team in scoring behind Miller with four points. After a relatively quiet preseason, he has turned it up a notch in the first four games of the season.
Playing on a line with Horvat and Josh Leivo, Pearson has shown good speed, physicality and a willingness to shoot. He currently paces the team in that category with 18 shots in four games. This past week he was a key part in both wins, assisting on two goals versus his former team the Kings and scoring a goal on a perfect deflection of a Chris Tanev shot against the Flyers. He added the shootout winner in that game as well.
Second Star: Jacob Markstrom (2 Wins, .944 SV%, 2.00 GAA)
Despite getting badly outshot 71-49 over the two games, the Canucks came away with wins. If not for Jacob Markstrom’s solid performances, the team probably does not win at least one of those games. He has picked up right where he left off from last season, now sporting a 2.23 goals-against average (GAA) and a .923 save percentage (SV%) so far.
Markstrom is showing the league that last season was no fluke. His continued work with goaltending coach Ian Clarke has clearly paid off. He has looked calm and controlled in the crease, giving his teammates confidence that he will be there if mistakes are made. If he can stay consistent, goaltending shouldn’t be a problem going forward.
Granted a leave of absence from the team on Monday due to family issues, he won’t be starting at least two of the games this coming week. That will give backup Thatcher Demko some time in the crease as the starting goaltender.
First Star: J.T. Miller (1 Goal, 3 Assists)
Now we come to the top of the podium. J.T. Miller was a force this week for the Canucks. Granted all his points came in one game, but what a game that was. Placed on the top line for the first time this season, he excelled with Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser. He was all over the score sheet potting his first goal while also adding three assists for a career-high four points.
He was quiet against the Flyers, but overall, Miller had an excellent second week with his new team. It will be interesting to see if he can keep up the pace and continue to produce with two of the best players on the team. The game against the Flyers was a gritty affair, with way less room to move, so the lack of production was expected.
With games against the Detroit Red Wings, New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers this coming week, the top line should have more room. Look for Miller to have more opportunities to increase his point totals and push for another first-star selection next week.
Stay tuned for next week’s ‘Canucks’ 3 Stars of the Week’ and enjoy the full slate of games coming up! The season is finally in full swing!