Bruce Boudreau got his first win as head coach of the Canucks Monday as Vancouver blanked the visiting L.A. Kings 4-0.
The victory came less than 24 hours after the Canucks cleaned house, firing general manager Jim Benning, assistant manager Jim Weisbrod, head coach Travis Green and assistant coach Nolan Baumgartner.
— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) December 6, 2021
Thatcher Demko had 30 saves to collect his first shutout of the season and the second of his career.
Brock Boeser and J.T. Miller each had a power-play goal and an assist for Vancouver (9-15-2), while Conor Garland and Juho Lammikko also found the back of the net.
Cal Petersen stopped 27-of-31 for the Kings (10-10-4), who beat the Oilers 5-1 in Edmonton on Sunday.
Special teams have been a struggle for the Canucks this season, but Vancouver went 2 for 4 on the power play Monday and successfully weathered two penalties.
L.A.’s Lias Anderson was called for high sticking on Oliver Ekman-Larsson midway through the third and Miller capitalized on the man advantage. His blast from inside the faceoff circle careened into the net off the crossbar at the 12:48 mark to put Vancouver up 4-0.
Lahmmikko gave the Canucks their third goal of the night 6:59 into the period, picking off an errant Kings pass and putting a shot past Petersen stick side for his first goal in a Vancouver jersey. The 25-year-old left-winger was a healthy scratch in the previous five games.
Vancouver nearly saw its lead boosted in the second period after Elias Pettersson was hooked from behind by Alex Iafallo on a short-handed chance. The star centre was awarded a penalty shot, but sent his ensuing blast into the glass behind the L. A. goal.
The Canucks went up a pair 5:43 into the middle frame.
Rookie Vasily Podkolzin put a shot wide with the puck ricocheting off the end boards. Garland picked up the rebound behind the net and wrapped it into yawning net before Petersen could get back in position.
A power-play goal opened the scoring early in the second after L.A.’s Mikey Anderson was called for tripping Bo Horvat.
Stationed at the goal line, Tanner Pearson sliced a pass to Boeser at the top of the faceoff circle. The right-winger uncorked a snap shot and the puck deflected in off the skate of Kings defenceman Drew Doughty in front of the net.
The goal was Boeser’s fifth of the season and his first in 14 games.
Monday’s game marked the a homecoming for Kings defenceman Alex Edler.
The 35-year-old played 15 seasons in Vancouver before signing with L.A. as a free agent in July. He holds a number of franchise records for the Canucks, including most games played by a defenceman (925), and most goals (99), assists (310) and points (409) by a defenceman.
The club recognized Edler with a video tribute during early in the first period, and the veteran blue liner hopped over the boards to wave to the cheering crowd.
The Canucks will be back in action Wednesday when they host the Boston Bruins. The Kings will entertain the Dallas Stars in L.A. on Thursday.
NOTES: Boudreau previously served as head coach for the Capitals, Ducks and Wild, and won the Jack Adams Award as the league’s top coach while with Washington in 2008. … Garland now has eight goals on the season. Miller leads the Canucks with nine. … Vancouver extended its win streak over L.A. to six games.
Earlier in the day owner Francesco Aquilini says he may have been “too patient” in waiting for the struggling NHL team to turn its season around.
“These are difficult decisions. These are not easy. I mean, to fire everybody at the same time, that’s a hard thing to do and maybe I was a little bit too patient,” Aquilini told reporters Monday. “I was hoping for a turnaround. We were losing these games by one goal and maybe I was too optimistic, and so we made the change when we made the change.”
The search for new hockey operations leadership is underway, Aquilini said, and “everything is on the table,” including potentially hiring both a GM and a president.
Right now, though, he wants to see his team get back in win column.
“I know our fans and the media are frustrated and unhappy. But I assure you that no one is more frustrated and unhappy than me and my family,” Aquilini said. “I’m also disappointed and surprised. In the off-season, we believed we’d have a much better team than what we’ve been seeing, that we’d have a better competitive team this year.”
By Gemma Karstens-Smith, THE CANADIAN PRESS