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Canucks in awe of fans in Game 1 win: 'The building was crazy'

Jeff Vinnick / National Hockey League / Getty

The Vancouver Canucks did their part on the ice to secure their first playoff win at Rogers Arena in nine years, but the players gave some credit to the fans in attendance.

"The building was crazy," forward Dakota Joshua said after his team's 4-2 Game 1 victory over the Nashville Predators. "You think you know what to expect until you get out there, and you don't. The fans were behind us all night, and it was nice to pull through for them."

The Canucks headed into the third period down 2-1. Pius Suter tipped in captain Quinn Hughes' shot for the equalizer, and Joshua scored the game-winning goal just 12 seconds later for the fastest two playoff goals in franchise history.

Joshua then iced the contest with an empty-netter for the first two postseason goals of his career. Prior to Sunday's thrilling win, the 27-year-old only had one other game of playoff experience under his belt.

"A special moment. I'll never forget it," he said of his heroics. "It makes you want to keep doing it."

Hughes took in some postseason action last spring while supporting his brothers, Jack and Luke, on the New Jersey Devils during their run to the second round.

He may be a little biased, but the star defenseman said there was no comparison to the atmosphere at Rogers Arena.

"I couldn't really believe how loud (our) fans were," Hughes said. "I've seen some playoff games ... but it wasn't anything like what we just witnessed. ... To be able to come out here and see the support and see how much it means to the city and the people here is pretty special."

The Canucks were welcomed to the ice by a standing ovation from the thousands of fans waving rally towels.

Vancouver last made the playoffs in 2020, but those games took place in Edmonton with no fans in attendance due to the pandemic.

J.T. Miller is one of six current Canucks who were on that roster. Prior to Sunday's Game 1, the veteran forward was itching to begin the playoffs. He clearly wasn't disappointed by the atmosphere.

"When we came out on the ice today, it was probably one of the more special things I've been a part of, other than the birth of my children and my wedding," Miller said. "It's hard not to get choked up when you see that, that literally is everything. ... If you can't get up for that, then you've got something wrong with you. That was amazing."

Now, the Canucks have to reset and turn their attention to Game 2 on Tuesday.

"We weren't perfect by any means tonight," Miller said. "I think we can be even better, which is great. ... We need to understand that there's still another gear and come off the high of being back in that playoff environment."

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