Since turning in a commanding performance against the Edmonton Oilers on opening night, the Vancouver Canucks have hit a bit of a tough spot to start out the 2020-21 NHL season.
With seemingly half of the team’s roster either on IR, on the COVID list, or listed as day-to-day with an injury, the Canucks haven’t been able to deploy the full strength of their roster – a roster many thought was capable of winning the fourth spot in the North Division – and have struggled to find their footing as a result.
Save for their first bout of a three-game series with the Montreal Canadiens – a game Vancouver ultimately won in a shootout- none of the Canucks games since opening night have even been decided by a single goal – losing the five games by a combined score of 9-28.
Yikes, that is not good.
So naturally, by facing off against the 1-3-1 Ottawa Senators, the Canucks would finally have a chance to keep things close and maybe even squeak out their second win in regulation, right?
Nope, once again Vancouver took part in a blowout, only this time, they were on the side that didn’t result in their virtual fans booing the ‘Nucks off the ice.
Did Brandon Sutter just turn around the Vancouver Canucks’ season?
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Facing off against two-time Stanley Cup winner Matt Murray, the Vancouver Canucks scored not one, not two, but seven(!) goals against an Ottawa Senators team who is giving up an average of 4.5 goals a game in 2020-21 – which is, like, insanely bad.
Though it took the Canucks a little while to get things going, as the team didn’t get their first goal until roughly halfway through the opening period, the goals started coming at an increasing frequency from that point on, with Tyler Motte opening the flood gates at the end of the first. Vancouver would go on to score two more goals in the second and three more in the third versus only one by the Senators – by Austin Watson in the second period – and believe you me, this was one of the more entertaining games you’ll see this calendar year.
Don’t believe me? Well, check out the highlights from the contest courtesy of the NHL below, it’s well worth your time.
There’s no doubt about it, this was a morale-boosting, bench-energizing team win where nine(!) different players recorded at least one point and five different players scored a goal. The team scored more goals in one game than they did in their previous two outings and just generally looked like the kind of team fans were hoping to see up to this point since opening night.
But do you know who the true star of the contest was? I’ll give you a hint, it wasn’t Jay Beagle, Bo Horvat, or even Quinn Hughes. No, it was everyone’s favorite superstar bottom-six forward Brandon Sutter, who recorded his first hat trick after 13 years in the NHL.
That’s right, after 13 years – 735 games to be exact – Sutter finally recorded a hat trick after scoring the seventh and final goal of the game on a stolen fast break with a little under a minute left to play in regulation.
His teammates went wild, the virtual crowd went berserk, and even though there weren’t fans in attendance, Braden Holtby threw a hat onto the ice to celebrate the occasion.
So, after recording his first professional hat trick since being drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes with the 11th pick all the way back in 2007, what did Sutter have to say to commemorate the occasion? Well, fortunately, he was asked that very question post-game.
“It feels pretty good. You never know when you’re going to get one, if you’re going to get one,” he said after Vancouver collected a tidy 7-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators.
“It only took me 13 years.”
I like it. Simple. Clean.
With two more games against the Ottawa Senators left on the books before closing out the month with a single game against the Pierre-Luc Debois-less Winnipeg Jets, this was the exact kind of win the Vancouver Canucks needed to get their season back on track and start working their way up with the standings once more. If they can score even half as many goals in each of their next two contests – which, again, won’t be hard considering the Senators give up 4.5 goals a game – the ‘Nucks should be back to .500 in no time. Who knows, maybe Brandon will record his second hat trick as well, and slowly climb up the Sutter Family power rankings.