Okay, just do that. Every time.
Last night’s 60 minutes of high-flight scoreboard dominance was a rousing peek at just how good this Canucks team can be – heck, how good any NHL team can be – when they really try, or when the game breaks their way, or when they use all their tools to their max output.
Final score: Vancouver 5, Montreal 1.
It wasn’t a perfect game from Vancouver, with long stretches where it seemed like Montreal would finally, maybe capitalize on minutes of pressure. And you can decide whether the Canucks are really this good, or whether the Habs were just destined for a tumble after nine straight wins.
But it was never slow. The pace never died. The Canucks played like they were all Jared McCann and Jake Virtanen – two guys nearing the end of their nine-game NHL auditions, desperate to stand out and earn a job.
“Winning is always fun,” said McCann, in the locker room after the game (via Canucks TV). “To get that first win tonight was huge, in our home rink… We started off the game as well as we have in the past, and I just felt like tonight we finished it off a lot better.”
McCann had two goals last night, and Virtanen – the team’s other teenager – was terrific as well, and terrific often, especially without the puck against the Montreal team that looked overwhelmed and surprised with Vancouver’s hot start.
If McCann feels his Canucks were all finish last night, he’s right – and the opposite could be said about the Habs.
Montreal was never out of the game, because they’re never out of any game, but they were unable to convert on several chances, with Brendan Gallagher clanging a slapshot off the post and Ryan Miller stoning David Desharnais on a 2-on-0 – those stood out among the Canadiens’ first-half chances.
In the recent past however, especially in the Tortorella and post-Tortorella eras, the Canucks have clammed up when the game’s pace picks up, especially when the flow or the bounces become unpredictable.
And it’s easy to lose yourself in the fastlane against the Habs, who even last night showed off their insanely quick transition game several times.
Of course, the same can be generalized from watching teams in the East when they travel West. While the gulf between the conferences is often exaggerated, certainly now with the power that plays out East, there’s no doubt the game is faster out by the Rockies, and that its style can catch the slower side off balance from time-to-time – former Bruin Matt Bartkowski verified as much last week.
So, full points to the Canucks, who have exceeded expectations so far this season, despite a few-game slide coming into Tuesday.
“A couple went in for us that haven’t been going in, and Montreal’s a good time, so we needed those ones to go in tonight,” said Vancouver’s head coach, Willie Desjardins.
“Tonight was a good night for us, lots of things went right… they were good tonight, all the young guys were good.”
Vancouver was coming off a disappointing loss on Saturday, at home to the Detroit Red Wings. The Canucks led 2-0 after 40 minutes, but gave up two goals in the third and the OT winner to Gustav Nyquist, at 3-on-3.
“We’ve got tough games coming up, though,” said Desjardins, throwing water on Tuesday’s win. “Both Dallas and Phoenix are going to be real tough games. But for us, it was good to see that we could beat a top team and I think all our guys had confidence, but still it was nice to find a way and hold onto a lead going into the third.”
The Canucks next game is Thursday night – October 29, 2015 – against the Dallas Stars in Texas. (TV: Sportsnet Vancouver, Radio: TSN 1040)