For those of you that have already forgotten, this was the Elias Pettersson game.
Having done a lot of these games in a row, it was very clear the difference that Elias Pettersson makes. Pettersson can run a line on his own, meaning you can move whoever onto the 2nd line (or 3rd line, depending on how you order them) and it won’t matter: the Pettersson line will produce and get you several scoring chances. It doesn’t matter who is on it: Lane Pederson is, at best, a replacement-level NHLer, but Pettersson turned him into a star this game.
It’s at 5v5 and on the powerplay. The presence Pettersson commands at both ends of the ice is unbelievable, and in a season where Bo Horvat is getting all the accolades for his scoring and faceoff prowess, it’s Pettersson that’s coming up big. Taking him out means everybody is playing one spot too high in the lineup. When he’s in, everything seems just right, even if the Canucks will wind up winning fewer games than they lose this season.
Not to be out-done though, Miller actually played a pretty good game as well. He’s actually played three in a row (looking ahead, not behind) decently, a bit more confident with the puck in the DZ and making fewer avoidable mistakes. I don’t think that centre is his best spot, but we’ll see what lies ahead.
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