The young Canucks didn’t look like they feared the defending-champion Blues, at least not in Game 1. The Canucks never trailed in Game 1, breaking a tied third period to win 5-2, taking a 1-0 series lead against the Blues.

When we look back at this First Round 2020 Stanley Cup Playoff series, we may say that the Blues eventually neutralized the explosive but inexperienced (and not particularly deep) Canucks. That was not the story of Game 1.

During the first period, both teams scored fairly similar power-play goals, with Bo Horvat and David Perron finding the net with quick shots from the “bumper” position. Vancouver’s power play continued to cause problems, as Elias Pettersson also briefly gave the Canucks a 2-1 lead during the second period. Jaden Schwartz quickly answered with a 2-2 goal as the last tally of that period, yet this would not be the last time the Blues found themselves trailing in Game 1.

In a moment Jordan Binnington would like to have back, Troy Stecher boomed a shot by the Blues goalie 5:37 into the third. About two-and-a-half minutes later, Horvat bamboozled Vince Dunn with a splendid move to score his second goal of Game 1, and make it 4-2.

While the Blues managed some pushes late in Game 1, they couldn’t come back against the Canucks. After St. Louis got whistled for a late penalty, J.T. Miller scored the 5-2 goal on a power play at first focused on clock-killing.

Vancouver managed one of the bigger Game 1 upsets of the First Round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, leaving the Blues with some serious work to do.

There was some nastiness in Game 1, including this ugly spear by Troy Brouwer on Antoine Roussel:

Brouwer spears Roussel off the faceoff with both officials in sight. No penalty on the play pic.twitter.com/kYmsZawcmN

— NHL Player Safety Watch (@NHLSafetyWatch) August 13, 2020

Will this series get nastier? Perhaps. Considering the makeup of this Blues team, the finesse-heavy portion of the top of the Canucks lineup would be wise to mostly avoid the fray. So far, Horvat, Pettersson, and Quinn Hughes didn’t seem overwhelmed by the moment in facing the defending champs.

One other side note: should the Blues keep an eye on Binnington? As great as Binnington was during that 2019 Stanley Cup run, his NHL sample size isn’t enormous. And, quietly or not, Jake Allen enjoyed a much better 2019-20 season than Binnington did.

Consider this comparison, via Hockey Reference:

Game 1 Canucks Blues Binnington Allen comparison

Just food for thought, particularly if the Blues struggle as the First Round progresses.

Wednesday, Aug. 12: Vancouver 5, St. Louis 2
Friday, Aug. 14: Vancouver at St. Louis, 6:30 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Sunday, Aug. 16: St. Louis at Vancouver, 10:30 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Monday, Aug. 17: St. Louis at Vancouver, 10:30 p.m. ET – NBCSN
*Wednesday, Aug. 19: Vancouver at St. Louis – TBD
*Friday, Aug. 21: St. Louis at Vancouver – TBD
*Sunday, Aug. 23: Vancouver at St. Louis – TBD

*if necessary

MORE:
• Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round schedule

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

DOPING SCANDAL IN RUSSIAN SPORTSCAS to hold hearings on WADA-RUSADA dispute on second week of July

MOSCOW, March 31. /TASS/. Hearings on a dispute between the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the Russian Anti-Doping Agency in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) will be held on the second week of July, Pavel Rozhkov, the first…

Would Usain Bolt ever unretire?

Usain Bolt isn’t doing much running these days, but he would unretire if one person asked: longtime coach Glen Mills. “If my coach came back and told me, let’s do this, I will, because I believe so much in my coach,”…

MPs raise concerns over sportswashing amid Newcastle takeover

A group of 16 cross-party MPs and peers have written to the government raising concern over the threat of sportswashing in the UK amid the Saudi Arabia-funded takeover of Newcastle United. The politicians – including former Labour leader Neil Kinnock…

Li ‘totally focused’ amid selection furor

Under-fire Team China coach Li Tie has denied his squad selection for next month’s 2022 World Cup qualifiers shows favoritism toward players of his former employer, Wuhan Zall. Li has faced a backlash from fans and pundits alike after four…