The Vancouver Canucks came into the past week with a 2-5-0 record, losing three of their last four games. This past week, the club changed things around and found their game in a four-game winning streak. They played the Ottawa Senators three times to start the week and finished with a win over the Winnipeg Jets.
In their first meeting against the Senators this season, the Canucks won 7-1. On Monday night, Brandon Sutter led the team with his first career hat trick, while rookie Olli Juolevi scored his first NHL goal. Also, Tyler Motte, Tanner Pearson and Quinn Hughes scored in the blowout win.
On Wednesday night, the two teams faced off once again in the first game of a back-to-back. The Canucks blew the Senators out again, this time winning 5-1. J.T. Miller and Motte scored two goals, and Elias Pettersson scored his second goal of the season. The Canucks beat the Senators 4-1 on Thursday night, thanks to Brock Boeser’s two-goal night. Boeser added an assist on Pettersson’s game-winner, giving him three points on the night.
To end off the week, the Canucks met the Jets for the first time this season. The win came off another two-goal performance from Boeser, who is off to a hot start this season. Rookie Nils Hoglander scored his third goal of the season, which would be the eventual game-winner. Zack MacEwen also chipped in for his first of the season.
Lotto Line Is Clicking
The Lotto Line, made up of Miller, Pettersson and Boeser, took off last week. Throughout the four games, the trio combined for 15 points, finishing with five points each. Pettersson and Miller have had a tough start this season. Pettersson was clearly struggling to start the season, but since scoring his first goal of the season in the third game against the Montreal Canadiens, he seems to have found his confidence. Although he did not find the scoresheet in the first game against the Senators, the Swedish forward had five points in three games.
Miller missed the first week of action, and additionally, he didn’t score a goal in his first six games this season. Miller did find the back of the net, not once but twice against the Senators on Wednesday night. The Canucks’ 2019-20 leader in points and Pettersson have found their game at the perfect time. The last week was crucial for the club, as it could’ve been a devastating blow to them if they continued to lose.
As for Boeser, he has been outstanding since the start of the season. After Saturday night’s game, his eight goals led the entire league. Through 10 games, he already has half the goals he scored last season through 57 games. Boeser is having a bounce-back season, and if he continues to produce along with his linemates, the Canucks should be competitive all season long.
Hoglander Continues Impressive Rookie Campaign
The offseason led to multiple questions about who will replace the players that have departed through free agency. With Tyler Toffoli signing with the Canadiens, the top-six needed a winger. In came Hoglander, who lined up alongside Bo Horvat and Pearson.
Although he isn’t at the same level as Toffoli yet, Hoglander has been productive to start the season. Last week, the rookie posted one goal and two assists for three points, which brings his total to three goals and six points this season. Along with his offensive production, Hoglander’s effort has stood out the most.
For some time, it has been common to see Horvat centre different wingers. With the addition of Pearson in the 2018-19 season, the captain had a consistent linemate. The two lined up together for the majority of last season. With the way Hoglander has been playing to start the season, it seems as if head coach Travis Green has found the third forward to solidify his second line.
Sutter’s Hat Trick
Through Sutter’s 13 seasons in the NHL, he has scored 147 goals in 738 games but never scored a hat trick. That changed on Tuesday night when the forward netted his first career hat trick in a 7-1 win over the Senators. Brandon is the sixth member of the Sutter family with an NHL hat trick.
Sutter was traded to the Canucks from the Penguins in the 2015 offseason. Through his six seasons with the club, he has not been a known goal scorer. In 243 games with the organization, he has scored 49 goals. Sutter’s three-goal performance came at an important time as the win against the Senators built momentum for the Canucks.
Canucks End Losing Streak Against Jets
The Canucks’ win over the Jets was a significant one. The Canucks have lost 10 straight games against the Jets, eight of which were in Winnipeg.
Not only did the Canucks end the streak, but they also dominated the Jets in the second and third periods. The Canucks struggled in the second period in the first two weeks of this season, but against the Jets, they outshot their opponent 31-11 in the final two periods.
Saturday’s win is the biggest one of the week since they ended a streak against a team they haven’t beaten in years, and the Senators are not as nearly as talented as the Jets are.
Canucks’ Goalies Were Excellent
Canucks’ goaltending was excellent this week, specifically Thatcher Demko. In his first three games, Demko posted a .865 save percentage (SV%). This past week, he started in three of the four games and posted a combined .969 SV%. The three games are important for his confidence coming off his impressive performance in the 2020 playoffs. The young goaltender stopped 123 shots in three games, and the reason the Canucks forced a Game 7 against the Vegas Golden Knights.
Braden Holtby played in one game, and statistically, it was his best. Holtby posted a .973 SV% and allowed one goal against the Senators. He has played fairly well to start the season as the veteran goaltender has a 3-2-0 record and has posted a 3.17 goal against average (GAA) and .906 SV%.
Canucks Will Attempt to Continue Win Streak on the Road
After flipping their season around, the Canucks will attempt to extend their four-game win streak. They will take on the Canadiens again in a back-to-back before taking on the Toronto Maple Leafs for the first time this season. The last time the club took on the Canadiens, they looked sloppy. Although the Canucks were impressive this past week, this meeting against the Habs will be a true test. It will give an idea of just how good they are this season.
- Boeser – four goals, one assist
- Pettersson & Miller – two goals, three assists
- Hughes – one goal, four assists
- Sutter – three goals
- February 1st – @ Montreal Canadiens
- February 2nd – @ Montreal Canadiens
- February 4th – @ Toronto Maple Leafs
- February 6th – @ Toronto Maple Leafs
Sartaaj has been watching hockey for over 15 years and covers the Vancouver Canucks for The Hockey Writers.