Canucks 4, Lightning 1: Brock Boeser's hat trick defuses high-octane Tampa

Together with his fifth profession hat trick, Boeser now has 21 objectives and is tied with Auston Matthews for the NHL lead

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It’s not about them. It’s about us.

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The signal of a maturing workforce is the flexibility to constantly care for its personal enterprise as a result of that can result in victory on a extra common foundation, irrespective of the competitors.

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On Tuesday, the Vancouver Canucks didn’t wish to discuss one other litmus check in opposition to the high-octane Tampa Bay Lightning. They paid respect to NHL scoring chief Nikita Kucherov and energy play sniper Steven Stamkos, however that was about it.

“A measuring stick? We’re not doing that,” Canucks centre J.T. Miller harassed about dealing with his former workforce. “Simply taking it day-to-day. It’s about us. Once we try this we will play with anyone.”

And that’s precisely what they did in a powerful 4-1 victory to stretch their win streak to 3 video games and mark the primary win over the Lightning at Rogers Area since Dec. 16, 2016.

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“It was a stable win,” stated Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet. “We have been slightly rusty early, however settled in and the penalty kill was nice. All 4 strains and 6 defence contributed and it was an excellent workforce effort.”


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Florida Panthers at Vancouver Canucks

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After surrendering an early lead, the Canucks methodically gathered their recreation. Andrei Kuzmenko lastly discovered the online on the facility play and Brock Boeser erupted for a three-goal outing. He now has 21 objectives and is tied with Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs for the league lead.

The Canucks weren’t taking a cocky method to dealing with the two-time Stanley Cup champion Lightning and have been rightly cautious.

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“You’ll be able to’t go to sleep in opposition to that workforce,” warned Miller. “They’ve some guys who will kill you. If we get a lead, we will’t be feeling snug as a result of they’ll hold coming.”

The Canucks prolonged their document to 16-0-0 when main after two intervals and that stated one thing as a result of they denied the league’s third-ranked energy play on all three events.

Right here’s what else we realized as a peaceful and funky Thatcher Demko made 28 saves —  together with 5 off Stamkos — and the Canucks now sit up for internet hosting the Florida Panthers on Thursday when Roberto Luongo will be a part of the Ring of Honour:


Vancouver Canucks' Brock Boeser (6), Filip Hronek (17) and Quinn Hughes (43) celebrate Boeser's second goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Tuesday, December 12, 2023.
Vancouver Canucks’ Brock Boeser (6), Filip Hronek (17) and Quinn Hughes (43) have a good time Boeser’s second aim in opposition to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the course of the second interval. Photograph by DARRYL DYCK /THE CANADIAN PRESS

Boeser continues to mild lamp

Boeser has scored in each conceivable method in his exceptional season of aid and redemption.

The new-shot winger practically transformed a second interval energy play likelihood type the bumper place earlier than doing what he has achieved regularly. 

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He has willingly gone to the exhausting areas to determine place to both set a display screen, deflect a shot or bury a rebound. And he nonetheless has that rocket of a shot when the chance arises. So, he’s now double bother for the opposition.

Boeser acquired into place to backhand a Miller rebound dwelling within the second stanza earlier than later unloading a one-timer to the quick stick facet within the excessive slot off a Quinn Hughes cross. One other multi-goal outing speaks to doing the work and seeing the outcomes. And the dedication has unfold via the ranks.

“We’re a tough workforce to play in opposition to after we do the little issues proper,” stated Boeser. “Chipping the physique and breaking out pucks clear provides us offence. On my second aim, I used to be simply type of scanning the ice and noticed most guys have been watching Quinn and we do the identical factor with Kuzy. I assumed the excessive ice was open for a one-timer and it labored out.”

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Added Tocchet: “Brock is only a sensible man and is aware of the spots to go at. And he has sharpened up his defensive recreation and nonetheless needs to get higher, but it surely’s night time and day from final yr.”

