Vancouver Canucks hammer Blues in Game 6, advance to second round

Tyler Motte #64 of the Vancouver Canucks (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)
Tyler Motte #64 of the Vancouver Canucks (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images) /

The Vancouver Canucks completed their upset of the St. Louis Blues with a 6-2 win in Game 6.

The Vancouver Canucks are advancing to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in nine years. Vancouver won Game 6 by a score of 6-2 over the defending Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues, winning the first-round series 4 games to 2.

For the second game in a row, the Canucks received depth scoring from unlikely sources and a three-goal second period to eliminate the reigning champions and advance to the second round for the first time since making it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2011.

The Canucks jumped on the Blues right off the opening faceoff, taking control of the game for the first 8 minutes of action to a 11-3 shots on goal advantage. Canucks forward Jay Beagle scored the game’s first goal to set the tone.

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3:45 into the game, Beagle won a puck battle along the boards in the offensive zone, gaining possession of the puck between three Blues defenders. Beagle skated towards the slot area at the top of the faceoff circle and ripped a wrist shot over the glove side of Blues starting goaltender Jordan Binnington for the 1-0 lead.

St. Louis drew their first power play opportunity on a holding penalty from Tyler Motte and would take control of the game through the rest of the first period and the opening minutes of the second period. The Blues drew another power play advantage and held the Canucks without a shot for over 11 minutes of gameplay, but St. Louis could not beat Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom.

In a series where many Canucks players shined in the spotlight, Markstrom was the most consistent player throughout the six-game series. Markstrom stopped 34 of 36 Blues shots in Game 6 and 213 of 229 for the series. He did not allow more than three Blues goals in any game in this series, a series where the Blues heavily outshot the Canucks in every game.

Vancouver capitalized on a turnover in the Blues defensive zone 2:09 into the second period. Canucks forward Antoine Roussel forced the turnover on Blues Defenseman Vince Dunn. Brandon Sutter gained possession while crossing the blue line back into the offensive zone. Sutter attempted a pass to Canucks forward Adam Gaudette that was deflected by covering Blues forward Robert Bortuzzo but kicked right out to Roussel in the slot. Roussel sent a wrister through the five-hole of Binnington for the goal to make the score 2-0 Canucks.

From that point forward, Vancouver would take full control of Game 6 and the first round series.

Game 1 hero defenseman Troy Stecher would net his second game-winning goal of the series 4:40 after Roussel’s goal. After a series of quick, crisp passes from Elias Petterson to Quinn Hughes, back to Petterson, then to Sutter before hitting Stecher at the hashmarks. Stecher ended the sequence with a wrist shot beating Binnington high blocker side for the 3-0 Canucks lead.

16 seconds after Stecher’s goal, Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist would head to the penalty box for a slash on Roussel. This gave the Canucks their first power play opportunity of the game. Brock Boeser scored his first goal of the series 1:01 into the power play after another series of precision passes all along the offensive zone.

Starting goaltender Jordan Binnington was pulled for Blues backup goaltender Jake Allen after Boeser’s goal. Binnington, who won all 16 games in the Blues Stanley Cup run last season, was the starter for Games 1 and 2 of this series before being replaced by Allen for Game 3, 4, and 5.

The Blues would make a push in the third but with Markstrom and a stifling Canucks defense that blocked 28 shots total in Game 6, the quick flurry of Canucks goals in the second period would hold up to win the game and the series.

Jaden Schwartz and Motte would trade goals to finish out the game. Schwartz scored 6:32 into the third to make the score 4-1 Canucks. With 6:41 left to go in the third, Motte would score to make the game 5-1. Schwartz would score again with 1:22 left to go in the game before Motte made the final blow with an empty-net goal with 50 seconds to go in the game.

Vancouver Canucks are the last Canadian team still playing in this year’s playoffs with their series win. The Montreal Canadiens were eliminated by the Philadelphia Flyers in 6 games in the earlier game on Friday night.

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This was the third playoff series between these 2 franchises all time and the Vancouver Canucks have won all three series. The previous two meetings were in 1995 and 2009. The Vancouver Canucks will play the Western Conference #1 seed Vegas Golden Knights in Round 2 of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Game 1 will be Sunday night at 10:30 pm EST/7:30 pm PST.