The Wild weren’t going to fall without a fight on Friday night, but the Vancouver Canucks continued to scramble to take down Minnesota.
EDMONTON – It’s been nine years and a lot of pain to go, but the Vancouver Canucks have finally won a playoff series.
Here’s what we learned from their 5-4 overtime win over the Minnesota Wild on Friday night.
Canucks show pluck on their return
The elephants give birth with less effort, but after wrapping a gift with a 3-1 lead for the Wild in the second period, then allowing a straight goal late in the game in the middle, the Canucks came back on the late goal. by Bo Horvat in third. before Chris Tanev won it just 11 seconds after the start of extra time. Tanev’s wrist shot beat Wild goalie Alex Stalock.
The veteran defenseman also had two assists and stood out throughout the game. Tanev and Alex Edler are the only two Canucks on the team to beat San Jose in the 2011 Western Conference Finals.
“It’s fun to win,” Tanev said. “The puck just bounced off their winger’s stick. I walked to the middle and was shooting for the stick (from JT Miller). He just missed it. I don’t know if this cheated on the goalkeeper.
“Chris is the heart and soul of this team,” said Quinn Hughes, Tanev’s rookie defensive partner. “It was great to see him score there.”
On the way to the extra fun, the Canucks survived a substandard outing from star goalie Jacob Markstrom and an inexplicable penchant for taking bad penalties, but still found a way against a wild team that took the front three times but could not close the deal.
“Obviously, this franchise has been through a lot,” Horvat said. “The past four years of missing the playoffs, we’ve taken that to heart. We wanted to go out and prove ourselves.
“We still have a lot of work to do. This is only the first set of many. We can’t wait for the next one.
Vancouver takes the fifth
The Canucks’ series victory leaves them as the fifth seed in the West. Calgary (eighth seed), Arizona (11th) and Chicago (12th) all advanced, meaning the Canucks jumped up a few spots after starting the qualifying round as a seventh seed.
Edmonton (fifth), Nashville (sixth) and Winnipeg (ninth) have all been eliminated.
The Canucks meet the winner of the St. Louis-Dallas round robin game on Sunday. The Western Conference quarterfinals are scheduled to begin on Tuesday.
Marky was irrelevant
Markstrom was the team’s MVP and an All-Star this year, but picked a bad time to make one of his worst outings of the season. The Wild, who played without team captain and blue line leader Ryan Suter, opened the scoring three minutes on a Ryan Hartman goal, then built a 4-3 lead in two periods.
All four goals came on 21 shots. Nico Sturm’s goal at the end of the second quarter came from a sharp angle and went through Markstrom. Eric Staal’s goal at the end of the first game, after Tanner Pearson had equalized the game, also came from a sharp angle.
Joel Eriksson Ek scored the third goal when Markstrom failed to control the rebound. Markstrom, however, stopped all seven shots in the third period, including a big save on Matt Dumba.
“I think our team played a great game and I’m so happy we won,” Markstrom said with a straight face when asked about his performance. “I want to thank all the players for scoring one more goal than I let in.”
“Marky doesn’t give himself enough credit,” Horvat said. “He’s been a brick wall for us all year. We wouldn’t be in this position without him.
Between Kunin’s goal and Pearson’s goal in the first period, the Canucks beat the Wild 11-2. After Eriksson Ek’s goal, they struck twice in just over a minute on goals from Brandon Sutter and Hughes.
Horvat and Tanev both finished with three points.
“I actually picked (Tanev) in the pool so I’m happy about that,” said the Canucks head coach of his full back, who scored both goals in the regular season.
Lots of heat from the start
After a sluggish start to Game 3, Friday night’s opening three minutes produced a bout between Jake Virtanen and Ryan Hartman, another in a series of penalties to Tyler Myers and a power play goal for the Wild.
Moments after Myers was sent off with his eighth minor in the series, Kunin took the puck to the net from the face-off and thrust it past Markstrom.
No Suter for Wild, Olli’s first for the Canucks
Minnesota played without Suter, who came out with an undisclosed injury. Suter has averaged 24:08 in the first three games of the series.
For the Canucks, rookie Olli Juolevi played his first game in the NHL. The fifth overall pick in the 2016 draft was a late replacement for Oscar Fantenberg.
“To be fair, the coaches were probably more nervous than him,” Green said of Juolevi. “I haven’t seen him much. We just felt he was the type to come in.
“You will never forget the first NHL game you play.”
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