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Boeser scores two as Canucks beat Oilers in season opener

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EDMONTON — Brock Boeser scored twice, including the winner, as the Vancouver Canucks downed the Edmonton Oilers 5-3 on Wednesday in the 2020-21 NHL season opener for both teams.

Bo Horvat, Adam Gaudette, and rookie Nils Hoglander also scored for Vancouver. Braden Holtby made 28 saves for his first win as a Canuck.

Kailer Yamamoto, Darnell Nurse and Adam Larsson replied for Edmonton. Mikko Koskinen stopped 30-of-35 shots for the loss.

It was a back and forth game in front of no fans and canned crowd noise at Rogers Place.

The Canucks won despite not having winger J.T. Miller in the lineup. Miller, their top scorer from last season, and depth defenceman Jordie Benn had to sit out as per COVID-19 protocol.

Oiler captain McDavid, playing on his 24th birthday, was held scoreless but buzzed around the net, driving on Holtby relentlessly and drawing multiple penalties.

Oiler centre Leon Draisaitl, the reigning Art Ross Trophy winner as the league’s top point getter last season, registered one assist.

Boeser scored twice in the third period to seal the win as the Canucks took advantage of numerous Oiler defensive breakdowns.

Vancouver opened the scoring with less than five minutes to play in the first period. Tanner Pearson, racing with the puck up the right wing, managed, just before getting hit by Oiler Zack Kassian at Edmonton’s blue line, to spin and put the puck on the tape of Horvat in the slot. Horvat skated in alone and shot the puck low stick side past Koskinen.

The Oilers tied the game early in the second. Draisaitl, off a turnover, fed the puck to Yamamoto who one-timed the puck from the slot into the top corner of the net.

Hoglander, the Swedish rookie, put Vancouver up 2-1 with less than three minutes to go in the second, on a rebound after Edmonton failed to clear the puck out of its own end.

The goals came in bunches in the third period, starting with Nurse’s wrist shot from the face-off circle just 10 seconds in.

Gaudette then scored on a cross-ice feed from Antoine Roussel to make it 3-2.

Less than two minutes later, Quinn Hughes, down on the ice near the blue line managed to backhand the puck to an open Boeser in the slot, who fired low and in for a 4-2 lead.

Then Larsson fired a slapshot from the top of the face-off circle through traffic and in to cut the lead to 4-3.

Boeser then took a pass off the wall from Elias Pettersson to steam in on the right wing and fire the puck shortside over Koskinen’s shoulder.

The two teams play again in Edmonton Thursday night in what will be a 56-game regular-season sprint over 115 days. Due to cross-border COVID travel restrictions, the seven Canadian teams will play each other in the North Division.

Edmonton and Vancouver will play 10 times.

It was a return to familiar surroundings for both teams.

Edmonton hosted the NHL’s Western Conference playoffs and league’s final two playoff rounds last summer in the so-called playoff “bubble.”

Source:- Sportsnet.ca

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Canadiens @ Canucks game recap: Habs lose a barn burner in Vancouver – Habs Eyes on the Prize

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Off to one of their hottest starts in recent memory, the Montreal Canadiens headed to visit their westernmost division foes for the first time this season. The Vancouver Canucks had not enjoyed the same type of start, coming in at 1-3 and badly needing a win to get things going in the other direction.

After getting a with with Jake Allen in Edmonton on Monday, they elected to turn back to Carey Price for the first contest of a back-to-back. Braden Holtby was in line for the Canucks, so one may have expected a lower-scoring affair, but one would have been disappointed if they held such an expectation.

The Habs have had some penalty trouble so far this year, which plagued them again in the first period. They took two minor penalties within the first 11 minutes, with Tomas Tatar and Ben Chiarot taking turns visiting the sin bin. The second of those ended up burning them, as Bo Horvat would get one through Carey Price to make it 1-0 for the home side.

Montreal came out flying to start the second, trying to get the equalizer, and their efforts would be rewarded. Jesperi Kotkaniemi found a wide open Tyler Toffoli at the offensive blueline, and the latter made no mistake tying the game on the breakaway.

But the equalizer was short lived. Jeff Petry jumped into a rush trying to get the lead for his team, and it sent the Canucks on an odd-man rush the other way. Tyler Motte was patient, and ended up beating Price to restore his team’s lead at 2-1.

