Vancouver Canucks head coach Bruce Boudreau capped a “crazy” week with a history-making win on Sunday.
Just seven days after taking over behind the bench, Boudreau and his team earned their fourth straight victory, beating the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 in Vancouver.
Boudreau is the first Canucks coach to start his tenure 4-0-0.
“Let’s go for five,” he said after the win. “We’re behind the eight ball. We’ve got to keep going after it.”
Playing under Boudreau has given the Canucks (12-15-2) a fresh start, said Brock Boeser.
“It’s a little different, the way we’re playing is a little different,” said the right-winger who scored his seventh goal of the season on Sunday.
“I think we’re trying to push forward and you can see how much the (defencemen) are pinching and getting up the ice quick and supporting each other. I think it’s been working well so far and I think we’ve got to keep building and keep getting better at our systems and keep getting wins.”
The new coach has kept the Canucks honest, said centre Elias Pettersson.
“When we have our bad periods, things we could do better, he lets us hear it,” said the centre, who buried the game-winning goal midway through the second period. “It’s been great so far, obviously. But we know it doesn’t come every game. We’ve got to bring it and be honest with ourselves.”
Goalie Thatcher Demko turned in another stellar performance for the Canucks on Sunday with 28 saves.
The Hurricanes (19-7-1) outshot the home side 29-26 but only Martin Necas was able to find the back of the net. Antti Raanta stopped 24 shots in the losing effort.
“I think we made it a little harder on ourselves than we needed to tonight, kind of some weird plays that we don’t normally make and led to a couple of their goals, really. So it’s tough when you give them those,” said Carolina’s head coach Rod Brind’Amour.
“I mean, (the Canucks) played OK over there, but we just kind of gave them a couple of freebies and it’s tough to come back when you’re chasing the game. We worked hard, just didn’t execute very well.”
Boeser's Buzzin'! pic.twitter.com/vzoDkOyY4i
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) December 13, 2021
The ‘Canes were playing without star centre Sebastian Aho, who missed the game with an undisclosed illness.
The result snapped a four-game win streak for Carolina, who beat the Oilers 3-1 in Edmonton on Saturday.
Beating one of the league’s top teams is something that can help the Canucks going forward, Boudreau said.
“We know it’s their third in four, we know Aho wasn’t there,” he said. “But when you can compete with the best in the league ? you start to gain confidence that `Hey, you know what? We’re not that bad.’ And that’s what we want them to believe.”
The ‘Canes called a 30-second timeout with two minutes left on the game clock and pulled Raanta in favour of an extra attacker.
Demko was forced to make a big kick save on a shot by Andrei Svechnikov with just seconds left on the clock but the Canucks managed to weather the barrage.
Necas’ goal put Carolina on the board early in the third.
Vancouver’s Vasily Podkolzin sprawled out on the ice in an attempt to prevent Seth Jarvis’ pass but the centreman still managed to find Necas in front of the Canucks net and he flipped a quick backhanded shot at the 2:32 mark.
“We needed one more. Of course it was nice (to score) but had a couple more chances to get a couple more and one’s not enough today,” Necas said.
Elias Pettersson, a man on a mission.pic.twitter.com/4I2dy9I7WL
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) December 13, 2021
Vancouver came into the third up 2-0 after Pettersson scored off the rush 7:44 into the second. He took a nice pass from Conor Garland and uncorked a rocket from the hash marks to pad the Canucks’ lead.
The goal was Pettersson’s fifth of the year and his first at even strength.
“I’m a player that should score points, score goals, etc., whatever. This season, I’ve been kind of overdoing things, overthinking,” Pettersson said. “But we’re winning now. I’m feeling better out there. There’s still stuff I have to work on, especially face offs — I was horrendous on that today. I feel good but still I have a lot in me.”
The Canucks went into the first intermission up 1-0 thanks to Boeser.
Stationed at the goal line, J.T. Miller sliced a pass to the right-winger in the high slot. Boeser blasted a wrist shot past Raanta stick side at the 18:29 mark.
Svechnikov batted a puck into the Vancouver net earlier in the frame but the goal was quickly waved off for a high stick.
The Canucks will continue their homestand Tuesday when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Hurricanes will visit the Wild in Minnesota the same night.
NOTES: Both sides were 0 for 1 on the power play. Miller got an assist on Boeser’s goal, extending his point streak to four games (one goal, four assists). Former Canuck Jalen Chatfield played his first game in Vancouver since signing with Carolina as a free agent in July. Sunday marked the first meeting between the Canucks and ‘Canes since Feb. 2, 2020.