It’s not often your weekly column is forced to take a two week hiatus. But when a massive COVID outbreak hit the Canucks and put the team out of commission, suddenly it was really hard to make funny jokes. In fact, it still kind of is.
The Canucks finally returned to ice tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs, with a run down roster made up of guys recovering from a serious respiratory illness and AHLers with little experience against an Auston Matthews or a William Nylander. And yet, against all the odds, the underhanded Vancouver squad came back from two goals down to stave off the Leafs with a 3-2 overtime victory.
Bo Horvat, who’d gave impassioned quotes about the seriousness of the disease and how it affected his family, played like a true man on a mission. The captain scored the opening goal of the game off the rush on a fantastic pass from Nils Höglander before potting the OT winner with a rocket under the arm of Jack Campbell.
In a game where Vancouver was expected get stomped by the North Division leaders – and a first period that didn’t exactly sway expectations – a number of Canucks stepped up to flip the script. Tyler Myers dealt with the midgame disqualification of his defensive partner, Alex Edler, by racking up a full 30 minutes of ice time and assisting on Horvat’s game winner. J.T. Miller, whose public comments about the proposed schedule led to the NHL pushing the team’s return by a couple days, played a full 22 minutes, including some time on the penalty kill. And Braden Holtby played his best game as a Canuck by turning aside 37 Leafs shots, including this Dominik Hasek-esque windmill on Wayne Simmonds.
In the grand scheme of things, this win likely won’t have any major impact on the standings. But the emotional aspect for the Canucks is impossible to ignore. A team that went 24 days in between games and faced a variety of symptoms and challenges before being ready to retake the ice found that extra gear to stage a classic comeback.
Of course, with 18 games left in their season and a 10 point gap to make up on the Montreal Canadiens, the Canucks’ playoff chances are slim to none. But the North Division could always use another good story, and a resilient Vancouver team playing spoiler for the five teams in front of them could be one for the ages.
1) Edmonton Oilers ⬆️ 3
WE’RE (finally) NOT TERRIBLE!!! PUT SOME RESPECK ON OUR NAME!!!
2) Vancouver Canucks
Thank god we beat the Leafs, we needed to distract people from that disastrous trade deadline and Pearson signing. Oh yeah, and that whole COVID debacle.
3) Winnipeg Jets ⬇️ 1
Quiet and unassuming wins the race. That’s the Winnipeg way!
4) Montreal Canadiens
Starting to think the coaching staff wasn’t our actual problem.
5) Ottawa Senators ⬆️ 7
Matt Murray had a shutout against the Habs the other day, in case you needed a reminder that we live in the upside-down world.
6) Toronto Maple Leafs ⬇️ 5
hahahahahahah – *deep breath* – HAHAHAHAHAHAH
7) Calgary Flames
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