Anaheim Ducks 5 at Vancouver Canucks 8 – 2022-11-03 recap

It may be time to admit that I was wrong on how effective Andrei Kuzmenko would be offensively in the National Hockey League.

I counted three scoring chances in the first period, and figured we would be in for a bit of a snoozer. That would make sense: both the Canucks and Ducks are reeling a little bit, especially defensively. Despite winning consecutive games coming in, the Ducks have only given up 3 or fewer goals twice all season. On the Canucks end, while the team hasn’t given up a crazy high volume of scoring chances, they’ve been liable to make large mistakes in any given game, leading to disastrous results. The game against New Jersey was lost essentially on four big plays made by the opposition.

Both sets of players and coaches probably would have preferred a drama-free, low-event game. Both teams are already in danger of completely falling out of the playoff race, and both teams has designs on at least hanging around until March, if the playoff race wasn’t in the cards. Both teams needed that “make right” game, with good process and a stress-free result.

Sometimes it’s tough to tell the difference between good defence and bad offence, though. We may have had a mix of both in the early going, but the Ducks can’t be a team accused of being anything close to organized defensively this season.

At some point in the third period, Elias Pettersson decided he’d had enough and just opened things up. This team really only clicks at 5v5 if Pettersson is on. He’s the heartbeat of the Canucks right now, driving results at both ends of the ice. While Kuzmenko got the hat-trick, it was Pettersson who banked a goal in off Kuzmenko’s stick, Pettersson who found him wide open for the dagger, Pettersson who broke a sleepy game open in the second period with a delicious finish, Pettersson who led the game in both scoring chances and zone entries. He made plays everywhere.

Tracking 82 games for this team is going to feel like a chore some nights, but some nights I get Elias Pettersson.

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