Vancouver Canucks, Elias Pettersson

Canucks Pettersson Dominates; NHL Star’s Cash Register Will Sing

Not that Elias Pettersson wasn’t bound and determined to have a great year regardless, but the Canucks quiet superstar just happens to be putting everything together in a contract year, and with Restricted Free Agent (RFA) status awaiting him next summer, the club should plan on ponying up dollar amounts the likes of which have never been seen before in Vancouver.

‘Petey’s’ cash register will be singing, presently vibrating in anticipation. In the meantime, any thoughts that his current in-season, non-negotiation stance means he wants out of town should be put on the back burner. Ultimately he wants to win and that’s exactly what the Canucks are doing with a record of 6-2-and-1.

For the second time this season, Pettersson was named the NHL’s 2nd-Star for a specific time period. First, it was for the opening week of the season with his goal and five assists. This time, it’s for all of October.

Pettersson wrapped up the abridged opening month with five goals and 11 assists in nine games, including a Halloween hat trick, the second time he’s had a three goal game in his career.

Canucks Top Line

Petey’s pleased as punch with his two Russian linemates, Alexei Kuzmenko and Ilya Mikheyev, the latter recently recovered from knee surgery.

“He’s made a huge impact, he’s speedy out there, he creates space for both me and ‘Koozy’,” Pettersson said. “Good to have him back and see him on the score sheet sometimes too.”

Mikeyhev has two goals and two assists in five games while Kuzmenko has seven points in nine games. Petey is second in the NHL in scoring with 16 points, two behind October’s 1st-Star Jack Hughes of the New Jersey Devils, who finished the month with 18.

Reality Check

The Canucks took care of business against the Nashville Predators for the second time in a week with Tuesday night’s 5-2 victory at Rogers Arena. Yet it wasn’t exactly what Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet was looking for; a game marked by sloppiness and turnovers.

The bench mentor quickly put a disclaimer on Petey’s hattie.

“He was turning the puck over a lot though,” Tocchet pointed out postgame. “Him getting three goals, I like that part, but he was one of the culprits of turning the puck over. We’ve gotta make sure, he knows it. By getting the three goals, obviously that power play goal helped us, but we had too many guys that were turning the puck over tonight.”

Petterson scored early in the 2nd period after cutting to the middle of the O-zone and firing a wrister through Predators goalie Kevin Lankinen. In this case, “Leaky” Lankinen.

Late in the same stanza he scored on the power play, again blocker side, with a wrist shot from the right wing circle. He capped off his first hat trick since the fall of 2019 with an empty netter with almost three minutes remaining in the game.

Just as important, his honest analysis matched that of his coach.

“Very happy, another win for us, obviously happy with the hat trick,” he said before the ‘but’. “We weren’t playing the way we used to do, second period was a little scrambly, the first as well, the third I think we did our best one, so we’re happy and we’ll look at the things we can do better and move forward.”

That realization is as important as the goal scoring. A sign the team and its superstar are buying in.

The Canucks head to San Jose for a Thursday night match against the struggling Sharks and then return to host the Dallas Stars on Saturday night.


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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.