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Playoff-bound Canucks win against lowly Ducks

April 1, 2024, 9:46 AM ET [389 Comments]
York Newbury
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The Canucks had their playoff ticket punched after Saturday, but they punched it harder and with a little more positivity with a 3-2 win over the Ducks on Sunday night. Was it a great game? No. Was it a good game? Also probably no, seeing where the teams are in the standings. But, they won, they picked their moments, and they ended their home stand with a 5-3-1 record. If you missed the game, here are your highlights:

The Canucks are going back to the actual playoffs for the first time since 2015. And for just the 10th time in their history they’ve broken the 100 point plateau. It’s been a long journey to get here, with some dark moments the past few years, but the boys should be happy of achieving a large goal they set out for themselves at the beginning of the year.

“I’m proud of the guys,” Tocchet said after the game. “That was a goal for us from start of the year. It was a group organization effort and everybody deserves praise.

“The communication I’ve had with Patrik is one of the best I’ve had as a coach. Incredible guy to work with and he’s had some constraints with the salary cap.

“We’ve just got to one plateau on that mountain, but now it’s the next step and how do you get there (playoff success)? The buy-in has to intensify with the will and the passion. Everything has to intensify.”

What a stark turnaround it has been in one season. A lot of people were dismissive of bringing Tocchet in, and were dismissive of them bringing him in so early last year. They had their new coach bump, but then the pessimism set in over the summer from the pundits. How the team has responded internally is fantastic.

“Whatever people were saying, it was good that the players didn't hear the outside noise and they believed in themselves (to) get 100 points,” Tocc continued. “But we've got a long way to go and we know we have to play better. We can't sit on, ‘Hey, we're a playoff team and we're a 100-point team.'

“You can enjoy it for a moment, but we've really got to work on our game. I congratulated the players today; I thought they did a hell of a job this year to get us to this situation. But now, it's go time. Now we need some guys to find their game. Our team's got to find our game. So that's the next thing.”

And that next thing is desperately needed. The Canucks looked OK at times, bad at times, asleep at times, and great at times last night. However, against a bottom-dwelling team like Anaheim at this stage in the season, that shouldn’t be the case. The Canucks had a good record on this home stand, but the numbers don’t tell the whole story. The Canucks only had one win yet four losses against playoff-bound teams. It’s a concern.

“We need to focus on the next game more importantly right now and not look ahead because, if we play like we did tonight we’re going to lose most games,” JT Miller said. “So we need to make sure that we’re focused on the present, not worried about (playoffs.)”

Perhaps a few people in the room are looking too far ahead?

Back to the game: it was a statement game for Joshua. He was amazing, potting two goals, racking up more of his team-leading hit count, and working his way onto highlight reels with that power play marker. I thought the Tocchet’s lineup changes were really solid last night: Miller with Garland and Joshua played heavy and great, and Petey with Hoglander and Boeser showed some sustained creative chances. Garland was a fan of being put back with Joshua.

“It's pairs, right?” Garland said. “That's kind of how Toc's always been. When we were in Arizona, I was paired with (Nick) Schmaltz for most of my time there and we had really great chemistry. But my first couple of years here, we just blended lines all the time, so it was hard to find chemistry. I would say a lot of guys would say that. It was hard to find anyone to really get a run with. But Toc has always been about pairs and I've been paired with Dak basically the whole year. So that's how you find chemistry.”

And how did he feel about moving up the line to play with Miller?

“Teddy's a terrific player. Very valuable. But Millsy is a top-five player in the world, I think. Not many guys do what he does. He makes plays and tries plays and he can score from anywhere. Since I've been here, I’ve probably liked playing with him the most. It was nice to play with him again.”

Miller top five?

“He’ll be mad I didn’t say top-three,” Garland joked.

The Canucks will take the two points, keep the lead in the Pacific, and try to hone their game away from Vancouver. After a long home stand, the boys are ready to get back on the road.

“Home for three weeks and my kids are at home with a two-week break from school,” said Miller. “I’m ready.”

They fly down to face Vegas in a big showdown match on Tuesday.

Until then, try not to kill each other in the comments:

(Quotes from MacIntyre, Kuzma, and ESPN)
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