VANCOUVER – On time for Brandon Sutter's return to the lineup, the Vancouver Canucks went on the winning track against the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday. They checked.
No, seriously. The wildly entertaining Canucks, the secret of which was winning the National Hockey League this season, scoring five or more goals and leaving goalkeeper Jacob Markstrom the rest, played a relatively safe and boring game against the Coyotes.
And while they did not completely suppress Arizona in their own game, which disappears the time and space of the opposition, Vancouver achieved a 3-1 victory in the Rogers Arena, which was characterized by its unconventionality for the Canucks.
It was also encouraging because the Canucks will be more likely to deal with this style of play if they keep up in the playoff race and approach in April.
They still fired 35 shots at the Coyotes and didn't look exactly like Jacques Lemaires New Jersey Devils (or Minnesota Wild). Thank God, nobody in the NHL looks like this anymore. But it was a solid win against a tough opponent who defeated the Canucks in all four games last season.
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We didn't know that the Canucks had this in them. To be honest, they were probably not sure either.
"We've been talking about how games get tighter since Christmas," said control center Jay Beagle, who saw a lot of Clayton Keller's line.
“It gets narrower at this time of year – everyone knows that. You have to be strong in the D-Zone and expect a 2-1 win. That's the league. It's defensively tight towards the playoff push, so it's good to win this way.
"This was exactly the kind of game we were expecting and we stuck to our structure and performed it well and won a big game."
The Canucks tenth win in 13 games brought Vancouver to the top of the competitive Pacific Division. The Canucks have games in both teams.
"Every point is important," winger Tanner Pearson said.
“Especially considering the youth of our team and the little experience in the playoffs, it is good to see how the boys deal with themselves. Obviously, it's not fast playoff hockey. But it gets pretty tight with how close the table is. You want every game (lots of goals), but sometimes that doesn't happen. A strong defensive game against a good team in our division is a good step. "
Shutdown defender Chris Tanev, who has been used frequently against Taylor Hall, said: “We worked together pretty hard. It was definitely more of a playoff game. We knew that they were a very structured team and had four good lines. So normally you don't score four or five goals against this team. You have to win 3-2, 2-1 – this kind of game. "
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The Canucks scored five or more goals in 17 of their 48 games and scored four times five times. Thursday was only the seventh time that they have won in 26 games if they haven't scored at least four goals.
Tyler Myers' sales preceded Hall's setup to Christian Dvorak, who scored 1-0 against Arizona at 7:59 in the first section. But Vancouver's fighting power game came at 3:01 p.m. when Bo Horvat broke the rebound from Quinn Hughes' shot from the post.
Jake Virtanen interrupted the game at 3:49 p.m. in the second round when the Coyotes goalkeeper Adin Hill after excellent work by Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller wants to hold the puck to the Arizona blue line.
Pearson shot an empty goal 45 seconds before the end.
Markstrom started for the 16th time in 18 games and did its best work at the start of the third round when the Coyotes put pressure on them. He rescued Jason Demers up close and stopped at Conor Garland.
But the Canucks did a decent job of limiting the Coyotes' Grade A chances and directing the puck through the neutral zone where Arizona’s speed and positioning are causing problems.
Not surprisingly, Sutter was part of Vancouver's defense efforts. Sutter usually played wings on the fourth row in the fourth row with Beagle and Tyler Motte after missing 25 of the previous 28 games with groin and upper body problems.
Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman talk to a lot of people in the hockey world and then tell the audience everything about what they heard and what they think about it.
He ended the ice age at 15:33.
"The legs have definitely been a bit heavy lately, but it felt good to be back," said Sutter. "It's just nice to be with the group again.
"We knew it wasn't going to be a fancy game. It's never against this team (because) they sound so defensive. We managed to take the lead and persevere. We play it a couple more times, that was a good test for us. "
The Canucks and Coyotes play three times in the last month of regular season.
Vancouver will play the San Jose Sharks on Saturday before its farewell week.