Postgame: Aura, Joshua’s two-goal game, and the Canucks are officially going to the playoffs.

Today is March 31, 2024 (Happy Easter and Trans visibility day) and the Canucks are going to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Okay, well, we all knew that months ago, but it’s officially official now!

But before we get into any of that, there was a hockey game today… at 12:30 PM PST.

Typically a game against one of the league’s worst teams would have little-to-no stakes attached to it for a team like Vancouver, but the race for the top seed in the west and the Pacific Division title are separated by fractions at this point. I am still of the opinion that no matter who the Canucks play, they should win in round one: So, I’m not all that concerned about the prospect of them finishing 2nd in the division… but I’d rather them win it.

About today’s win over Anaheim:

The powerplay converted

I’ve made it a point of emphasis that the Canucks powerplay needs to get going before the playoffs begin; and while it’s a hot topic of discussion amongst Canucks faithful, I’ve been pretty consistent in saying that it’ll probably break through given the talent and occasional form we’ve seen over the last several years.

I’m not sure if the process was all that great tonight, but they just needed to get one to bump the slump. That they did; and it was none other than the team’s leading goal-scorer.

There are certain things in life that are reminders that – sometimes – life can be great. One of those indicators is whenever Brock Boeser scores a goal in the 2023-24 season. It’s been a rocky last few weeks for the soon-to-be 40-goal scorer, but Boeser got the powerplay going just over eight and a half minutes into the first frame.

J.T. Miller and Quinn Hughes moved the puck around the top of the zone after a faceoff win, Hughes fired a wrist shot into traffic, and Brock Boeser outmuscled Cam Fowler to slide the puck past young goaltender Lukas Dostal.

So, the powerplay is officially back on the board after a 1/12 stretch over four games. I mean, thank goodness; I can finally sleep at night. The powerplay would eventually pick up another goal, but I’m not sure that it’s from someone you’d immediately think of…

Dakota Joshua has AURA

The aura king Nikita Zadorov was a scratch for today’s game, leaving the Canucks without their biggest personality in a game where they played Trevor Zegras (who was awesome for Anaheim, by the way). In case you don’t remember, I mentioned in my last piece that there was another Canuck who can provide a similar type of aura that Zadorov brings.

He proved today that he can do a little bit more than that.

Dakota Joshua had – in my opinion – his best game in a Vancouver Canucks uniform. His physicality and occasional defensive acumen was on full display in this one; a total pest that made playing hockey the physical embodiment of hell on earth for the Ducks. It wasn’t in a particularly flashy way, but he was still a net positive even without the two goals.

Oh yeah, Joshua scored twice.

Scratch what I said about not being flashy because, well…

Ew, gross, yuck, *other sub-word for disgusting*.

Dakota Joshua receives a pass from Pius Suter and, I mean, you know what happens next.

This is it: THIS is the aura that I have been stressing about for over a week, now. Heck, it may even be too much. The amount of aura oozing from this goal is overwhelming… and I love it. Scratch what I said, you can never have too much aura; especially when we’re talking about a team that didn’t have a pulse for the last decade.

In case that wasn’t enough, after the Ducks scored two quick goals to tie the game at 2-2, the game remained even ’til 2:13 remaining in the 3rd period.

Take a guess as to who scored the game winner.

OOOOOHHHH YEAH, BABY. THIS IS THE AURA I’VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT.

Also, what an unbelievable pass from Conor Garland. The coaching staff struck gold putting these two on the same line.

Joshua’s presence was sorely missed over the last month or so and it’s a game like this one which serves as a perfect reminder of what he can bring to this Canucks team. This now raises the question: Should the Canucks re-sign Joshua in the off-season?

If I’m being totally honest, I don’t think there’s an easy answer.

Hold on, hold on. Before you come after me with pitchforks, hand grenades, and a replay of his between the legs goal on repeat, let me explain. Joshua’s profile is rare: A middle-six scoring winger who doubles as a great penalty killer and a physical force. These types of players do not come around often, and it’s not like he’s some Tanner Jeannot type, Joshua actually has some really intriguing skills. He has quick hands, is a decent skater, and has some playmaking chops to boot.

Here’s what gives me pause: These guys get PAID. I’m fine with paying one-of-one guys to big tickets, but we’re talking about a middle-six player, not a top line ace a-la Elias Pettersson (who miraculously took a team friendly deal). I would rather the front office look for cheaper options to round out the bottom six, but if they’re going to sign him to maybe a $3.5 x 4 – assuming that’s around his market value – then I won’t complain all that much. Again, he has aura. 

https://twitter.com/MajorMoose_/status/1774539539622871176

MajorMoose gets it.

KING SILOVS

Arturs Silovs won in his season debut, stopping 20 of 22 shots faced.

I couldn’t not mention it. I’m rooting for the guy.

It’s been a long time coming

Nine years.

It has been nine long years since Rogers Arena has hosted a playoff game, but that’s set to change in just a handful of weeks.

Quick shoutout to the San Jose Sharks for locking this in, but with a 4-0 win over the Blues on Saturday night, the Sharks helped their oceanic brothers on the west coast. For the first time since 2015, the Vancouver Canucks have (properly) clinched a playoff spot. I’m not going to lie, it didn’t really sink in until I saw the Canucks’ Twitter account confirm it with a sweet graphic.

If you’re a Canucks fan, I only ask for one thing: Enjoy the hell out of this. The buzz in the market has been palpable this season, and I’m not only referring to the actual fanbase. I’ve talked hockey with people that I would typically never talk hockey with this season, and that’s just really cool to see. There has been genuine excitement and curiosity across the Lower Mainland of BC this year surrounding the Canucks; something I didn’t think I’d say this season.

What the Canucks have managed to pull off is extraordinary and that’s full credit to every level of the organization. They’ve put the rest of the league and their fans on notice.

I’ve continuously waited for them to prove me wrong; prove to me that they’re actually not as good as the standings may indicate, and they haven’t let me down once. The PDO bender was one thing, but this team’s 5v5 play has vastly improved over the course of this season.

They’re in, they’re back, they’ve clinched: The Vancouver Canucks are going to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Now, about those ticket prices…

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