Photo Credit: Vancouver Canucks
By Scott Rosenhek
Here we go! With an early morning game on the schedule, the Canucks welcome 2015 first round selection Brock Boeser to make his debut in his home state of Minnesota. Boeser and UND were eliminated last night in a NCAA playoff game, allowing Brock to fly from Fargo, North Dakota to St. Paul, Minnesota, signing an entry-level deal.
Debuting this morning on a line with Horvat and Baertschi, Canuck fans get their first look at their highly touted pick in the pros. Boeser will wear #6 in the game.
It’s an electric feeling, even if it is 11:00 am local time in Vancouver. Fans are waiting, eyes wide with every motion that Boeser makes. Well, I can’t speak for all Canucks fans, but that’s how I am feeling.
But this post-game report won’t be all about Boeser. Another young buck on the roster is Reid Boucher. The shot machine has had so many chances recently, that the floodgates were just bound to open. Boucher picks up on a poor rebound by Kuemper to open the scoring for Vancouver.
This goal was on the power play too! Boucher now has more goals than Jayson Megna in 23 fewer games. But, Megna’s right-handed shot…
Moving on. Reid Boucher puts his shot power on display with this goal that the referees were not able to catch. Thankfully, Toronto hit the buzzer to stop play. Thanks, Toronto! I never thought I would ever say that. So nice, Reid Boucher had to score twice!
I know today was really about Brock Boeser, but Reid Boucher is playing great today. Seriously, how could anyone defend putting in Jayson Megna over Reid Boucher? I actually don’t hate Megna, it’s just he is being asked to play above his ability from a coach that just takes too long to accept change.
However, let’s get to the moment we have all been waiting for. The euphoric event that I have been waiting for since the end of Brock’s iconic freshman season at the University of North Dakota: his first career goal in the NHL.
It is not shown in the GIF, but Sven Baertschi starts this play by using those soccer skills to move the puck to Bo Horvat when his stick explodes. Good on Brock to clean up that loose puck on Horvat’s rush up the ice! I’m sure he and Canuck fans everywhere will remember that goal for a long time.
Things are just getting worse for Wild goaltender Darcy Kuemper and his team. Having given up 3 goals already on few chances, Jack Skille comes up big with a goal right off the faceoff.
That’s 4 goals on 13 shots and it is looking like Boudreau is leaving Kuemper in because of the game the Wild have tomorrow. However, this second period is not all sunshine and rainbows.
An awkward collision late in the period leaves Jack Skille in tremendous pain. Skille’s leg should not have bent in the way that is did. Charlie Coyle had no business hitting him like that and unfortunately, Skille had to be helped off the ice by his teammates.
Skille was having a very good game up to this point. Hopefully his injury is not serious as he just came back recently from an extended injury. Since the referees were not going to make calls to protect players, the Canucks had to act as the police on the ice.
*Update: Skille left the game with an ankle injury
Chris Tanev (yes, I’m not misspeaking) and Luca Sbisa went after Charlie Coyle and Eric Staal. I completely understand since the officials don’t want to do their jobs today. Earlier in the period, Mikko Koivu grabbed Daniel Sedin from behind and started a scrum well after the whistle with no call made in sight.
And after all the rough stuff, only Tanev was assessed a minor penalty for roughing. This may be a topic for a future Monday Musings, but the NHL has a serious disregard for player safety and this is going do more harm than good in the long run for all players, not just the Vancouver Canucks.
Alright, my soap box preach is over…for now. Going into the third period, the Canucks are up 4 goals on the scoresheet, but are down a forward in the player corps. Brock Boeser has 4 of the Canucks’ 13 shots after two periods.
The third period lacks the torrid pace the second period had. Minnesota failed to capitalize on their third power play of the game, but after Nino Niederreiter slewfoots Bo Horvat, the zebras finally make a call.
Yeah, I am. Deep breaths. Okay. Canucks push on this power play opportunity and Reid Boucher comes close to getting his first career hat trick. He was dangerous on that stretch of play, but alas, he could not score.
The Canucks are playing a dangerous game at this point. They are taking few shots and sitting back, which never leads to anything good. And just like that, Ryan Suter scores with under 3 minutes to go. No shutout for Richard Bachman (sigh).
And with the Kevin Bieksa-esque bounce off of the stanchion, Eric Staal scores 1:26 after Suter.
This is where Team Tank starts to get excited. The Canucks have been brutal in third periods and this one has been more of the same. Few shots while holding down the fort, bending and praying that they don’t break.
Ryan Suter and Eric Staal give the Wild a glimmer of hope, but time runs out. Reid Boucher as a brief empty net opportunity, but unfortunately no hat trick for the young man. He did make a last second defensive play to prevent an easy goal for Charlie Coyle.
Canucks win 4-2 in an amazing display of the future of this franchise. I can stand by a win led by the likes of Reid Boucher and Brock Boeser (who officially had the game winner thanks to that third period).
Our American players worked hard today. Not to take anything away from the rest of the team, but Brock Boeser, Reid Boucher and Richard Bachman were all nothing short of great. I’ll even throw Jack Skille in that mix because he looked very good before his injury.
With a win in the books, the Canucks will move north to take on the Winnipeg Jets during Sportsnet Hometown Hockey. Ryan Miller is expected to start. Brock Boeser didn’t waste any time putting his skills on display. I just can’t wait to see what he will do next.
NEXT GAME: Sunday, March 26 at Winnipeg at 5 pm PST (TV: Sportsnet Radio: TSN)