The Habs finally got their first power play chance of the game shortly after Motte’s goal. They’ve been deadly, and that continued as a gorgeous Nick Suzuki pass permitted Toffoli to get a tap in for his second of the night to make it 2-2.

But shortly thereafter, the officials called an absurd unsportsmanlike penalty on Kotkaniemi for daring to mention to them that they missed two trips by the Canucks. Of course, the Canucks capitalized on this gift from the officials, this time with Brock Boeser again restoring their one goal lead at 3-2.

They’d call yet another absurd holding penalty against Brett Kulak, but Montreal would thankfully kill it off. After that, they were playing angry, and Tomas Tatar came screaming in on the left wing before finding Brendan Gallagher out front for an easy 3-3 goal.

Early in the third, Montreal continued their parade to the penalty box. This time with Josh Anderson being penalized for delay of game, a mistake that cannot be charged to poor officiating. Bo Horvat found the net for his second of the game, and just like that the Canucks were back up 4-3.

Kotkaniemi clearly drew the ire of the refs on that previous unsportsmanlike penalty, as he got clotheslined in the third while one of them stared at it but called nothing. He obviously took that to heart, as he turned up his pressure, and was able to get a deflected shot through Holtby to tie the game at four.

And that lit a real fire for the Canadiens, as they began to put on their best pressure of the game, albeit later than they would have liked. None other than Tyler Toffoli would take the lead for his team, scoring his first hat trick as a member of the Canadiens.

Like all leads in this particular game, however, it was short lived. Boeser unleashed a vicious one-timer to tie the game at five, and solidify this game as a true barn burner. Gallagher came close to getting a very late regulation goal, but alas they would head to some three-on-three action.

Though it was quite the eventful overtime frame, it was all for naught, and they would head to a shootout to decide who would get the extra point. While Nick Suzuki was able to pull off a beautiful deke, it was all the Habs had for Holtby, and the Canucks walked away with the victory with two of their own on Price.

Thoughts

  • The unsportsmanlike penalty against Kotkaniemi was terrible. Players chirp the refs all the time for calls and it rarely results in that type of measure, particularly when they did miss two clear trips by Vancouver right before that. That they ignored blatant roughing against Kotkaniemi later in the game suggests they kept his number, which is just flat out unprofessional.
  • That being said, not all of the calls were of that absurd variety. For example, Anderson’s delay of game was the third the team has taken in only four games. The Habs need to make a concerted effort to stay out of the box, because as good as the penalty kill has been, last night showed that you can only hold off so many. They can’t afford to be giving opposing teams anywhere from 5 to 8 chances every night.
  • Tyler Toffoli has been great, and this game was an example of him finally being rewarded for being in the right places. It felt like through the first few games he was just fighting it, and getting no puck luck. If he keeps being as well positioned as he has been, things will keep happening for him, and he’ll keep making Marc Bergevin look very smart for that acquisition.
  • Don’t look now, but Brendan Gallagher is heating up. If you had to pick who would lead the team in goals this year before the season started, most would probably have picked him, and he appears to be finding his groove.

As bad as the officiating was, the Canadiens can’t sit around feeling sorry for themselves, and they shouldn’t. This was easily their worst overall effort of this young season, so even if they deserved better from an officiating standpoint, they didn’t do themselves any favours.

Hopefully the questionable officiating lights a fire under them, as they’ll get a chance to make up for all of this in less than 24 hours, right back in action in Vancouver tonight.

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Canadiens @ Canucks Top Six Minutes: Toffoli’s hat trick earns a point – Habs Eyes on the Prize

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For our new readers and members, the Top Six Minutes is a continuation of the discussion in the game thread. We try to keep it light and entertaining. Full recaps are up the morning after every game.

First Period

  • I would love if the Habs won convincingly tonight, but I really fear that that won’t be the case.
  • Are they really trying to call Weber and Chiarot the twin towers? Maybe don’t?
  • Already on the penalty kill? Really? You couldn’t wait a minute?
  • Elias Pettersson is now guaranteed to score.
  • I’d be ok with a Suzuki short-handed goal. Make it happen, please.
  • That was an extremely high high-stick. But also maybe don’t let them do that again.
  • ….hold on… VAN was on the power play, but the only shots in the game belong to the Habs? Yes please.
  • That was a fun shift from the Gallagher crew.
  • Why do the hockey gods hate Artturi Lehkonen and Tyler Toffoli.
  • Please don’t do this again.
  • Apparently the Habs have decided that the NHL season is too easy so far, so they’ve decided to make it harder for themselves BY TAKING ENTIRELY TOO MANY PENALTIES.
  • And that’s why you really shouldn’t have taken a penalty.
  • Lol, whoops, skate malfunction.
  • Pretty sure Price didn’t even blink making that save.
  • Please go stay in the offensive zone for a while, Montreal.
  • One of these days Toffoli will actually hit the net, and it will be glorious.
  • Exactly no one is surprised that the probably-for-the-best crackdown on cross-checks in front of the net doesn’t apply to crosschecks on Brendan Gallagher.
  • Too many odd-man rushes against. Way too many odd-man rushes against.
  • *sigh*
  • Dang, Carey looks really good tonight.

