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THE MOJ: 2 points better than none but Canucks need to shake off staleness

Team heads out on the road with the team looking to develop a road mentality

After the Vancouver Canucks sleepwalked through a 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday afternoon at Rogers Arena, Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet stated that he ‘needed more push’ from certain players.

One of the players he didn’t need more push from was forward Dakota Joshua.

Joshua scored twice in helping the Canucks avoid blowing a 2-0 lead at home.

“Take the win. Go from there. I’m glad they said that because we all feel the same,” answered Tocchet when told that some players were not happy with the team’s performance.

Vancouver led 2-0 after two periods on goals by Brock Boeser in the first and Joshua in the second only to see the Ducks tie it up on goals by Olen Zellweger and Mason MacTavish in the third.

Then Joshua scored his second of the game at 17:47 to give the Canucks the win.

Disaster avoided.

“It wasn’t a great performance by our group but I guess you can’t be upset after a win,” Joshua said afterwards, echoing most of the post-game comments made by other players.

What made Joshua’s performance even more impressive is that it was only his second game back after missing 18 games due to a hand injury.

His first goal will be on most highlight packages for a while as he received a pass at the corner of the crease, pulled the puck between his legs, then roofed it to score.

“It was awesome. I told him I’ve never tried that. It was a heck of a play – a big-time play from us,” noted forward J.T. Miller.

“The last two games, he’s given us what we need. We need some guys to watch him around the net and his determination,” noted Tocchet.

The reason for Joshua’s success is simple – he’s willing to pay the price.

“There’s a will factor. If you want to score a goal, you better get some icebags. It’s hard to play that style but you are going to get rewarded. Especially in April – that’s when you get rewarded,” said Tocchet, making an obvious reference that goals in the playoffs are about going to the so-called dirty areas.

For a team that wants to follow the process and let the results speak for themselves, Sunday’s game shows that the Canucks are still a work in progress and not a finished product.

“We had a lot of turnovers and you can’t turn pucks over. I don’t care who you are. When you throw a lot of turnovers, it means you don’t respect the opponent. You have to be careful of that,” added Tocchet.

The Canucks now hit the road for the first time in nearly a month with a three-game southwest junket with stops in Vegas, Arizona and Los Angeles.

Tocchet is hoping that the road will provide the spark his team needs.

“Maybe it’s good that we are going on the road. I think a nine-game homestand is probably not the most ideal thing. We saw a lot of staleness. Maybe this road trip will help us with having to have that ‘road mentality’ to play,” said Tocchet.


* For Miller, going on the road is welcome for another reason. “We’ve been home for three weeks and my kids have been on a two week break from school, so I’m ready,” deadpanned Miller.

* The Canucks power play awoke from its slumber and went two for four yet the Canucks weren’t too happy with the unit. “I thought we were okay. One rep, we couldn’t even get set up. We need more urgency. I thought we had a couple of good looks but we need more. It’s nice to score but on another couple of reps, we got sloppy,” said Miller.

* Zellweger’s goal was the first of his NHL career and he was lucky enough to have his parents at the game. Zellweger played his junior hockey with Everett and Kamloops of the WHL.

* Vancouver goalie Arturs Silovs received his first start in goal since being recalled three weeks ago and made 20 saves in the win while Anaheim’s Lukas Dostal stopped 27 shots.

* One of the on-ice officials for Sunday’s game was referee Carter Sandlak. His father Jim was chosen fourth overall by the Canucks in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft and suited up for 509 games for Vancouver over nine seasons. “The House” was a good player but shoulder injuries derailed his career.

* Marc Bergevin, senior advisor to the General Manager for the Los Angeles Kings, has been taking in a lot of Canucks games lately. There is a good chance that the Kings could wind up being the Canucks first-round opponent, so Bergevin is gathering as much intel as he can.

Veteran B.C. sports personality Bob “the Moj” Marjanovich writes twice weekly for Black Press Media.

READ MORE: Joshua scores twice as Canucks claw out 3-2 win over slumping Ducks

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