Canucks coach Bruce Boudreau stood on the bench Saturday night, clapping for the crowd and trying to soak in a bittersweet moment.
Expectations are that Boudreau will be fired in the coming days and the veteran NHL bench boss treated Saturday’s game as if it were his last.
“You never know if it’s the end,” he told reporters after the game, tears welling in his eyes. “So when you’ve been in it for almost 50 years — you know, the majority of your life — and now if it’s the end, I had to stay out there and look at the crowd and just try to say, `OK, try remember this moment type of thing.”‘
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Players weren’t sure whether to stay on the ice and tap their sticks for their coach or to head down the tunnel, veteran defenceman Luke Schenn said of the “wild” scene.
“In the dressing room, guys were sitting around here and kind of almost speechless,” he said. “A lot of times after a loss, guys are mad or ticked off or whatever about the way they played. But this wasn’t about the game. It was more the feeling for Bruce.”
‘Obviously it wasn’t good enough there’
After falling behind 3-0 midway through the second period Saturday, the Canucks (18-25-3) clawed back two goals and looked to even the score late in the third.
Instead, the surging Oilers (27-18-3) took a sixth straight win.
“We wanted to play right to the very end for [Boudreau],” said Canucks captain Bo Horvat. “He coached every game like it was his last and, for us, we would have loved to pull one out there for him. But obviously it wasn’t good enough there.”
Edmonton’s stars shone in the performance, with Zach Hyman contributing a goal and three assists while Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored into an empty net and contributed a pair of helpers. Connor McDavid had a goal and an assist and Leon Draisaitl rounded out the scoring.
WATCH l Oilers’ Hyman scores, adds 3 assists vs. Canucks: