Now that’s a debut! Elias Lindholm hit the scoresheet twice in the Canucks’ 3-2 win over the Hurricanes Tuesday night. After a long 10 day break off, the boys picked up where they left off on the winning side of the ledger. It was a great, pretty seamless effort all around on the first game of their tough road trip. Here are your highlights:
New team, new teammates, new systems, no problem for Lindholm. Two tips and two power play goals were exactly what the Canucks envisioned when they acquired him, and the trade paid off right away. The Canucks’ power play has been faltering down the stretch here, so having Lindholm take over the right-handed net front presence spot was huge. Tocchet – who runs the power play – was clearly very happy with it:
“If you look at it, that’s high-end hand-eye coordination. First of all, he’s in front of the goalie.
“Secondly, Quinn made a couple of nice plays, getting it through. Those are goals you have to get on the power play in tight games. The tic-tac-toes, they don’t happen very often late in the season, so I might be the happiest guy. Those net-front goals are my favourite.”
Having just 9 through 49 games for Calgary, I’m sure potting two in his debut was a huge relief for Lindholm. Though, like every quintessential Swede, he downplayed the goals. “I haven’t had too many tip goals this year, so that was just a lucky touch, honestly. Hopefully, I can have some more luck with those.”
Hughes, however, would go on to disagree with that take: “He’s a very skilled and talented player. I mean, he had 42 goals a few years ago. That doesn’t just happen. He made a great tip, and that main thing was that he was patient enough to just wait there and wait for the puck to come.”
It wasn’t just the PP that Lindholm raised. He led all Canucks forwards in ice time, clocking in at 21:06. He killed penalties too, which is a tougher task coming into a completely different system with players you’ve never read off before. But, it all fit together, and the boys left Raleigh with two hard earned points.
After such a long break, with so many players coming back from the All Star game, it could have been a set up for a let down game. But the way Tocchet has instilled his systems into the team, that was not the case – especially when they allowed Carolina just 7 shots through the first 33 minutes.
“Today was a habits game,” Miller said post-game. “It's easy to come into these games and not have your best; that was a lot of time off. But that was a helluva hockey game. It was a playoff-style game. It says a lot about our preparation; I think it's really good we had those practices the last two days.”
All credit to the coaching staff, for everything leading up to this point but also getting the boys ready again for the start of this stretch drive. Myers chimed in on that, saying, “Whatever it was -- 10 days between games? -- it might be easy to forget the level you have to get to to have success. But I thought we did a great job of getting our legs moving right away. We had a couple of good practices coming into this game here in Carolina. The guys were moving their feet. It was a good hockey game.”
That it was, another W in the books: the Canucks are 10-0-2 since January 4th. Not shabby.