The Go-To Guy: Hittin’ Hughes, the Pettersson revenge tour, and the deserve to win o’meter

You know those games where you look at the score line and you just know that it wasn’t nearly as close as the score may have indicated? At first glance, you may look at a 3-2 score and think: “Huh, the Sabres held up quite well against one of the league’s top teams!” when that couldn’t be further from the truth.

The Vancouver Canucks absolutely destroyed their 1970 expansion brothers.

It’s bittersweet, really: I want Buffalo to make the playoffs more than any other team currently hunting down the second wildcard spot in the east, but the Canucks need points real bad right now. I mean, do you not want to see this team finish atop of the western conference?

I don’t care if that means they face Vegas in the first round. Bring it.

There’s a lot to unpack from the expansion brothers in arms’ battle, which the Canucks won, of course. Let’s not waste any more time and discuss what was one of the most dominant Canucks performances of the last few weeks.

A worthwhile promotion + A strong night for Elias Lindholm

The Canucks know what’s up for grabs and they took no exception to a Buffalo squad desperate for points. Like, seriously, that first period was Globetrotter-esque. Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes were clearly feeling it all game, and same goes for J.T. Miller.

But it was a player who was given a promotion that got the ball rolling.

Conor Garland barely squeaks one past Devon Levi and the Canucks take an early 1-0 lead just under five minutes into the game!

Oh no, wait, Don Granato challenged the play for goaltender interference. Why he chose to do so will forever be a mystery as that puck was clearly in before Garland shoved Levi’s pad into the net. So yes, the Canucks do, in fact, take a 1-0 lead.

This is the “college phase” for the coaching staff; they’re trying a whack of different line combinations to see what works as the playoffs draw near. I’m not sure as to why Tocchet hasn’t used Elias Lindholm with Elias Pettersson and Nils Höglander, but I can’t complain about what I saw from any line last night.

Höglander-Pettersson-Garland was easily the best line at 5v5 for Vancouver last night, but I also want to shout out Elias Lindholm; his performance last night was maybe his most complete as a Canuck. He was getting into the soft areas, was disruptive in all three zones; it was basically the Elias Lindholm that we were sold on when he arrived here, just minus the goalscoring.

But hey, if he puts up more performances like this one, the goalscoring will come.

Lindholm got some help from Ilya Mikheyev and Sam Lafferty on his wings; both had strong games. Their speed and forechecking tenacity opened up a lot of opportunities for trailing teammates, which makes me curious if combining those two on the fourth line would be a viable option once Dakota Joshua comes back into the fold. Realistically, I think putting a rejuvenated Ilya Mikheyev alongside Elias Pettersson, Nils Höglander and/or Elias Lindholm is the best possible formula for a successful top six in the playoffs.


I love to just nerd out about the intricacies of the sport, but sometimes there’s a play that just brings out caveman-type reactions from me.

For example: Did you see Quinn Hughes absolutely belt Victor Olofsson in open ice?

You want to talk about a player that’s ready for playoff hockey?

Like come on, when do we ever see Quintin Jerome Hughes lay the body like that? That was beautiful!

While Miller and Pettersson were dancing like John Travolta and Uma Therman, Quinn Hughes had one thing on his mind: Annihilation. Just a textbook open-ice hit. No notes.

Just give me playoff hockey, already.

Pettersson’s revenge tour + good things happen with Miller at the left flank

Elias Pettersson takes so much flack in this market and I just don’t understand any of it. I get holding star players to a high standard, but this guy will probably be the greatest Canuck of all time when it’s all said and done; and while he hasn’t necessarily been at his best, he’s still a top 10-15 scorer in the league.

Last night was a statement game for Pettersson: 3 points and dominant underlying numbers.

Oh, and he got the 2-0 goal on the power play. Nice.

Can I just say that this team’s aura gets a +1000 whenever they rock these jerseys? The matte black helmets rock, too.

Pettersson went backhand shnizz and it was a thing of beauty, but this play happens because of J.T. Miller doing what he does best: Set up plays from the left flank on PP1.

It’s not like 90% of the fanbase was screaming about this for the last few weeks or anything…

The Canucks power play has been a hot topic of discussion in the market basically all season, and for good reason. This team’s success hasn’t relied on the power play, but oh man, when that thing is clickin’ it is an absolute force of nature and gives this team a totally new gear.

I really, really hope that the coaching staff opts to keep Miller on the left half-wall for the remainder of the season and going into the playoffs. The best version of this power play always consists of him in his spot; Hughes at the point; Pettersson on the right flank; Brock Boeser at either the net-front or bumper; and then I don’t think it really matters who the 4th forward is (ideally it’s Elias Lindholm).

The stupidest stat line I have ever seen

Shocker: The Canucks won this game.

3-2 was the final score, but the score doesn’t do the Canucks any favours. This was a seriously dominant performance?

Want proof?

Oh, I got proof, alright.

It’s basically routine for me to periodically check during every Canucks game. It’s a tool I use mainly to see if the stats back up what I’m seeing, which isn’t always the case.

I knew the Canucks dominated this game and I was really hoping that the stats would back that up…

And this is was the first thing I saw when I clicked on the game’s metrics:

In case you don’t know: The Deserve To Win O’Meter is the site’s main attraction that essentially gathers different stats, puts them in 500 simulations, and the team that wins the majority of the simulations should probably win the actual game.

This isn’t always the case. Heck, the Canucks have deserved to win a lot of games this season, but you can’t win every game!

This, without question, is the most lopsided one I have ever seen. This was before the Canucks had even scored the empty net goal late in the third (also before Buffalo brought the game back within one).

The best part about this is that it’s not even the funniest stat from the game…

I don’t care if he didn’t win this game. Take a bow, Devon Levi.

I don’t think I have ever seen a team generate that many expected goals in a single game. It’s genuinely preposterous how the Canucks were able to generate chances at that magnitude.

I don’t know what this actually means for the rest of the season, but that’s stupidly funny, regardless.

So, yeah, it was a fun night in Vancouver yet again (there seems to have been a lot of those this season). The boys are set to face the Montreal Canadiens this Thursday, and I’ll be very disappointed with anything less than an absolute battering from Vancouver (I am not a big Habs guy).

Hopefully it’s another fun night at the Rog, but that might be too much to ask considering the fireworks that were on display Tuesday night.

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