Vancouver Canucks' Brock Boeser (6) checks Tampa Bay Lightning's Brandon Hagel (38) during the second period on Tuesday night at Rogers Arena.
Brock Boeser (6) checks Tampa Bay Lightning’s Brandon Hagel (38) in the course of the second interval on Tuesday night time at Rogers Area. Photograph by DARRYL DYCK /THE CANADIAN PRESS

The Canucks wished Boeser to lift his degree of health within the low season with a brand new coach and routine. Added power has allowed him to be more practical on the forecheck and backcheck and in addition set up and preserve place down low.

Well being can also be wealth. Boeser hasn’t been slowed by nagging accidents or selecting up a freak one like he did in a coaching camp scrimmage final yr. Add all of it up and also you get a productive participant who’s skating extra freely and is in an excellent place mentally.

These commerce rumours that continued final season, and particularly on the commerce deadline, appear to be a distant reminiscence. He has been cash and value each penny of his US$6.65 million cap hit.

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Boeser wished to attain 30 objectives final season and wound up with 18. Now he’s in rarified air and the sky looks as if the restrict as a result of his total recreation and confidence have by no means been larger.

“It’s clearly actually superior, particularly after final season,” he stated. “But when I deal with that an excessive amount of I really feel I get away from my recreation. I’ve to proceed to deal with what’s giving me success and that’s the little particulars.”


Vancouver Canucks' Andrei Kuzmenko celebrates his goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period on Tuesday night at Rogers Arena.
Vancouver Canucks’ Andrei Kuzmenko celebrates his aim in opposition to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the course of the first interval on Tuesday night time at Rogers Area. Photograph by DARRYL DYCK /THE CANADIAN PRESS

Zadorov is in Kuzmenko’s nook

Generally, it takes a pal and countryman to journey to the emotional rescue.

With Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet displaying lingering and utter disgust with Kuzmenko’s incapacity to execute on the forecheck — and in addition not attending to the online extra repeatedly to seek out unfastened pucks like he did Saturday with two whacks in a single crease scramble — there have been encouraging indicators within the first interval.

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Not solely did Kuzmenko seem like Alex Ovechkin by taking a cross-ice, energy play feed from Hughes and wiring a one-timer quick facet for his first aim in 5 video games and simply second within the final 16, he then checked a field for Tocchet.

He hustled again on the backcheck to negate a Stamkos likelihood within the slot. Within the second interval, he acquired into place to deflect an influence play level shot for a scoring likelihood, created havoc within the crease and feathered a flowery again cross to the purpose.

“It was good and an important second as a workforce, this win,” stated Kuzmenko. “And good for me. The aim is bonus and it’s good to come back again to a standard degree for me. However each recreation is necessary for me and the workforce.”

When Nikita Zadorov arrived in a commerce, he stated he might assist Kuzmenko on and off the ice as a result of it’s simply his second season within the NHL after eight within the KHL. On Tuesday morning, he went one step additional.

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“He’s good. You’ve simply acquired to go away the man alone typically,” harassed Zadorov. “He’s working tremendous exhausting and I can inform you that Tocchet actually likes him. And Kuzy needs the very best from himself. It takes time. 

“He’s not younger (27) however younger for this league. The whole lot was going for him final yr, but it surely actually wasn’t playoff hockey. He simply has to shoot extra. On this league, 70 per cent is confidence.”

Mentioned Kuzmenko: “Zadorov has been huge assist to me on this troublesome time. It’s hockey. Final season was good and this season not good but it surely’s not completed season. It’s December and that is necessary time for me.”

OVERTIME — Generally it’s the little issues. Defenceman Noah Juulsen is taking part in with poise and confidence. He’s rapidly discovering outlet choices and his lengthy feed to Phil Di Giuseppe led to a scoring likelihood off the frenzy. Juulsen additionally drew a penalty behind the Canucks web whereas aggressively triggering the transition.

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