Another Tuesday night, another five goals against the Detroit Red Wings.
Of course, the two games that were played within a week of each other were very different.
Last week’s game was closer to the complete domination variety for the Canucks, while tonight’s match looked like a losing cause for 40 minutes.
Then things turned.
And it’s hard to pin that change on anything other than Vancouver’s captain.
It was a banner night for Bo Horvat, who recorded his first career hat trick in another very spirited contest against a Red Wings team that looked like it had revenge on its mind.
Unfortunately for Detroit, it wasn’t to be. Here’s what we saw in Vancouver’s 5-2 win over the Red Wings.
Battle of the night
The first game against Detroit was probably the Canucks’ most physical affair of the season, and this one didn’t fail to bring the aggression either.
There were a couple skirmishes, but none more notable than Jake Virtanen getting into it with prized prospect Evgeny Svechnikov.
On the bench, Canucks coach Travis Green was smiling with glee. We’re not sure exactly why, but we’re going to guess he doesn’t mind seeing Virtanen physically engaged.
“Not quite” of the night
Micheal Ferland looked set up to have a good game, and he was as involved physically as he has been this season.
But a bad giveaway that gave the Red Wings a great scoring chance put something of a damper on his game.
And, once again, Ferland was last on the team in ice time. His nine minutes tonight was better than last game’s 7:15. But still, not great.
Line of the night
Again, the Red Wings trio of Dylan Larkin between Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi really impressed. Sure, they looked like the only real capable Wings (other than maybe Andreas Athanasiou) on the roster, but they were a handful every time they were on the ice.
Even if Bertuzzi’s tripping penalty (hard to say whether it was deserved, honestly) led to the Canucks’ first goal of the night.
Sell job of the night
Darren Helm holding Chris Tanev’s stick and drawing a penalty for holding was… something.
Audition of the night
That would be Virtanen with his second good game in as many nights. Not only was he physical and a forechecking pain, he scored a goal by making a heads-up decision to throw the puck on the net.
Referee of the night
Oh, it wasn’t the actual referees who were not very good.It was Horvat, who broke up Phillip Hronek’s headlock on rookie Quinn Hughes.
Handles of the night
Man, Hughes was going tonight.
That’s another two assists for the rookie, and the first unit powerplay is looking as dangerous as any in the league.
Save of the night
After a huge performance in the third period against the Rangers, Markstrom brought it again tonight.
And yes, he’s the main reason the Canucks’ penalty kill is doing so well. It’s not Tim Schaller or Jay Beagle, sorry to tell ya.
Another 31 saves for Markstrom tonight, not bad at all.
Performance of the night
As good as the goalie was, the night belonged to Bo.
Of course, in typical NHL player fashion, he mostly deflected the praise—saying he thought Markstrom deserved first star, for instance.
But he did allow that it was nice to have his family (he’s from just over the Michigan border in London, Ontario).
“Pretty nice, had a lot of friends and family in the crowd tonight and to get it front of them…and obviously couldn’t have come at a better time, to get a win out of it, it was huge.”
Reward of the night
If you do consider this a reward, anyway. For me, 70-plus family members just waiting at the gate? No thanks.
But hey, Bo Horvat seems like a good guy.
Follow @ncaddell on Twitter