The Vancouver Canucks certainly have gotten a boost with the arrival of coach Bruce Boudreau.
The Canucks won their third straight with their new bench boss, defeating the Winnipeg Jets 4-3 in a shootout Friday night.
They’ll look to extend the streak when they play host to the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday night. The Hurricanes defeated host Edmonton 3-1 on Saturday night to win their fourth in a row and improve to 3-0-0 on their five-game trip to Western Canada and Minnesota.
Since Boudreau was tabbed to replace the fired Travis Green on Monday following an 8-15-2 start, the Canucks defeated Los Angeles 4-0 in Boudreau’s debut, then got past Boston and Winnipeg in shootouts to move past expansion Seattle and out of the Pacific Division’s cellar.
“It’s big to get momentum when a new coach comes in,” said Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko, who made 34 saves in Friday’s win. “I’ve never been through it, but I can imagine it would be tough if a new coach came in and you lost the first handful of games. So just to get these three wins is big.
“We’ve still got a lot of work to do, we all know that. We’ve got a lot of ground to make up.”
Nils Hoglander scored two goals against the Jets, ending an 11-game goal drought.
“It’s fun to see it go in,” Hoglander said. “I don’t think we played the best game, a lot of turnovers and back and forth, but we get a win.”
The Canucks did it without defensemen Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who is considered day-to-day with an undisclosed injury, and Travis Hamonic, likely out two to three weeks with a lower-body injury.
“I thought it was a really gutsy effort by the defensemen,” Boudreau said. “Some of these guys are playing more minutes than they’ve ever played before, and you’re playing a team like Winnipeg with speed after speed and they competed their rear ends off.”
Boudreau also credited Demko.
“The only pucks that go in on him are ones where they’re impossible to get,” Boudreau said. “He must have stopped five breakaways. When you get that kind of goaltending, you’re in most every game.”
The same can be said for Carolina’s Frederik Andersen, who signed with the Hurricanes as a free agent this past summer after five seasons in Toronto. Andersen, who is 14-5-0 for the ‘Canes, made 22 stops against Edmonton’s high-powered offense.
“Every night he gives us a chance to win and that’s all you can ask from a goalie,” forward Sebastian Aho said. “It was the same story (Saturday). He made huge saves here and there, and it’s great to have him back there.”
Aho provided the offense with two goals and an assist, giving him 12 points over his past five games.
“He is a special player,” Carolina defenseman Jaccob Slavin said of Aho. “We’ve had him for a long time now and we know what he’s capable of and it’s good that everyone else is starting to realize that.”
Nino Niederreiter also scored for the Hurricanes, who are 12-3-1 on the road.
–Field Level Media