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Best of the Best: February 2021

... most memorable moments from the past month

by Brady Trettenero @BradyTrett / Freelance Writer

Whether it was Quinn Hughes faking a pass and scoring or Zack MacEwen sticking up for Vancouver's standout rookie, this past month was full of memorable plays for the Canucks. Here's the best of the best from February.

Best Goal

Hughes fakes pass and snipes Flames' Markstrom (02/13/21)

Quinn Hughes is a master of deception. The 21-year-old blueliner continued his hot start to the season with an impressive month of February in which he recorded a goal and nine assists in 13 contests. One of his best plays came in a matchup against Jacob Markstrom and the Flames in which he helped Vancouver snap a six-game losing skid. With the game scoreless in the second period, Hughes showcased on one sequence many of the reasons why he was drafted seventh overall back in 2018. Hughes reads the play well as it develops, making a well-timed pinch and intercepting a pass to Johnny Gaudreau before moving in on goal. As a 2-on-1 situation with Elias Pettersson quickly unfolds, Hughes throws off Flames' blueliner Juuso Valimaki with a nasty fake pass before quickly sniping a shot past his former goaltender to open the scoring.

Video: CGY@VAN: Hughes steals the puck and cashes in

 

Best Assist

Pettersson dangles and assists Boeser vs. Flames (02/11/21)

The Elias Pettersson-Brock Boeser connection never fails to impress. The two young stars worked their magic once again in a February game against the Flames. The play began in Vancouver's defensive zone when Pettersson won a board battle before quickly getting around Calgary forward Milan Lucic with a nutmeg. Pettersson wasn't done there, however, as the Swedish phenom would follow up the dazzling move with a superb bank pass to a streaking Brock Boeser. The play brought back memories of Pettersson's insane bank pass against Colorado last season in which he used the end boards to set up Boeser. This time around, Pettersson uses the sidewall and Boeser is forced to do some digging after having his original shot thwarted by Markstrom. The elusiveness and creativity of Pettersson is on full display here as he slips Lucic before spotting Boeser with the perfect pass.

Video: CGY@VAN: Boeser buries own rebound to knot score

 

Best Save

Demko stretches out to rob Jets' Connor (02/19/21)

Thatcher Demko did everything he could to garner the Canucks a victory in a February matchup with Winnipeg. The 25-year-old netminder stopped all but one of the 30 shots he faced as the Canucks couldn't solve Winnipeg goalie Laurent Brossoit in a 2-0 shutout loss. Demko was making clutch saves throughout the evening, but his best stop arguably came on one of the league's top goal scorers in the opening period. With the Jets up 1-0 and on a power play, Demko shows some great situational awareness and flexibility as he foils a one-timer bid by Kyle Connor. Demko is able to track a pass from Paul Stastny to Connor through traffic in the slot and come across to rob the Winnipeg sniper. Demko was a busy goalie this past month, making eight starts and facing 30-plus shots in half of those contests.

Video: WPG@VAN: Demko makes save on Wheeler

 

Best Fight

MacEwen sticks up for Hoglander and fights Jets' Forbort (02/21/21)

If you touch the rookie Nils Hoglander, you're going to have to pay a price. Zack MacEwen taught that lesson to Winnipeg defenseman Derek Forbort in a February clash between the two North Division squads. The story began in the first game of a two-game set in which Forbort took exception to a big hit by Hoglander and responded by cross-checking the rookie multiple times and then jumping him late in the game. It was obvious there was going to be a response from Vancouver, and that came in the form of MacEwen two days later. MacEwen dropped the gloves with Forbort not even three minutes into the rematch, with the Canucks' forward stunning the Winnipeg blueliner with an early left jab and landing several right uppercuts.The fight in itself was epic, but it was Hoglander showing his approval from the bench that made it all the more memorable.

Watch: Youtube Video

 

Best Milestone

Miller records 200th assist on Pettersson's ridiculous tally vs. Jets (02/21/21)

If you're going to collect a milestone assist, you'll want it to come on a goal that's as ridiculous as this one. J.T. Miller recorded his 200th career NHL assist in a game against Winnipeg this past month on a sensational effort by Elias Pettersson. While Pettersson's goal rightfully got all the attention, Miller made a slick little pass on the play to create the opportunity. With the Canucks pressing in the offensive zone, Miller tracked a loose puck in the slot and quickly made a nifty feed to Boeser in the high slot. Boeser's shot was stopped, but Pettersson finished it off with a beautiful no-look, between-the-legs tally to give Miller his 200th assist. We saw Miller's elite passing ability on display throughout February, as the 27-year-old racked up seven helpers in 13 games.

Video: WPG@VAN: Pettersson goes between-his-legs for goal

 

Best Change-Up

Canucks go casual vs. Flames (02/13/21)

The Canucks knew they were going to have to change things up if they wanted to snap a six-game losing streak that began on February 1st. While the change they implemented ended up working to perfection, it wasn't necessarily the type of switch many were expecting. After a 3-1 loss to Calgary to begin a four-game set, the team came into Rogers Arena for the rematch looking completely different. Instead of wearing the typical business attire such as suits and ties, the Canucks strolled into the rink wearing casual street clothes. From Brock Boeser's squidward hoodie to Elias Pettersson's AC/DC sweater, the Canucks' pre-game clothing caught the attention of the entire hockey world. The change-up worked perfectly, as the Canucks went on to snap their losing streak with a dominant 3-1 victory in which they outshot their opponent by a 46-19 margin.

Video: Canucks Arrive to Rink in Casual Attire on Hockey Day

 

Weirdest Moment

Flames' Markstrom takes out Pearson in crazy collision (02/17/21)

Jacob Markstrom had no regard for a former teammate in a February game between the Flames and Canucks. With Vancouver leading 1-0 in the second period, Tanner Pearson was sprung on a partial breakaway by a great pass from Nils Hoglander. Pearson used his speed to fly down the wing, but he was unexpectedly met by Markstrom at the faceoff circle. The Swedish netminder channeled his inner Dominik Hasek to come way out of his net and take out Pearson before he could get a shot. The Canuck forward went flying over the Calgary goalie, but luckily was no worse for wear. While no penalty was called on the play, Pearson had some choice words for his former goalie. The Canucks would get the last laugh, however, as Markstrom would try a similar move on Bo Horvat minutes later, but the Canuck captain saw it coming and outwaited the netminder for a goal.

Watch: Youtube Video

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