After the Canucks embarrassed the Calgary Flames on their home ice a few nights earlier, everyone knew the Flames would bring their A game to return the favor. They sure did but not all was negative for the Canucks who were able to show the entire NHL that some of their young guns are ready big minutes this season.
Five minutes into the 1st period Calgary’s prized off-season signing Dougie Hamilton from the Boston Bruins netted his first goal in a Flames jersey to give his Calgary squad a 1-0 lead early in the game. The Canucks ended the 1st period being down 1-0 and were outshot 15-9.
Last year during their 1st round match-up with the Flames, the Canucks appeared slower, and older than the Flames which was the 2 biggest things management wanted to address this past summer.
Canucks readjusted, and on Saturday night two of team’s brightest, and youngest players led the team to a well fought battle.
Center Bo Horvat, 20, tied the game on a power play two minutes into the second period, collecting his own rebound after a couple good saves and beating Hiller with a shot over the left shoulder from below the right face-off circle. It was the first power-play point for Horvat, who was rarely used on the power play as a rookie last season.
10 minutes later rookie, Jared McCann scored his 1st career NHL goal after former Canuck Mason Raymond failed to get the puck out of his own blue line. The rookie obviously impressed the coaching staff with his speed, and scoring abilities in preseason leading to him making the Canucks opening day roster.
“I almost blacked out to be honest,” McCann said of jumping hard into the glass after scoring.
Canucks entered the 3rd period with a 2-1 lead and held on until the 8:49 mark, in which Calgary tied the game on Sean Monahan’s goal. Last year the Flames were one of the best teams coming back from behind in the 3rd period.
With the score tied 2-2 in OT, Gaudreau lost the puck to Brandon Sutter in the Vancouver end, but before the latter could spring Daniel Sedin on a breakaway, Dennis Wideman stripped the puck and it went right to Gaudreau, who skated in on a 2-on-1 and put a shot past Canucks goalie Ryan Miller‘s blocker short side.
With the new 3 on 3 format in OT, more open ice is available leading to odd man rushes, but this time it hurt the Canucks when Daniel Sedin jumped the gun.
Regardless of the loss, the Canucks experienced their first taste of 3 on 3 overtime play, while playing a meaningful game and getting a taste of what their young guns could do against a physical, and fast team.
Next up: The Canucks travel to Anaheim for a Thanksgiving Day matchup against Ryan Kesler, and recently traded Kevin Bieksa.
Written by: Hamed Amiri