There was a lot riding on last night’s game for Rick Tocchet.
It was Tocchet’s first game as Vancouver Canucks coach and his vision of turning around the team around in the wake of Bruce Boudreau’s departure.
After a grind in the First and Second Periods, Canucks would skate out of the home rink with a 5 – 2 win against the Chicago Blackhawks in the Third.
Tocchet promised a new approach and the line up for the Blackhawks game offered some interesting insight at what he’s aiming for.
The new coach started strong on the top lines.
Bo Horvat went center along with Boeser on right and Studnicka on Left for the First Top Line.
J.T. Miller was shifted to the middle with Conor Garland on his right for the Second Top Line.
Elias Pettersson was slotted in with Andrei Kuzmenko for the Third Top Line.
How did it go down?
While the Canucks crowds of Boudreau faithfuls booed and jeered Tocchet in the opening, the Canucks and Blackhawks would get down to business with some penalties in the First.
Three minutes into the game, one Canucks supporter even threw their Canucks jersey on the ice to add to the drama.
The Blackhawks Patrick Kane was the first to find blood, scoring the first just three minutes before the buzzer.
The Forward took the shot from just inside the Canucks’ half. He blasted past the Canucks’ defence and put the biscuit in the top left of the basket, beating Delia.
The Canucks got their first taste of the Blackhawks goal when Kuzmenko would capitalise on a rebound.
Pettersson would charge towards to the Blackhawks goal with Mikheyev would be waiting ahead of him to receive the feed. He would pass and Mikheyev would take the shot but it would bounce of Delia’s pads.
Thankfully Kuzmenko was skating alongside Pettersson and was able to finish the deflection with a shot past Mrazek.
Lafferty would help the Blackhawks retain the lead with a charge on the Canucks’ goal. A series of long passes from Jones and McCabe would finally connect with Lafferty’s stick and then past Delia.
Five minutes before the end of the Second Period, Kuzmenko would even up the game with a tap in at goal. After a failed shot on Mrazek, Schenn collected the puck and passed to Pettersson who fired once more.
Good thing Kuzmenko was next to Mzarek, to tap it in and make it 2 – 2.
The Third and Final Period was when things really kicked into gear for Canucks.
Joshua would find the net after the 11th minute. The Defencemen Quinn Hughes would send the pick up the ice to Boeser, who would take aim at Mzarek but find it denied.
Joshua would exploit the situation and chip it over the goalie to make it 3 – 2.
Within 34 seconds of the third Canucks goal, Dries would send the 4th goal flying through the Blackhawks goalies’ legs following a deflection of Conor Garland’s shot.
The 5th and final would also be Bo Horvat’s 31st goal of the season. He blasted the shot at the empty net just two minutes before the buzzer.
The final score Canucks 5 – Blackhawks 2.
There’s no time to rest for the honeymoon of Tocchet’s first victory in charge. The Vancouver Canucks face Seattle Kraken for the third time this season. Canucks beat the Kraken twice so far.
Chicago Blackhawks will head to the Calgary Flames on Thursday.