With the trade of Canucks captain Bo Horvat looming in the distance and the firing of head coach Bruce Boudreau apparently looming even closer, the Vancouver Canucks took on the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche on Friday night at Rogers Arena.
Would they “win one for the Gipper”, or in this case, the “Gabby”?
That’s likely overstating things. How about win one for the sake of competition, professionalism and pride.
The goaltenders involved: Alexandar Georgiev at Collin Delia.
J.T. Miller put the puck in the net via tip-in in the first three minutes but he did so with a high stick and the goal was waved off. There was no argument.
Andrew Cogliano opened the scoring as the Avalanche got on the board first at 11:32 of the first period. The play involved a D-zone clearing attempt with Vancouver goalie Delia rimming the puck around the near boards to Miller at the hash marks who was double-teamed and lost it. Two seconds later the puck was in the back of the net with Cogliano firing it home from the slot.
The Canucks failed on their lone power play attempt of the period, the Avalanche also went 0-for-1, but then had a 5-on-3 carry-over into the 2nd period.
The two-man advantage clicked :34-seconds into the period, Valeri Nishuchkin‘s eighth goal in an injury-plagued season. Nathan MacKinnon picked up an assist to stretch his point-scoring streak to seven games. He’s averaging two points a game during the run.
Would Colorado blow a two-goal lead to the Canucks like they did on January 5th at Rogers Arena in a 4-2 loss?
Mikko Rantanen added his 32nd goal of the season on another 5-on-3 advantage to put Colorado up 3-0.
Canucks Goal Scorers:
3-1 Avalanche – Even Strength – Elias Pettersson (19) from Brock Boeser and Andrei Kuzmenko, 12:32
‘Petey’ found the puck down low, in tight, and he stickhandled the puck around Georgiev in lightning-fast fashion.
— Maple Ridge native and former Canucks defenceman Brad Hunt would score on a knuckle-ball slapper from the point to make it 4-1 Colorado before the period was over.
Shots were even at 29-29. The Colorado power play went 2-for-4, Vancouver’s 0-for-4.
While the Canucks playoff hopes have already gone bye-bye, the champs won their fourth game in a row as they begin their second-half charge. With the win the Avalanche bumped the Calgary Flames out of the 2nd Western Conference wild card spot based on number-of-games played. Both teams have 51 points.
Despite the losing effort, some of the Canucks faithful chanted “Bruce, there it is!” in honour of head coach Boudreau at various points during the match.
The Canucks host the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night, while the Avalanche play at the Seattle Kraken.