LAS VEGAS – It was weird music for a funeral. As the third-period calmed down, countless fans could be heard at the Vegas Golden Nights Arena, Vancouver Canuck fans chanting: “Bruce, there it is!”
It was certainly a serenade, for Canucks coach Bruce Bodreau, the catalyst for the team’s mid-season change. But it felt even better than Wednesday, as the Canucks, who have won just one of their four-year victories in Vegas since the spectacular Golden Knights National Hockey League win, have won 5-1.
The performance really came too late to help Vancouver, who had won just three of their previous 12 games when the Wildcard dropped nine points from the play-off spot.
But it was a demonstration of the determination not to go silent in the draft lottery, and certainly a satisfying one for Canuck players who have suffered massive losses at the hands of the Golden Knights but on Wednesday gave Vegas a shock push to their own playoff ambitions.
This put an end to the Knights’ five-game winning streak and kept them one point out of the play-off spot in a race against teams that played less.
“Yeah, it’s a tough barn,” Canucks defender Tyler Myers said of the T-Mobile Arena. “I’ve played a lot here, played a play-off series here (with the Winnipeg Jets). A good team there. Just the way we played to get two points. It’s good to have you, especially in this area. “
And after the Canucks 3-2 overtime loss to the Knights in Vancouver on Sunday, the delighted and injured top defender Quinn Hughes and top-six forward Brock Boyser, respectively, rejoiced in the win.
Kyle Burroughs, who played five NHL games in six years before joining his hometown of Canucks this season and moving to the lineup, played his first game since being hit on the upper body on 19 February. Boudreau said he gave Buroz a chance to regain his place.
Oliver Ekman-Larson replaces Hughes in the power play and assists two. Myers logged 25:10 on ice time in the rebuilt defense. But the difference, apart from goalkeeper Thatcher Demco, was forward Elias Peterson, who played right-wing in a line with Jetty Miller and Tanner Pearson and scored two goals and two assists and seemed to play whenever he was on the ice.
“I thought his was the best game,” Myers said. “I thought it was the best game of the year. Last month, he played a lot of good hockey in the last few months. Don’t mind the point. . . Petey is a special player and he played special tonight. We get to play him more often, he’s going to be a great player for us for a long time.
“It could have been,” Boudreau said of Myers’ assessment, saying it was Peterson’s best game. I mean, he was around Pak. He has done some really intelligent dramas. He knows where to go. And I think I’m playing on the right side. . . He sees the ice very well, so when he turns to the right, and he turns, everything is in his forehand. If you look at the history, (Alex) Ovechkin, who played their off-wing, they have been very good. And I think Peterson has the same vision. “
Patterson, a left-shot center who has played a lot of left-wing play this season, has scored six goals in five games.
He was involved in all but Vancouver’s second Canucks goal, which was actually 1-0 behind the game when Jack Aichel scored in the 12:02 minute of the first period, dominating most of the first half and giving the Golden Knights just nine goals. Shot in the net in the first 29 minutes.
Bo Harbhat’s rebound from Ekman-Larson’s point shot tied the game in a power play at 16:38 and just 17 seconds later, Brad Richardson gave Vegas goalkeeper Robin Lehner a loose spin after the first of several gifts from Knights defender Alec Martinez. .
Pearson, in Patterson’s great backhand setup, made it 3-1 at 11:40, before Patterson scored at 16:03, looping around the Vegas net just in time to redirect Aichel to redirect Ekman-Larson’s great feed. Towards the back post.
Another Martinez gift, and a nice reverse pass from Alex Chiasson, allowed Peterson to score again at 1:11 in the third period as Vancouver’s power play went for two-three.
It’s all over but singing.
“For the duration of the year and what we needed, it was a pretty good all-around game,” Boudreau said. “The goalkeeper had to be great, but the players in front of him were really good. When they play 60 minutes, they are a tough team to beat because we are usually pretty good when we play with the lead. ”
Asked about the win without Hughes and Boyesar, Boudreau said: “It made them even more harmonious that they had to play their best game because we are missing two top players. When you’ve got it – and I’ve seen it happen many times – when your lineup erodes, everyone’s senses are higher and. . They just play a good game. “
“I thought the boys would get up tonight,” Myers said. “From the last game some guys out of the lineup – important guys out of the lineup – and the boys went ahead. I thought for a while it was one of our best team games.
“We talk about it almost every day – about how we do our best when we play on the puck. And when we don’t, we’re pretty average there. We just have to do it more consistently. I know there’s not much play left. But we have to do it for the other 11. “
The Canucks went to the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday before opening a five-game homestand against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday.