‘If we stay with it, they will come’: Canucks sticking to game plan with series tied 1-1

Click to play video: 'Fans continue to show Canucks pride despite Game 2 loss'
Fans continue to show Canucks pride despite Game 2 loss
Despite the Game 2 loss against the Nashville Predators, neither the Canucks nor their fans are deterred in their quest for Stanley Cup glory. Fans gave their thoughts on the series after the game Tuesday night as players said they plan to stay the course – Apr 24, 2024

A few big mistakes, a lot of missed opportunities and an NHL playoff series now tied at 1-1.

Despite Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to the Nashville Predators, the Vancouver Canucks say they plan to stay the course, banking on a system and a style of play they believe can win the series.

“We had a lot of possession time,” Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet said following the loss.

“Give (Nashville) credit, they hung in there, they blocked a lot of shots, and they scored when they had to score. But I’m not changing too much.”

Click to play video: 'Canucks lose Game 2 against Nashville Predators'
Canucks lose Game 2 against Nashville Predators

Tuesday’s game got off to a rocky start when Nashville’s first shot of the game slipped past goaltender Casey DeSmith, filling in for the injured Thatcher Demko, on an awkward tip.

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Things went downhill from there with Nashville scoring two more unanswered goals before Nikita Zadorov finally got the Canucks on the board late in the second period.

While the scoreboard looked bad, the Canucks controlled possession for much of the game, including a dominant third period.

They also put up 84 shot attempts. The problem was just 18 of them actually made it on net, with Nashville absorbing a punishing 30 blocked shots, and dozens more missing the target.

That willingness to sacrifice the body was the key to the game, at least according to Nashville head coach Andrew Brunette.

“It was won in the second period,” he said.

“I thought in the third period we were committed to the pain, and I think something that maybe game one we learned from a little bit, we weren’t maybe as committed to the pain.”

Click to play video: 'Former Canucks’ owner Arthur Griffiths on what it takes for long playoff run'
Former Canucks’ owner Arthur Griffiths on what it takes for long playoff run

The Canucks, meanwhile, appear committed to their game plan.

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Captain Quinn Hughes said regardless of whether the team had won or lost, his message would have been the same: stick to the game plan.

“They are going to block shots, they’re obviously desperate at this time of year,” he said.

“But I mean a bounce here, a bounce there, we could have had a lot of goals that went in, and I think for the most part we just need to keep going to the net and some of those bounces will go through for us later on.”

Forward J.T. Miller said he felt the club gave Nashville “hardly anything” to work with, but that the Predators capitalized on the Canucks’ mistakes, something the home team was unable to do.

“I see a yellow jersey in the way,” he added when asked why the Canucks weren’t getting enough shots.

“We need to break through. We still had a couple, we still had some off the post, Petey had one, it’s not all bad,” he added. “If we stay with it they will come.”

Click to play video: 'Canucks fans still hopeful without star goalie Thatcher Demko'
Canucks fans still hopeful without star goalie Thatcher Demko

“Maybe it’s some frustration,” admitted star forward Elias Petterson, who has yet to post a point in the series.

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Petterson missed a glorious opportunity to score on a wide-open net in the first period and later contributed to a turnover that led to Nashville’s third goal.

“I just knew I had an open net, and the puck stood on high edge, but either way I’ve got to score,” he said.

“I put us in a bad spot with my mistake on their third goal. That can’t happen, … I’m always my biggest critic and I take a lot of blame for this one.”

While Tocchet generally praised the team’s play, he said he wanted to see more “decisive” play, adding his team needed to capitalize on the opportunities it’s given.

Pettersson’s drought, he said, might turn out to be good for the young star.

“He’s a young kid, this is his first kind of taste of pressure, playoff thing, and this is good for him. He’s got to learn that he’s got to dust himself off and be ready for game three,” he said.

“And he’s got to be very decisive with the puck, I want to see him shoot the puck, I mean he’s got to take it. But I think he will be fine.”

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Local artists release Vancouver Canucks’ pump-up song ahead of playoffs

Following Tusesday’s loss, Tocchet also revealed Demko’s injury was serious enough that the All-Star netminder would be out “week-to-week.”

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DeSmith said he was “bummed” for the number one, but was excited at the chance to start.

“And playoffs, it’s a different animal. It’s fun to be out there, obviously — the crowd is incredible, it’s an incredible atmosphere and the city is behind us, and I for one appreciate it and I know everyone in this locker room does, too,” he said.

DeSmith admitted Nashville’s first-shot goal was “a tough way to start,” but said the team was ready to shake the loss off as they head to Nashville.

“We are playing really good hockey, and if you keep doing that, keep putting a good product on the ice and keep doing good things you are going to get good results more often than not.”

The Canucks are now headed to Nashville and will have a few days to rest before facing the Predators on home ice at 4:30 p.m. PT on Friday.

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