1) Brandon Sutter scored just four goals in the 26 games he appeared in last season. On Tuesday night, he scored twice to lead the Canucks to a 4-2 win over a youthful group of Edmonton Oilers. More than the goals, though, Sutter appears to be fully recovered from the abdominal injuries that have plagued him the past two seasons. His first goal came on a first period penalty shot. The goal was good. The play to draw the penalty shot was better. For a guy who has had issues with his explosiveness due to injury, Sutter broke away and gained a step on the Oilers defense and forced Dmitri Samorukov to haul him down with a hook. There were times last year Sutter would not have been able to separate from the defense like he did on Tuesday night. The fact he had that extra gear to go to -- even if it was against non-NHL competition -- should serve him well in the confidence department as he works his way to the start of the regular season.
2) Thatcher Demko was terrific on Tuesday. He was thrust into the fire early during a 1:15 two-man advantage for the Oilers with Vincent Arseneau and Tyler Myers in the penalty box. Demko stopped all 14 first period shots he faced and made 35 saves on the night. He was aided by a pair of goalposts in the third period including Oilers forward Ryan McLeod missing what looked like an empty net which would have extended Edmonton's lead to 3-1 at the time. Demko looks like he has found a comfort level knowing that his job in the NHL is secure for the first time in his career. Last year at this time, he suffered a concussion that derailed the first half of his season. When he finally got a look late in the year he was able to amass a body of work in the NHL that gave him a baseline of things to work on over the off-season. He looked focussed and determined on Tuesday night and opened his preseason in style.
3) We all saw it on many nights last season, but there's no question Elias Pettersson is a showman. Like so many great performers, he simply refuses to take nights off -- even in the first week of preseason. Pettersson crushed his group in the bag skate on the first day of training camp in Victoria. He opened the camp scoring in Saturday's scrimmage and then wowed Island hockey fans with a spectacular shootout goal on Sunday. Tuesday had its moments of Pettersson doing his dekes and controlling play and then when the Canucks needed something good to happen, the Alien landed. Down 2-1 midway through the third, Pettersson pounced on a rebound of a Micheal Ferland shot and beat Oiler netminder Shane Starrett through the five-hole. It sparked a Canuck comeback with Brandon Sutter putting the team in front for good just 1:19 later. Every time he's hit the ice since the first day of camp, Pettersson has given fans a moment -- something that makes you sit up and take notice. And the exciting part is that he's just getting warmed up and will soon have his buddy Brock Boeser back beside him.
4) Olli Juolevi's past two weeks have been a roller coaster. From the positives of looking good and participating in all three days of Canucks development camp to what appeared to be some kind of set back on the first day of main camp in Victoria to now being nowhere to be seen through three preseason games. Juolevi and Jacob Markstrom are the only two main camp attendees who have yet to appear in game action. The young defenseman struggled with the heavy skate at the end of Friday's first day of main camp last weekend. On Saturday, he was assigned to skate with the Utica group but returned to the main group Sunday and participated fully in scrimmage action. Which brings us to the second day of the preseason and the fact that Juolevi still hasn't suited up for an exhibition contest and following Tuesday's game Travis Green seemed to hint that the Finnish blueliner quite possibly won't get the chance: 'I'm not sure if we'll see him before the end of camp." When pressed if the absence is due to injury, the coach said no: 'He's good'. It's been a tough year for Juolevi since injuring his knee last November in Utica and requiring surgery just prior to Christmas. The kid deserves a break, but just can't seem to catch one.
5) The Canucks reduced their roster to 46 skaters prior to Tuesday's game against Edmonton. And it sounds like more cuts re coming. Green said after the game that the team would likely pare its roster further before Thursday's rematch in the Alberta capital. With just four games remaining on the preseason schedule, it would serve the Canucks well to get down to manageable numbers as quickly as possible. With the return of Brock Boeser, Travis Green hinted that he and his coaching staff would likely start to work with the power play groupings -- something they haven't done to this point in camp save for a few brief line rushes during Monday's morning skates. On Tuesday, the power play featured Pettersson, Ferland, Nikolay Goldobin, Tanner Pearson and Quinn Hughes at one point in the second period. They stormed the Oilers net and did everything but score. It's hard to get worked up about a lack of power play proficiency in the first week of exhibition action, but the countdown to the team's October 2nd opening night is on and with Boeser back in the fold, it's time the Canucks get down to special teams business.