October 18, 2016 - 11:29 PM
Vancouver Canucks head coach Willie Desjardins knows his team's current formula for success can't be sustained.
That doesn't mean he isn't enjoying the ride while it lasts.
Henrik Sedin scored at 1:40 of overtime Tuesday as the Canucks defeated the St. Louis Blues 2-1 for their third straight victory to open the season.
"We can't keep playing that way," said Desjardins. "We are not going to keep winning if we're behind."
And he's probably right.
Following shootout and overtime triumphs to start the schedule, Tuesday's result means that Vancouver is the first team in NHL history to win its first three games of a season while never leading in regulation in those contests.
"I thought we played a good game, though," said Desjardins, whose club won just three times when down after 40 minutes in 2015-16. "The whole game we played well and we generated stuff and just didn't score. We believed if we stayed with it something would go in and it finally did, and overtime can always go either way."
The winner came after Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom made a nice glove save and played the puck to keep things moving. Christopher Tanev eventually worked a nice give and go with Daniel Sedin in the St. Louis end before Henrik Sedin finished off the play with his first of the season.
The Canucks tied Saturday's opener against Calgary late in the third en route to a 2-1 shootout victory before coming from three goals down, including a 3-1 deficit in the third, to beat Carolina 4-3 in OT on Sunday.
"When you know you are able to come back it just brings a calmness to the team," said Henrik Sedin. "Even being down against a really good team tonight we are confident we are going to get chances and come back and that's a huge difference."
Bo Horvat also scored for Vancouver (3-0-0), which got 23 saves from Markstrom.
"Once again for 60-plus minutes we played a really good game," said Markstrom. "It gives results if you keep playing, keep grinding."
Vladimir Tarasenko replied for St. Louis (3-0-1), while Jake Allen made 24 stops in taking the loss.
"You move on," said Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock, whose team was looking to win four straight to open a season for just the second time in franchise history. "Getting points on the road is key."
Trailing 1-0, the Canucks tied things up with 2:55 left in regulation when Horvat banged a rebound off an Erik Gudbranson point shot past Allen for his second. The goal snapped a streak of 177 minutes 34 seconds of shutout hockey for St. Louis against Vancouver dating back to 2015-16.
"I think it just builds confidence knowing we can beat great teams like that," said Horvat. "For us to come and play them as well as we did, not give up much and come back again, it just shows that we're right there with all these teams."
The Blues took the lead at 10:23 of the second after Allen stopped Henrik Sedin's initial shot and then the rebound on a flurry in front. St. Louis immediately broke the other way on a 2-on-1, with Tarasenko ripping his fourth of the season shortside on Markstrom.
Vancouver's power play, now scoreless on 10 opportunities to start the season, had a chance midway through the third, but could only muster a solitary shot from the point that Allen handled with ease.
"The chances have been there," said Desjardins. "For us to get three wins without the power play contributing is big for us."
St. Louis then hit the post on a partial breakaway off the stick of Patrik Berglund that saw the Blues forward crash into Markstrom, who made a great back-to-back saves on Nail Yakupov and Paul Stastny before Horvat and Henrik Sedin's late heroics.
"Obviously it would be nice to be up a couple goals and win that way," said Markstrom. "But we'll take these two points."
Notes: Markstrom was expected to get the night off after winning his season debut Sunday, but No. 1 goalie Ryan Miller arrived at Rogers Arena on Tuesday morning feeling "a little tight," according to Desjardins. That thrust Markstrom back into the crease, and forced the club to dress University of British Columbia goalie Matt Hewitt as an emergency backup because the club couldn't get another netminder from within the organization to Vancouver in time for the game. ... Former St. Louis goalie Brian Elliott picked up consecutive shutouts against Vancouver last March.
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News from © The Canadian Press, 2016