January 07 2017 11:56PM
Photo Credit: Candice Ward - USA TODAY Sports
For the second time in as many nights, the Canucks faced off against the Calgary Flames - but this time in Alberta. In spite of a much-improved effort compared to their dreadful winning performance the night prior, Vancouver fell 3-1 in a close and physical affair, ending its six-game win streak. Vancouver probably deserved a better fate on the evening, much as Calgary did 24 hours ago, but were unable to tie the game late. With a Kings win earlier in the day, the Canucks again fell out of the playoff picture in the Western Conference.
The Game at a Glance
Video and graphic provided by Matt Henderson.
The Canucks started the game with a bit of bad news. Already down Chris Tanev after the defenceman took a shot to the back, the club learned Ben Hutton would be unable to play due to a blocking a shot with his hand during Friday night's game. Anton Rodin, therefore, drew in as the Canucks 13th forward as Desjardins would be forced to go with five defencemen (having already inserted Alex Biega for the injured Tanev). Alex Burrows also returned to the lineup after battling an illness the night before.
Unlike the previous game, however, the Canucks got off to a far better start. Loui Eriksson was back on a line with the Sedins, and the unit looked solid from its first shift. Eriksson later went in alone on Calgary goalie Chad Johnson but was turned aside by the Flames' netminder.
Things went from bad to worse on the Canucks back end as Nikita Tryamkin would head to the dressing room after a patented Micheal Ferland run at the opposition.
The Flames continued to walk the line physically, with Garnet Hathaway taking out Luca Sbisa deep in the Canucks end. Pieces of Sbisa's helmet had to be removed from his head following the play.
Play was relatively even in the first, but Calgary opened the scoring with a deft Alex Chiasson deflection of a Sean Monahan slapshot.
Barely another minute had passed before a charging Matt Stajan tipped in a Hathaway centring pass to put the Flames up by two.
Tryamkin would return to the Canucks bench, and the Canucks would begin to push the play more in the Flames end to start the second. Rodney, Ontario product Bo Horvat would score his thirteenth goal of the year to bring the Canucks within one.
Vancouver out-attempted Calgary 25-17 at five-on-five in the second and had several opportunities to even the score. Jayson Megna, in particular, would have a couple of point blank chances to tie the game in the middle frame, but would be denied both times. The Canucks had more shot attempts at even-strength in this period alone than they did the entire game on Friday across all situations.
The Canucks would be unable to keep up the pressure into the third period, however, with the Flames holding a decided advantage at 5v5 Corsi (11 to 5). Although Vancouver would come close to tying the game on a late power play, Matthew Tkachuk would send Michael Frolik in on a breakaway with under two minutes remaining - and Frolik would make no mistake. Final score: 3-1.
-As mentioned earlier, Willie Desjardins finally reunited the Sedins with Loui Eriksson and the trio looked solid from the start of the game. The Sedins had more possession with Eriksson on their wing vastly, compared to either Megna or Brandon Sutter, and both finished the game north of 60%CF at evens (with Henrik at 66.7% and Daniel at 60.9%). Eriksson appeared to read well off of the Sedin's cycle game, and had a strong game himself, finishing with a 58.3% CF on the night. The unit was the Canucks strongest on the evening by that metric, but the Horvat line was just as noticeable, contributing Vancouver's only goal
-Anton Rodin was in the lineup tonight; it just didn't appear that way. In fact, it's not even possible to look up his ice time on NHL.com. It's as if he wasn't even dressed.
Both the Sportsnet & Score apps no longer have Rodin listed as playing in this game.Must have thought it was a mistake to have him in lineup— Jeremy Davis (@jeremydavis89) January 8, 2017
Rodin only made the ice for the opening warm up, and then sat on the bench the entire night. For a team that was already playing shorthanded (on defence), for the second time in two nights, and struggling to score goals, it didn't really make sense to have Rodin act as a benchwarmer. Especially when the Canucks drew a power play, why not see what Rodin could do? Or is Desjardins that wedded to Megna on the second unit? Ultimately, there was no point of even inserting him into the lineup.
-The Canucks blueline all played hard minutes tonight. All five of them played over 21 minutes, including Alex Biega who hadn't played since the Canucks were last in Calgary before Christmas.
-Markstrom had himself another strong game, stopping 28 of 31 shots, but he was unable to make the big stop late on Frolik. He was noticeably frustrated with himself after the goal.
Tuesday, January 10 at Nashville, 5 PM (PST). TV: SNET; Radio: TSN 1040