A Tuesday night game against the Detroit Red Wings isn’t exactly a hot ticket. But fans were more or less engaged in the Vancouver Canucks’ third home game. The lower bowl wasn’t full, no, but it was loud.
It didn’t hurt that the team was engaged, too. Five goals don’t hurt, obviously. It wasn’t just that, though. The Canucks were ready for a surprisingly physical Red Wings team and were giving it back as good as they were getting it.
Whether it was Tyler Myers throwing a wrestling move on Adam Erne, Brandon Sutter getting into it with Anthony Mantha or Troy Stecher popping right up into Erne’s face after he was elbowed in the head, the team showed some real life on a dreary weekday against what many consider one of the poorer teams in the league.
Did it have something to do with wanting to show an old teammate in Alex Biega that they haven’t forgotten how to play hard? Probably not, but it’s not a bad narrative.
Here’s what we saw in the Canucks’ 5-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings.
Tribute of the night
Hey, it wasn’t much but it was something. Alex Biega was shown on the jumbotron during the first period, accompanied by a message and “Who Let the Dogs Out”. A fitting tribute to a long-time Canucks’ warrior.
Would we have liked to see some highlights of a classic Biega rush or him battling in the corner? Sure. But in a way, the understated moment was more Biega’s style.
Adjustment of the night
At first, it looked like it might be a tough night for the Canucks. The Red Wings scored 30 seconds into the game when Dylan Larkin was allowed to walk in completely untouched and bury one past Thatcher Demko.
The Red Wings are not a great hockey team, no. But their first line of Larkin between Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi is very talented. They had other moments too, but nothing like that. And it was in part because Canucks coach Travis Green changed things up right away.
Instead of the Bo Horvat line, Green shifted shutdown responsibilities to the fourth unit of Jay Beagle, Tim Schaller and Tyler Motte, who was playing his first game of the season. And they delivered.
“Man they were good tonight,” said Green. We talked about it before the game, using them in a bit of a matchup role. They score on the first shift, the other line, and we switched it right away and [the fourth line] was good all night.”
Jersey of the night
Nah, dude. Nah.
Rebound of the night
Elias Pettersson won’t have many easier goals than that. Rebounds like those from Jonathan Bernier (who didn’t have a particularly good game), are trouble around a player as talented like Pettersson.
X-factor of the night
J.T. Miller is really starting to impress people around the Canucks.
They knew he was a player, but his ability to get the first line going and propel the once-dead powerplay has been absolutely essential for Vancouver.
He had another two goals tonight (he now has seven points in five games), both with the man advantage.
“He’s a smart powerplay guy,” said Green about Miller. “That down-low position is important, and he’s really good at it.”
Rebound of the night II
That would be Demko, who brushed off that early goal and was solid the rest of the way through, including on an extended 5-on-3 at the top of the third period.
“I was happy for him,” said Green. “For a young goalie, that’s not the start you want, giving one of—if not their best—players a breakaway. But he settled in nice, made some big saves on that 5-on-3.”
Quote of the night
“Well, we won the games.” – Elias Pettersson on what’s different in the last three games compared to the first two.
Hail Mary of the night
This probably turned out much prettier than Jake Virtanen could have predicted. But it looked nice.
Quote of the night II
“Did I? Secondary apples. Sometimes you get lucky.” – Brock Boeser, with a smile, on getting three assists on the night. (And yes, they were all of the secondary variety.)
“Stay in your lane” moment of the night
Alex Mogilny just can’t get no respect out here.
Collision of the night
He may not have really meant to do it, but Pettersson running into and over a Bertuzzi was awesome.
Scuffle of the night
As we mentioned, there were a few. But this Sutter-Mantha battle takes the cake.
Hop on board the Brandon Sutter hype train. It’s leaving the station.
Toughest news of the night
And finally, it was actually the day, but who cares.
The news that Sportsnet 650 would be cutting four members of its staff sent ripples through Vancouver media.
On-air personalities Rick Dhaliwal and Jawn Jang, as well as producers Cam Mitchell and Kellan Tochkin, were let go today.
It’s a tough one for the individuals involved and for the Vancouver sports media landscape in general.
Dhaliwal in particular was one of the most plugged-in people in the market. Many couldn’t believe the news on social media.
In something of a twist of irony, the NHL deal Sportsnet cut a few years back has crippled the network, as there appears to be just not enough resources to go around.
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