Bo Horvat carries the Vancouver Canucks to Game 2 win over Blues

Bo Horvat #53 of the Vancouver Canucks (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)
Bo Horvat #53 of the Vancouver Canucks (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images) /

Bo Horvat continued his postseason magic, helping the Vancouver Canucks take a 2-0 series lead over the St. Louis Blues.

The St. Louis Blues do not have an answer for Bo Horvat, as the Vancouver Canucks captain scored 5:55 into overtime to end a thrilling Game 2 by a final score of 4-3. This victory lifts the Canucks to a pivotal 2-0 lead in this best-of-seven Stanley Cup Playoffs series over the defending Stanley Cup champion Blues.

With his second goal of the game and fourth goal of this series, Horvat took a defensive zone outlet pass from defenseman Quinn Hughes at the red line along the boards and was off to the races. Horvat blew past Blues defensemen Alex Pietrangelo and Carl Gunnarsson to the front of the net and slide a wrist shot five-hole to beat Jordan Binnington for the game-winner.

Horvat opened the scoring with a shorthanded goal 7:23 into the first period. He capitalized on a broken play in the defensive zone, then turned on the jets. Horvat skated end to end, blowing past Blues forwards Brayden Schenn and Jaden Schwartz to beat Binnington stick side to open the scoring of the game.

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In a game the Blues dominated from a puck possession standpoint, the Canucks cashed in on their few opportunities. Vancouver scored two more power play goals from forwards Tanner Pearson and Elias Petterson along with the shorthanded goal in this game.

The power play unit of Bo Horvat, J.T. Miller, Elias Petterson, Brock Boeser, and Quinn Hughes are unstoppable in these playoffs for the Canucks. Vancouver leads the NHL in power play goals and the Canucks are now 5 for 9 in this series, while the Blues are 1 for 9.

For the second game in a row, the Canucks never trailed in this contest. Trailing 3-2 with only 6.4 seconds to go in Game 2, Jaden Schwartz was credited with the tying goal to send the game into overtime. David Perron, the Blues best player in this series, initially deflected an Alex Pietrangelo shot from the point in the slot that went off of Schwartz’s knee and past Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom to tie the game at 3.

The Blues controlled everything but the scoreboard in this game for long stretches, holding a 37-25 shots on goal advantage, heavy pressure and puck possession in the Canucks zone and holding the Canucks shotless for the first 11 minutes of the second period.

Jacob Markstrom had another strong game, stopping 34 of 37 shots. Markstrom did not allow many rebounds as the Canucks forced the Blues to shoot along the outside of the zone, taking away the slot for most of the contest. Markstrom’s greatest save came early in overtime on a frantic sequence in front of him where he lost his stick and made a blocker save on a David Perron backhander, hitting the hand side of the blocker.

Blues forwards Ryan O’Reilly scored on the power play and Sammy Blais also scored for the Blues, who are now 0-5 in August. St. Louis will look for their first win and climb back in this series Sunday night at 10:30 PM EST/7:30 PM PST.

Game notes

Canucks Defenseman Tyler Myers was hit into the boards by Blues forward Brayden Schenn early in the third period. Myers was shaken up but left the ice on his own power. Myers would not return and no penalty was called on the play.

Vancouver dressed 10 players with their first playoff experience this year while St. Louis has 20 of 23 players returning from last year’s Stanley Cup-winning team.

The Canucks are the top faceoff % team in the NHL in August. J.T. Miller scored on a breakaway coming out of the penalty box in the second period that would have made the score 2-0, but it was reviewed and reversed due to offsides.

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With an assist on the game-winning goal, Canucks Quinn Hughes extends his points streak to five games. A lot of the penalties called in this game were borderline at best, especially the call on Blues forward Alexander Steen that lead to Petterson’s PP goal in the second.