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Elias Pettersson scores twice on 21st birthday as Canucks beat Preds 5-3

November 13, 2019, 2:07 PM ET [158 Comments]
Carol Schram
Vancouver Canucks Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Tuesday November 12 - Vancouver Canucks 5 - Nashville Predators 3

The Vancouver Canucks bumped their slump with an explosive third period as birthday boy Elias Pettersson scored his seventh and eighth goals of the season to lead his team to a 5-3 win over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night at Rogers Arena.

Here are your highlights:

For the first 40 minutes, it looked like we were in for another low-event grind. The Canucks got out to an early 4-1 edge on the shot clock in the game's first few minutes, but things slowed down after that. Shots were 8-8 at the end of the first, but Vancouver went to the dressing room with 1:57 of power play time in the bank after they delayed a penalty call on local boy Dante Fabbro almost until the end of the period.

Fabrro's crew made quite an impression in the stands.

But he got owned by Elias Pettersson on the holding-the-stick call behind the net that led to Vancouver's first power-play opportunity of the game β€” and Tanner Pearson's first goal in 15 games, which opened the scoring 1:25 into the second period.

It was a rare tally for Vancouver's second unit, but the deployment of Pearson-Leivo-Baertschi-Gaudette-Edler was also a little different from what we normally see, since Brandon Sutter took himself out of the game on his second shift in the first period with what's being called a lower-body injury.

Those who saw it said that he pulled up abruptly mid-shift, leading to thoughts that maybe he'd done something to his groin again.

Ben Kuzma of The Province was told the injury shouldn't be a big deal when he ran into Sutter in the Rogers Arena hallway after the game.

β€œIt’s something minor β€” we should know more in a coupe of days,” said Sutter.

When asked if he feared another hernia scare he added: β€˜No, no. I’ve had both sides done. It’s not that.”

After taking the morning skate on Tuesday, Jay Beagle also missed the game with an undisclosed injury that Travis Green is describing as 'day to day.'

So even though the alarm bells aren't sounding just yet, it's interesting that while the Canucks take Wednesday off, two call-ups from Utica have been made.

My guess is that means both Sutter and Beagle will be out for a bit. Graovac is a big centre who played well during preseason, but has just returned to AHL action himself after missing eight games with an injury of his own. He'll likely take Beagle's spot on the fourth line, while MacEwen will fill in on the wing as Adam Gaudette moves back to his natural spot at centre.

Gaudette played 12:15 on Tuesday β€” not far off his season average of season average of 11:36. Initially slotting into Beagle's spot, he took 14 draws and had his first multi-point night of this season. Gaudette earned the primary assist on Pearson's second-period goal, then picked up his second tally of the year when he finished off another second-unit power-play goal to give the Canucks a lead they wouldn't relinquish with 9:01 left to play in the third.

Since he got back in the lineup on November 1 after his brief trip to Utica, Gaudette has appeared in six of seven games. And even though he has been used primarily in a bottom-six role, he now has five points in those six games. He continues to make his case that he deserves a place in the lineup of the big club β€”Β and if Sutter's out for any significant period of time, I suspect that case will only get stronger.

Missing both Beagle and Sutter, Travis Green shuffled his lines even more than anticipated throughout the game. Elias Pettersson's ice time stayed pretty consistent at about seven minutes per period but Bo Horvat's workload got heavier and heavier as the night went on. He played 6:37 in the first, 8:41 in the second and a whopping 11:48 in the third, for a record-setting 27:06 on the night.

Elliotte Friedman pointed out in this week's 31 Thoughts that Horvat's the first forward this season to go over the 27-minute mark in a non-overtime game. Connor's 27:27 against Washington on October 24 included 1:18 of overtime in the Oilers' eventual 4-3 win β€” and McDavid played that entire 1:18 of 3-on-3 before assisting on Leon Draisaitl's eventual game winner.

That's also a career high for Bo, and the first time he's gone over 26 minutes. Last season, he exceeded 25 minutes three times β€” twice against Colorado and also against Dallas on March 30 of this year.

And whaddaya know? The Canucks will finish out this homestand with games against Dallas and Colorado. Will history repeat itself?

Also worth noting on a high-event night β€”Β Thatcher Demko's exemplary play while Jacob Markstrom takes a little time off to grieve the passing of his father.

The Preds came hard in the second period, outshooting Vancouver 19-7, but the Canucks withstood that pressure because Demko allowed just one goal, making several excellent stops along the way.

Demko wore a Hockey Fights Cancer ball cap when he spoke to reporters after the game, in part to honour Markstrom.

β€œIt’s for a lot of people,” Demko told Iain MacIntyre of Sportsnet about the hat. β€œBut it hits home a little bit harder with the team and what Marky is going through right now. The team played really hard for him on Sunday. That was an important game for our locker room and we were all disappointed a little more than normal not getting a win.

β€œTonight, we wanted to prove to him we’d play hard again for him. He might not have been playing, but guys were thinking about him and playing for him.

β€œI think everyone in here is rooting for him. He’s a guy the team rallies around and respects a lot. He’s been there for me when I’ve been down. Obviously, I’ve never been through something like he’s going through right now. I’m just there for him if he needs me.”

Markstrom's loss added another layer of emotion to a night when Pettersson shared that he has 12 family members in town, including his parents, to help celebrate his birthday.

All told, it was a memorable night at Rogers Arena β€” made a little sweeter by the two points that the team collected to get back into the win column.
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