Vancouver Canucks foe, Montreal Canadiens

Ugly Stuff; Canucks lose to Montreal Canadiens 5-2

The evening didn’t start well for the Vancouver Canucks. Forward Tanner Pearson took a penalty early on and Nick Suzuki scored a power play goal for the Montreal Canadiens in the first minute. The goal came on a shot Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko probably should have stopped.

Minutes later, J.T. Miller got waved out of a D-zone face-off, Pearson stepped in and lost it cleanly, and then accidentally tipped in the ensuing Habs point shot to give Monteal a 2-0 lead at the 8:47 mark.

Less than four minutes later, Miller turned a puck over in front of his own net and Canadiens forward Kirby Dach was there to immediately bang it in past Demko. 3-0 Habs.

Uh oh. With the heat already on Canucks head coach Bruce Boudreau and team president Jim Rutherford in the Bell Centre watching this, the coaching change rumours likely started in the first ten minutes.

Better But Not Great

Overall play improved a bit for the Canucks in the second period, but it wasn’t nearly enough. Montreal would add to its lead when a puck hopped over Vancouver defenceman Jack Rathbone’s stick at the left point and Mike Hoffman was there to pick it up, race in, and beat Demko on what was setting up as a 2-on-1. The Montreal sniper wisely chose to shoot.

Nothing appeared to be in sync for the Vancouver Canucks. The break-out struggled, the forecheck lacked, and the goaltending of Demko has slipped a bit. Not a happy formula.

Canucks Goals

A rare goal for defenceman Luke Schenn four minutes into the third period gave the Canucks a glimmer of hope. The seeing eye shot from the right point through traffic found its way past Habs goalie Samuel Montembeault.

Also, Pearson didn’t play in the third period. He may have hurt himself along the left wing boards late in the 2nd period while stopping awkwardly. Unless Rutherford traded him for a 4th-rounder during the game. I kid. Although that would make at least one of my preseason predictions, a Pearson trade, correct — haven’t done so well in that area this season.

At the 8:57 mark, Nils Höglander banged in a rebound and cut the Habs lead to 4-2. Things were getting interesting …

Until Rathbone, still an adventure at the NHL level, coughed up another puck, this time in his own end, and Dach closed out the scoring.

Montreal Canadiens 5, Vancouver Canucks 2

Rob Simpson

Rob Simpson has covered the NHL in five different decades. He’s authored 4 books on hockey and is a veteran TV and radio play-by-play man and reporter.