VANCOUVER – An exciting two-week family that included a serious injury, a big exchange, a gigantic retirement ceremony and much anguish for the Vancouver Canucks’ standings ended Saturday with this song rolling off the benches: “We want 10! We want 10! “
Fans were talking about targets. Against the Boston Bruins.
The Canucks made a name for themselves in the National Hockey League playoff game and made an unforgettable home by beating the mighty Bruins 9-3 at the Rogers Arena. Against the best team in the league, which had lost only 11 times in regulation throughout the season, the Canucks scored two goals in the first period, three in the second and four in the third in their biggest offensive blast on home ice in 24 years.
As they head to Montreal for Monday’s commercial deadline and Tuesday’s game against the Canadiens to open a four-game journey, the Canucks are four points behind the playoff cut line in the Western Conference after going 3-2 -1 at the Rogers Arena.
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They suffered a potentially end-of-season rib injury to Brock Boeser, who was replaced by Tyler Toffoli after a major exchange with the Los Angeles Kings, and saw what had been a nine-point playoff cushion in early February contract to a minimum of two points.
No wonder the veteran wing J.T. During the Miller family he said that the key was controlling emotions and staying focused.
“There have been many good reasons for wanting to fight them for this game,” Miller said on Saturday. “Obviously, we wanted to take a better step against them than a couple of weeks ago (when the Canucks lost 4-0 in Boston). They are the best team in the league. Saturday game, the crowd was fantastic, a great rivalry that I’m new to. Obviously, against such a team, you won’t score nine. . . never. But we played really well tonight. It is really beautiful here. “
“It’s always a challenge,” said Captain Bo Horvat about emotion management, “especially during the commercial deadline. You never know who is coming or who is going. But many positive aspects came out tonight.
“We were all ready to go before this game. It was obviously a huge game for us against a great hockey team. We were all ready to start from the beginning. “
Canucks defender Troy Stecher, the hometown kid from this week’s epicenter of commercial guesswork, scored only 4:14 in the game and Vancouver has driven for everyone except four of the past 56 minutes.
Incredibly, they got stronger as the game went on and were able to respond every time the Bruins pressed.
A little lucky to only follow 2-1 after an opening period that saw the Canucks pass them 17-11, the Bruins joined some strong rounds at the start of the second only to see Vancouver absorb that pressure and score three more goals.
After the lead reached 6-1 on Elias Pettersson’s goal early in the third, David Pastrnak and Chris Wagner scored only 1:43 to make 6-3 and create some of that anxiety led by Bruin in Vancouver which has varied in degree since Boston won the 2011 Stanley Cup at the Rogers Arena. So the Canucks responded with three other goals.
Two games after his trade from Los Angeles, Toffoli scored his first for the Canucks at 11:10 on the final frame, and added another two minutes later. On both, the winger took his place from the slot, and his 20 goals this season have only eclipsed the Canucks from Pettersson’s 25 and Miller’s 24.
“I feel much better after doing it,” said Toffoli. “Just by building on it, I think it’s the key. Keep improving, build the chemistry. It is a large group. “
IS? The Canucks believe it, but the prospect of a newcomer is always interesting.
“I think everyone is a really good guy and they want the other to do well,” explained Toffoli, who won a Stanley Cup with the Kings. “I mean, I scored the seventh goal and the boys were happy for me. This is the atmosphere. Everyone wants to win, everyone wants to do well. We just have to keep building and keep having fun. “
When Jake Virtanen whistled a shot from distance beyond goalkeeper Jaroslav Halak, who replaced Bruins Tuukka Rask’s appetizer when the score was 6-1, the crowd started singing for a tenth goal.
Saturday was the twentieth time this season that the Canucks have scored at least five times in a game. The Bruins had conceded more than five goals only once all year round.
Tanner Pearson and Loui Eriksson also scored for Vancouver playing Horvat on a line that beat the Bruins’ trio of Pastrnak, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron head to head. Adam Gaudette had the other Canucks goal and 14 of Vancouver’s 18 skaters collected at least one point.
Stecher finished with three, adding two assists to his goal of opening the game on his best night of the season.
“I haven’t changed anything; it’s called luck for a reason,” said Stecher, referring to his goals that had gone against him in the previous two games. “Sometimes it goes the right way, sometimes it doesn’t. At the end of the day, it’s another hockey game.”
There were two more points, but not just another hockey game.