VANCOUVER -- Vancouver Canucks fans had something to cheer about Wednesday as the team scored three goals in the third period to beat the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues 5-2 in the opening game of their first-round playoff series.

Although the team won a qualifying series against the Minnesota Wild last week, game one against the Blues was the first real playoff action for the Canucks since 2015.

Defenceman Troy Stetcher walked into a slapshot early in the third period to break a 2-2 deadlock.

Stetcher’s first career playoff goal would stand up as the game winner and the Richmond product, whose father passed away earlier this year, pumped his fist in the air and looked skyward as he celebrated.

Due to COVID-19 protocols, Vancouver bars and restaurants were not as packed as they would normally be for a playoff game but the fans that did venture out were enthusiastic nonetheless.

“The chance to be able to watch hockey in August is something that I never thought I’d be able to do so it’s pretty cool, for sure,” said Bobby Heath as we watched at The Score on Davie Street.

Nearly half the players on the Canucks roster are playing their first career playoff games but the talented young team, written off by many pundits before the season even began, has fans believing they could make a deep run in pursuit of the Stanley Cup.

“The city needs it. We’re ready, we’re buzzing. We want this,” said Ryan Hitch, who took in the action at The Regal Bengal in Kits. “The boys are pumped. They paid their dues. We did our time. We quietly built the team. I think they’re going to go far.”

Captain Bo Horvat opened the scoring and would finish with a pair, Elias Peterson and JT Miller also joined Stetcher on the scoresheet with one goal each.

Jacob Markström stopped 29 of 31 one shots to get the win.

David Perron and Jaden Schwartz each scored for the Blues.

Game two of the series goes Friday afternoon at 3:30.