Brock Boeser and Elias Pettersson played a significant role in the Canucks coming out on top of their 4-1 win against LA Kings on Friday night. Boeser, whose career high of 29 goals, hit his goal of scoring 30 goals in a season last night.
Only eleven games into the season, the right-winger had struggled to find the net, but with two goals last night, he was instrumental in helping Vancouver in their 4-1 win over the L.A. Kings.
“Any time you have a goose egg and you’re supposed to score and help the team win hockey games and we’re not winning hockey games, it weighs on you,” said Boeser. “That’s what I get paid to do so I’ve got to make sure I continue to find ways to put the puck in the back of the net and that comes with hard work.”
The result for the Vancouver Canucks was a big one as it saw goalie Thatcher Demko earning his second win of the season after stopping 37 shots. And for Vancouver’s coach Bruce Boudreau, he said both Demko and Boeser needed a game like Friday night’s.
“You could see the smile on Brock’s face on the first (goal) and the second one is what he does. … So I’m very happy for both of them,” said Boudreau.” Demko has taken a lot of heat this year but he was the one that sort of made the difference in the game and that’s great. When you get good goaltending usually, everybody else is playing well too.”
Elias Pettersson also contributed in a big way for the Canucks, with his two goals, while Quinn Hughes and Andrei Kuzmenko earned a pair of assists. LA’s Blake Lizotte responded for the Kings with their only goal, while Alexander Edler and Sean Walker earned assists, and goalie Jonathan Quick stopped 21 shots.
“I thought we had some good performances tonight and I thought we had some poor ones,” said LA Kings coach Todd McLellan. “Sometimes you have to play the game a certain way and it might not be the way you like it. It might be ugly, it may be grinding, it might not be cute, but that’s the way you have to play it, and we had some that couldn’t accept that or didn’t want to, and I believe that cost us.”
Midway through the second, with the Canucks up by one, Sean Walker’s penalty for cross-checking gave Vancouver the advantage. Only 20 seconds into the one-man advantage, Brock Boeser scored his first and celebrated with an enthusiastic fist pump.
After the Kings reduced the gap to 2-1, the Canucks were able to increase the cushion after consistently pressuring the Kings. With LA stuck in their own zone, Andrei Kuzmenko fired off a pass to Elias Pettersson, who then sent the puck past a dicing Jonathon Quick to score his second of the game.
It was only 64 seconds earlier that the Kings had scored their first after Blake Lizotte redirected a shot from Sean Walker from the side of the net.
“I think we talked lately about if we score or they score, we need to respond no matter what, not sit back,” said Pettersson. “So I’m happy.”
LA continued to struggle in the third period after turning the puck over deep in Vancouver’s territory. The turnover saw Sheldon Dries going deep into LA’s zone and firing off a shot that was stopped by Jonathon Quick. However, Boeser was positioned beside the net and quickly batted in the rebound to make it 4-1 for the Canucks.
“I’ve actually been working on tipping pucks a lot after practice so maybe it paid off,” said Boeser. “I was just happy to make contact.”
The Kings almost managed to reduce the deficit early in the third when a shot by Anze Kopitar hit the post, and that left J.T. Miller, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and Demko scrambling for the puck before Demko was able to scoop it under his glove.
“Some of the saves in the third were “pretty ugly,” admitted Demko. “We knew kind of what it was going to look like in the third there, they’re just getting pucks and bodies to the net,” he said. “And I thought our (defence) was outstanding and just boxing guys out.”
The good news for Canadian sports punters is that Vancouver were one for three on the power play on Friday, while the Kings for 0 for 2. Boeser has now earned points in the last six games for Vancouver, five assists, two goals) and J.T. Miller is on a four game point streak with one assist and three goals.
Vancouver’s Curtis Lazar has rejoined the Canuck lineup after being on the sidelines for ten games due to a hand injury. The return of Lazar will see Will Lockwood, who filled the gap for Lazar, missing out on Vancouver’s Monday night game against the Golden Knights.