1) The Canucks kicked off their 50th anniversary celebrations in style on Wednesday night rocking Jonathan Quick and the Los Angeles Kings 8-2. The eight goals equaled the teams highest goal output all of last season when they scored eight times in an 8-5 win in Boston last November. After getting shutout in Calgary and without a win through their first two games, the floodgates opened for almost everybody wearing a Canucks uniform. Seven different goal scorers found the back of the net and 14 different skaters figured in the scoring. That's important for a team that was being questioned about its lack of offense in Alberta last week. Now, guys can see what's possible and key players like Elias Pettersson no longer have to fret about when their first goal of the season will come. Pettersson's goal to make it 3-0 early in the second period stood up as the game winner. It was his first even-strength goal since February 5th in Washington.
2) Because he registered just six shots in his five games at the end of last season, Quinn Hughes hadn't really put his slap shot on display at the NHL level. Three games into this season he's already felled the Oilers Adam Larsson and on Wednesday flat out blew a slap shot past Jonathan Quick for his first NHL goal. The ever-confident Hughes was asked about his shot quality at development camp last month and assured those within earshot that he believed he had a pro level shot. Despite his size, he was able to get everything he had behind the blast that opened the scoring on Wednesday. According to NHL.com Hughes scored from 44-feet out in front of the Kings net. He later added an assist on a sublime set up for Chris Tanev on the doorstep off the rush. Hughes now has three points this season to go along with the three points he picked up last season. That gives him six points in eight NHL games and while it's early in his career and the sample size remains tiny, Hughes just looks the part of a guy who will shatter Canucks scoring record for defensemen.
3) Brandon Sutter had just two goals and six points in the 26 games he was limited to in a season lost to injuries in 2018-19. On Wednesday, he generated half of last season's point total with his first two goals and a nifty set-up for Elias Pettersson. It's important to note that the offense comes with Sutter playing wing which is not his natural position. The Canucks have shuffled him to the right side to create a spot in the line-up for Adam Gaudette. Instead of pouting and wondering about his job security, Sutter has embraced the challenge and on Wednesday was one of the Canucks best players. No one has ever doubted his shooting ability and his first goal just 42 seconds after Quinn Hughes had opened the scoring was proof that Sutter can score from distance. He took a feed in the right circle from Jake Virtanen and snapped the puck up under the bar behind Jonathan Quick. Sutter's second goal wasn't nearly as pretty and needed the war room in Toronto to blow play dead to inform the on-ice officials that the puck had indeed crept across the Kings goal line with four minutes remaining in the game. It was interesting post-game to hear Travis Green concede he has heard many in the market trying to run Sutter out of town. But the coach was quick to praise the veteran for his play on Wednesday and then doubled-down when he explained how his trust and belief in Sutter has allowed him to have confidence in Gaudette in the defensive zone. He says Sutter serves as a security blanket for the young centre and the two seem to be developing some chemistry after just two games together.
4) JT Miller had been the best Canuck forward through the team's first two games. Now that wasn't saying much for a team that had just two goals and only one from a forward. But Miller's work rate stood out from the first day of training camp and continued through the preseason where he was noticeable on almost every shift. There was more of that in Alberta last week but he had just a single assist to show for it. Miller's offense bubbled to the surface on Wednesday as he led the Canucks with four points -- his first four-point night in the National Hockey League. Miller had assists on Sutter's first goal of the night and later figured in goals by Pettersson and Alex Edler. He also set up Brock Boeser for a glorious scoring chance -- one of the few the Canucks did not convert on the night -- early in the third. The newcomer also got a welcome bounce when he banked a puck off Ilya Kovalchuk and in to make it a 5-1 game late in the second period. The Canucks paid a steep price to pry Miller out of Tampa Bay, but it certainly looks like they have a player who will drive play and contribute offense. Against LA, Miller was on the ice for three Canuck goals and wasn't on for either of the LA scoring plays. The Canucks also controlled north of 60% of the shot attempts with Miller on the ice at even strength. There were suggestions after the trade that Miller's work ethic and consistency was a concern to some in the NHL. That simply hasn't been the case for him in the early going in Vancouver.
5) The Canucks organization deserves credit for a job well done on Wednesday night. The pregame ceremony hit almost every note pitch perfect as it captured a half-century of history. From former players from various decades joining the current players as part of the pre-game introductions to the pregame video to the new projection system lighting up the ice in a dizzying display of Canuck colours, it was a spectacle to be sure. It was, of course, topped off with the handing of the captaincy to Bo Horvat at centre ice in a presentation involving former Canuck captains Orland Kurtenbach and Henrik Sedin. Horvat is the right man for the job and will carry on the legacy of leadership. Although still young at 24-years of age, he is now in his sixth NHL season and apprenticed under both Henrik and Daniel Sedin. He has command of the Canucks locker room and the respect of those in it. He had his parents in attendance at Wednesday's game and spoke openly after the game about how nervous he was during the centre ice ceremony where he swapped out his jersey with an A for the one he'll wear moving forward with the C on it. If he was nervous before the puck drop, it hardly showed during the game. Horvat finished the night playing 18:17 and had a beautiful cross-crease assist on Josh Leivo's third period goal.