Canucks clinch home-ice in first round with huge comeback win over Vegas

The Vancouver Canucks entered this game badly needing a win. While it wasn’t easy, they secured a 4-3 win over the Vegas Golden Knights, earning a crucial two points in the process.

The Canucks now cannot finish lower than second place in the Pacific Division, guaranteeing them home-ice advantage through at least the first round.

The game had a familiar start in the worst way. The Golden Knights opened the scoring early on a power play goal that Arturs Silovs surely wishes he could have back. The Canucks then fell behind by two goals early and it felt eerily similar to Saturday’s loss against the Los Angeles Kings.

Down by two, the Canucks showed no quit and had the game tied up before the first intermission with goals from Conor Garland and Quinn Hughes. Both markers came with the man-advantage as the unit looked extremely dangerous, creating scoring chance after scoring chance.

The Canucks would fall behind again before Brock Boeser evened the game at three in the second period. With that goal, he joined an exclusive list of Canucks to score 40 goals in a season.

“It’s awesome to see after everything he’s gone through and how hard he’s worked. I’m very happy and proud of him,” said Elias Pettersson about his long time teammate.

The American winger’s 40th goal was far from the only milestone achieved in this game. It was Garland’s 400th career game and he scored goals his 100th and 101st goals.

“I worked very hard to get here so I enjoy every day of it and hopefully there’s a lot more. It’s a nice number to get to but there’s a long ways to go and just trying to play well each and every day,” he said after the game.

The 5-foot-10 winger scored the game-winner on a rebound late in the second period. Rogers Arena erupted as the Canucks took their first lead of the night. Chants of “Co-nor Gar-land” rained down from the stadium.

“That’s pretty cool for anybody,” said Garland about the chanting postgame. “They do it for Millsy which is well-deserved. I might go down as the worst player to ever have their name chanted in a stadium but it’s obviously cool. That’s the reward of playing in a Canadian market, playing in a big market like Vancouver. Like you said, the first two years were tough for our whole group, this one’s been pretty good. If the environment is anything like that in the playoffs this is going to be a cool place to play.”

J.T. Miller set a new career high by hitting the 100-point mark for the first time. He also reached 400 career assists with three in this contest.

The veteran forward also organized for the team to wear shirts featuring Garland’s face in celebration of the winger’s 400th game.

“Of course, I wish it wasn’t me on it but that’s what Millsy does so well for us,” said Garland about the value of a light-hearted moment like the t-shirts. “It’s nice to come in and everybody has a laugh in the morning. It’s a big game for us tonight and to release some stress…It’s a long year and when you’re in a bit of a stretch you can use something like that and that’s what makes Millsy, Millsy.”

For a team that hadn’t beaten a playoff-bound club since their starting goalie got injured, this was an absolutely huge victory. It also extended the team’s now-slim Pacific Division lead over the Edmonton Oilers to five points, although the Alberta team does have two games in hand.

“We talked this morning, embrace this moment, embrace the pressure and the noise and all the good things that come with it. Don’t hide from it,” said Tocchet after the game. “I just thought tonight we met it, we met pressure with pressure. It’s a good step in the right direction but listen, we’ve got a long way to go.”

While Silovs allowed a weak goal to start the game, he played much better over the final 55 minutes. The young Latvian goalie finished with 20 saves to improve to 3-0-0 on the season.

The Canucks play their next game on Wednesday against the Arizona Coyotes.