VANCOUVER – The first goal Chris Tanev ever scored in the National Hockey League was an overtime winner in Edmonton, set up by the legendary Vancouver Canucks Henrik and Daniel Sedin.
When Tanev reminded us of this late Thursday, we naturally asked ourselves: How the hell did a young defender who stayed at home get out in OT with the Sedins in 2013?
"I have no idea," said Tanev. "Most of my goals were overtime."
Well, four out of 22 in a 10-year National Hockey League career have gone into extra time for Tanev. But few felt larger than Thursday when Max Pacioretty missed Bo Horvat's feathered pass before pushing the puck against goalkeeper Marc-Andre Fleury into extension after 90 seconds when the Canucks took the Vegas Golden Knights with Defeated 5: 4.
If the Canucks actually did playoff games in April – losing four out of five before Thursday didn't help their chances – they could use December 19 as a reference.
In a fierce game against a talented, beefy opponent who defeated them 6-3 in Vegas four days earlier, the Canucks lost a two-goal lead in the second half and survived a 4: 3 lead in the third but and defeated the Golden Knights for the second time in 10 games since Sin City got an ice hockey team.
"Everyone answered and answered the bell," said Canucks goalkeeper Jacob Markstrom. "We held together as a team. It is great character. I said all year round: we have a great group of people and we all understand each other. We're super tight, so it's great to see that.
“I am very happy that Tanny scored a goal. He is a guy who never complains and always does more than is expected of him. So super glad that he scored a goal. "
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The Canucks were very pleased with Markstrom, who took on 19 of the Knights' 43 shots in the third round and scored a playful backdoor save against Paul Stastny two minutes before the end of regular time.
"More to save despair," said Markstrom. "I was just trying to get to the post office as soon as possible. Even though I scored four goals today, this is the time saving that I have driven forward. You want to make a difference, you want to help the boys. It was my time to improve and help the boys win. "
Elias Pettersson's second goal, a quick shot after a cross-rink against Brock Boeser, brought the Canucks 4-3 to 9:19 in the third half. But Mark Stone made a draw at 3:40 pm against four when Bo Horvat and Quinn Hughes after J.T. Miller dawdled on a line break.
The crucial time of the game was in the middle of the second period.
Few teams in the NHL have a counter. Most teams, like the Canucks, have to be ready to play from the start, build their game early and keep it, or they don't win. The Golden Knights have a switch that they flicked in the middle of the game with two goals and a dangerous hit within 70 seconds.
With an unusual 3: 1 deficit to Vegas, the line William Karlsson-Jonathan Marchessault-Reilly Smith managed to get the Knights to the point at 11:01 a.m. and dismantle the three goals of the Canucks. On-three-low coverage to generate a tap-in for Smith.
When the Canucks tried to remove the puck from their zone in the next shift, Vegas defender Nick Holden pushed Josh Leivo and pushed the Vancouver winger from behind before the puck arrived. Leivo's knee seemed to bend as he crashed into the boards.
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Pushes and swear words followed, but no punishment. Instead of sitting in the box, Holden was already open at 12:10 p.m. to crack the gate. The shot seemed to ricochet past Markstrom from Canuck Tyler Motte's stick.
It was such a dramatic and disturbing sequence of events that Canucks coach Travis Green, who rarely panicked or burned his time-out unnecessarily, paused the game for 30 seconds to allow his players to breathe and regain their balance.
It was a big moment in a suddenly bigger game when Leivo limped away and struck his stick against the boards before going into the hospital room. A player knows when he is seriously injured. Under Leivo's condition, there was no word after Green's game.
After the timeout, the Canucks only allowed two shots for the rest of the period.
"They came to us pretty well," said Tanev. “It was a really good time out with the coach to calm us down. When you're frustrated, everyone panics a little and loses control of what they're doing. He just said, be confident and go out and play our game.
"Two goals and one of our best strikers were injured, it was a tough minute."
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.
Canucks winger Tanner Pearson said, "I thought we did a great job not to get frustrated, stick to our game plan, and then get a solid third place. I think the timeout was a good call to reassure everyone. It happens in this league – goals are scored quickly. But we settled down and fought back. It was a big win for us. "
The Canucks never made it past their last three home games but led the Golden Knights 2-0 after only seven minutes.
Antoine Roussel scored 1-0 in the first half's 2: 49 success and took a gift with an open net after Adam Gaudette booked a pass between goalkeeper Fleury's balls from an acute angle.
Pearson doubled the lead in a power play at 7:08 am, and in a way transformed Leivo's pass from the top of the fold, with both Fleury and Vegas defender Nate Schmidt lying between the Canuck and the goal line.
Miller's poor defense after his sales led to a rebound gate for Marchessault at 1:58 p.m., but Miller made up for it with a powerful pull into the net that triggered a rebound for Pettersson 3: 1 for Vancouver with 19: 32 of the opening period.
Really, the game was just beginning.