Canucks halt three game losing streak

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This is the first Sunday in six weeks that I did not have to change my The Week Ahead column from Friday’s original due date. The last six weeks have had plenty of postponements on the weekend for the following week so it was quite nice not to have to report any new postponements.

I guess the NHL is going to start announcing a new schedule shortly to take care of the more than 100 postponements which have not yet been rescheduled. There is a two-week break in which a lot of games will be played that originally was going to be used as a break due to the Olympics but with the NHL not going this year, plenty of games will be played from Feb. 7-25.

There were a couple of interesting notes today, the most intriguing one was Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley, stating that Jack Eichel could return to action in a few weeks. That would put him in line with the three-five month timetable given when he underwent replacement disk surgery on Nov. 12. The return of Eichel to full health has to give the Golden Knights confidence that they can be in contention to drink from Lord Stanley’s Cup in June. Eichel is the top center the Golden Knights have always lacked and now they will have one.

The Sabres will get Peyton Krebs back on Monday after being cleared from COVID protocol (I feel that I write COVID protocol 100 times a week now). Krebs was the big piece coming from the Golden Knights in the Eichel deal and he will have a chance to shine the rest of the season with no pressure on the Sabres to do anything as they are not close to a playoff spot.

There was only one game in the NHL Sunday and it was a matinee.


Elias Pettersson scored twice to lead the Vancouver Canucks to a 4-2 win over the Washington Capitals. Pettersson scored both goals early in the second period to snap a seven-game goalless drought and that gives him eight goals in 38 games this season. Pettersson has been on a downward trajectory in his goals and points since entering the league in 2018-19 as he had 28, 27 and 10 goals in his three previous years, in 71 68 and 26 games with 66 points in his first two years and 21 last season. The two points Sunday give him only 19 this season. He was looking like a star his first two seasons but that has not happened in 2021-22.

Alex Ovechkin opened the scoring on the power play with his 26th of the season and 54th point to tie him with Leon Draisaitl for the Art Ross Trophy race. Ovechkin has a four-game points streak and at the age of 36, is having one of the best seasons in his illustrious NHL career. It was the only goal of the opening frame.

After Pettersson gave Vancouver a 2-1 lead, Bo Horvat increased the lead to two with a shot from inside the faceoff circle that beat Ilya Samsonov cleanly. It was a power play effort as the Canucks scored twice in four chances with the man-advantage.

Tom Wilson scored on the power play in the third as the Capitals were a perfect 2-2 on the man-advantage. It was Wilson’s 11th of the season as his one-timer from the slot beat Thatcher Demko.

The Capitals tried to equalize the game but J.T. Miller scored into the empty net with 58 seconds to put the finishing touches on the Vancouver win.

Demko stopped 31 shots for the win as Washington had 11 shots in each of the three periods. Demko snapped a three-game losing streak and is 16-14-1 with a 2.67 GAA and a .915 save percentage.

Samsonov turned aside 28 shots in taking the loss. Samsonov is 0-2-1 in his last three, giving up 11 goals on only 84 shots. Overall, Samsonov is 13-4-3 with a 2.77 GAA and a .903 save percentage.

Evgeny Kuznetsov and Quinn Hughes each had two assists.

Both John Carlson of the Capitals and Conor Garland of the Canucks entered COVID protocol before the game.

Miller and Horvat also had assists, giving them each two-point games.

Ovechkin had seven shots on goal while Wilson led both teams with six hits.

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Elias Pettersson – 2

Alex Ovechkin - 1

Bo Horvat - 1

Tom Wilson – 1

J.T. Miller - 1


Quinn Hughes – 2

Evgeny Kuznetsov - 2

Justin Schultz – 1

J.T. Miller - 1

Brock Boeser – 1

Nils Hoglander – 1

Tanner Pearson – 1

Oliver Ekman-Larsson – 1

Nicklas Backstrom - 1

Shots on Goal

Alex Ovechkin - 7

J.T. Miller – 4

Tyler Myers - 4

Elias Pettersson - 4


Tom Wilson – 6

Garnet Hathaway - 5

Penalty Minutes

Garnet Hathaway – 4

Kyle Burroughs – 4

Matt Irwin - 4