Second Period

  • THERE IT IS. TOFFOLI WITH THE GOAL.
  • Not to be that person, but SHOOOOOOOOT.
  • Oh Jeff…
  • Wait….is that…a power play!?? Oh my goodness, it is!
  • Oh look. There are all the Toffoli goals! (Also, that Suzuki pass!!)
  • Also… THE HABS CAN ACTUAL SCORE ON THE POWER PLAY!
  • Oh geeze. Please go play on the other side of the rink.
  • The things that are and aren’t penalties in this game are perplexing.
  • siiiiiiigh
  • Oh Paul.
  • Montreal, please tidy things up. This is not gonna cut it.
  • Another post.
  • Shouldn’t that have been a Montreal penalty?
  • WAIT, NOT *THAT* THOUGH. WTF.
  • GALLY GOALS ARE THE BEST GOALS.
  • It is known.

Third Period

  • The plays Nick Suzuki sets up are just delightful. Eventually his teammates will start getting used to it, and he’s going to rack up a tremendous amount of assists.
  • Meanwhile, Habs, please go play in the offensive zone.
  • AGAIN? sigh
  • Habs. Habs stop this. At once.
  • You know that thing I said earlier about crosschecks and Gallagher? It’s relevant again.
  • Apparently pulling someone down by the face isn’t a penalty.
  • JESPERIIIIIIII.
  • That little kick to the stick, fake and shoot was just *chef’s kiss*.
  • You know that thing where usually eventually the calls start swinging back the other way? How about some of that.
  • Joel Armia is pretty good. Just saying.
  • The Habs definitely look like they have more in the tank than Vancouver right now. That whole rolling four good lines thing is already paying off.
  • How was that icing. Seriously.
  • TOFFOLI TIMEEEEEEE.
  • BRING ON THE (virtual) HATS!!!
  • MONTREAL WHAT ARE YOU DOING.
  • I just want to sleep.
  • Gallagher was SO close. I’m going to cry.

OT

  • Well, time for aaaaaall the heart attacks.
  • Suzuki in OT is pretty fun.
  • However, just because it’s fun doesn’t mean I want to keep having this happen.
  • Romanov is also very fun in OT.
  • THAT WAS LESS FUN.
  • Please not the shootout.
  • I hate shootouts.

Shootout

  • I hate shootouts BUT NICK SUZUKI DOESN’T.
  • They really are just gonna drag this shoot out as long as possible aren’t they.
  • I still hate this.
  • Habs lose 6-5 in the shootout.

EOTP 3 Stars

3. Gotta love a good rhyme

2. Those were the days

1. He certainly does!

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Hazel Mae, Ken Rosenthal, Jon Heyman, and more reported Michael Brantley to Toronto – Awful Announcing

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Baseball transactions have often seen some unexpected people breaking news, whether that’s wetbutt23 and KatyPerrysBootyHole or Brendon Kuhn and Joey Vendetta. But Wednesday provided a remarkable reversal there, with TV host Hazel Mae and multiple U.S. baseball insiders (including Ken Rosenthal of Fox and The Athletic and Jon Heyman of MLB Network) reporting that outfielder Michael Brantley was headed to the Toronto Blue Jays before the eventual confirmation that he was instead returning to the Houston Astros (where he played last year, as shown above). Here are those initial reports:

And here are some of the later corrections and rebuttals from those who didn’t initially report that:

As noted Tuesday, baseball is a sport where local sources can sometimes break national news before the national insiders get it. But in this case, the initial reports appear to have been premature. And that led to some awkward tweets Wednesday for those who reported that the Brantley deal was done in Toronto before the actual news of that deal being done in Houston emerged.

[Photo from Robert Hanashiro/USA Today Sports]

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