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Canucks Game Day: Horvat hopes to sting the Blues for second straight game

Vancouver captain Bo Horvat, right, scored twice and played a strong game as the Canucks beat the St. Louis Blues 5-2 on Wednesday in Game 1 of their opening-round playoff series in Edmonton.
Vancouver captain Bo Horvat, right, scored twice and played a strong game as the Canucks beat the St. Louis Blues 5-2 on Wednesday in Game 1 of their opening-round playoff series in Edmonton.


Today | Game 2

St. Louis Blues vs. Vancouver Canucks

3:30 p.m., Rogers Place (Edmonton), TV: Sportsnet; Radio: Sportsnet 650 AM


Jordan Binnington vs. Bo Horvat

The Canucks’ captain ignited his team Wednesday night, scoring twice against Binnington, who was not good in a 5-2 loss. Horvat’s game has greatly improved during the past two weeks, which is perfect timing for Vancouver’s leader. “He’s a really good leader, you’ve seen it this whole playoffs,” Brock Boeser said. “We’re following him. To see him play like this, it’s unbelievable.” The Blues simply need much more from their young goalie, or they’ll be swapping him out for the capable Jake Allen.


1. Markstrom magic

The Canucks’ No. 1 netminder returned to fine form in Game 1 against the Blues. He was poor by his own admission against the Wild in the qualifying series-clincher last Friday. On Wednesday he was seeing and tracking the puck much better. Some of that may have been the defensive work in front of him, but there’s no denying he was making mistakes against the Wild that suggested he might have been tired. The Canucks need him at his best if they’re to win this series.

2. Power-play pop

The Canucks have scored on 28 per cent of their power-play opportunities through five post-season games. No team has scored more goals in the playoffs with the man advantage than Vancouver. “We took six minors and that’s way too many,” Blues head coach Craig Berube said. “I talk a lot about confidence with you guys and I think our group is really confident right now,” Canuck forward Brock Boeser said Wednesday. “W e feel we can score every single time.” A healthy power play is the second big key to the Canucks’ success.

3. Fighting spirit

Troy Stecher’s goal sank the Blues emotionally, Berube admitted Wednesday. The Canucks’ fighting spirit overwhelmed the defending Stanley Cup champions. “We can’t let one goal affect us the way it did,” Berube said. “We’ve done a good job of creating energy on the ice and on the bench,” Boeser said.

4. Blues no stranger to opening losses

The Blues lost Game 1 of last year’s Stanley Cup Final and the Western Conference Final. They’ve been in tougher spots than their current deficit before.

5. Miller time

J.T. Miller was a game-time decision Wednesday. Was he ill? Is he injured? We don’t know. All coach Travis Green would say is that Miller was unable to take part in the warm-up. The Lotto line did not play well in Game 1 and Miller’s borderline status no doubt was a factor. Boeser said Wednesday he never had any doubt that Miller would play. Green said he has no worries that a similar episode might afflict Miller today as well. We’ll see.



J.T. Miller — Elias Pettersson — Brock Boeser

Tanner Pearson — Bo Horvat — Loui Eriksson

Antoine Roussel — Brandon Sutter — Jake Virtanen

Tyler Motte — Jay Beagle — Zack MacEwen

Defence pairings

Alex Edler — Tyler Myers

Quinn Hughes — Chris Tanev

Oscar Fantenberg — Troy Stecher

Goalies : Jacob Markstrom, Thatcher Demko



Vladimir Tarasenko — Brayden Schenn — Jaden Schwartz

Zach Sanford — Ryan O’Reilly — David Perron

Oskar Sundqvist — Robert Thomas — Tyler Bozak

Mackenzie MacEachern — Jacob LaRose — Troy Brouwer

Defence pairings

Carl Gunnarsson — Alex Pietrangelo

Marco Scandella — Colton Parayko

Vince Dunn — Justin Faulk

Goalies : Jordan Binnington, Jake Allen


Canucks: Josh Leivo (fractured knee cap), Micheal Ferland (concussion symptoms), Tyler Toffoli (foot).

Blues: Jay Bouwmeester (heart), Sammy Blais (leg).


Power play

Canucks: 28% (4th)

Blues: 13.3% (16th)

Penalty kill

Canucks: 84 % (10th)

Blues : 72.7% (21st)

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