If the Vancouver Canucks get on to anything close to a roll on their upcoming road trip, they can thank referee Michael Markovic and the three goals they scored in 2:33 of the second period Thursday night to take a 3-2 lead on the Avalanche.
Markovic accidentally got drilled by a Colorado clearing attempt during the Canucks power play that knocked the puck down in the offensive zone and assured a ‘keep-in’ for Vancouver. Shortly after, Andrei Kuzmenko scored their first goal and the Canucks were off and running.
A quaint notion, to recall the moment fondly, but likely not applicable with this wildly inconsistent and sometimes mentally delicate Canucks team travelling to play the Winnipeg Jets, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers, and Carolina Hurricanes in succession. Given their position in the standings, anything less than 4-and-1 doesn’t really move the dial, it just eats up games off the calendar.
Anyone willing to make that bet?
Am I being a cynic or just a realist? Do I need to run through the stats that back up the eye test?
Canucks coach Bruce Boudreau is confident in one thing. When Vancouver plays the right way; blocking shots, throwing hits, digging hard in puck battles, then they can win hockey games.
“We have to do all of those things and when we do them … coaches we’re talking, it’s pretty to watch from the bench,” Bourdreau said after Thursday’s win. “I mean, we were talking about committing to defend the other day. Well, in the third period I thought that’s exactly what they did and and they played for each other and it was it was really fun to watch.”
Changing the Routine
The Canucks cancelled any form of morning skate on Thursday leading up to the game against the Avalanche. That, after a feisty, rigorous practice and team meeting on Wednesday. On the change of routine we heard the usually entertaining “Gabby” routine’.
“You know, when things aren’t working, try, try different things, right,” Boudreau said. “So I mean, everybody does, put on your shoes, different feet, and anything to try to win. Everybody’s a little bit superstitious, but we do, we were on the ice for a lot, you know, recently, and we thought it would be a good idea if nobody went on and they seemed to like that.”
He’s a beauty, with a little Yogi Berra flavour to his coach-speak. (Young un’s, you’ll likely want to google).
The Canucks play a matinee to start the trip. Sunday’s game against the Jets begins in Winnipeg a little after 12-noon pacific time.