February 16 2017 08:55PM
The Canucks and Blues faced off in an uncharacteristically entertaining and high-scoring game tonight thanks to sub-.900 performances by Jacob Markstrom and Jake Allen. The Canucks made a game of it, but couldn't match the Blues' attack, falling to 2-4 on their six-game road-trip.
Given the general manager's comments this morning, maybe that's a good thing. With tonight's loss, the Canucks inched further away from the wildcard picture and closer to being seller's at this year's trade deadline.
- One of the biggest surprises of the last week or so has been what a great fit Markus Granlund has been on the Sedins' wing. Granlund's physicality is an underrated element of his game, whcih he showed off on the set-up on Henrik Sedin's goal tonight. He's not exactly tough in the traditional sense, he doesn't hit or get in scrums, but he is hard on the puck, and uses his lower-body strength to maintain possession. That's part of what's made him such a good fit since he was bumped up to that line in the wake of injuries to Bo Horvat, Brandon Sutter, and Sven Baertschi.
- Jacob Markstrom looked uncomfortable tonight. He let in a pair of ugly bank-shots in off his body and nearly let in another stinker when he let a point shot trickle through his pads midway through the second period. Fortunately, the ref blew his whistle early and the goal was not counted, but still, Markstrom's struggles tonight coupled with how much the Canucks have chosen to ride Ryan Miller this season are enough to make you wonder how the Canucks' will approach their goalie situation this summer.
- What Jayson Megna has done to endear himself to the Canucks' coaching staff remains one of hockey's great mysteries. Megna played 15:28 tonight, skating primarily on the Canucks' nominal second line with Loui Eriksson and Brandon Sutter, and even spent time on the Canucks' first PP unit. That's pretty astounding given that better players in Bo Horvat, Markus Granlund, and Jannik Hansen haven gotten so much as a whiff of first-unit time.
- The inexperience of the Canucks' young defenders was on full display tonight, with all three of Stecher, Tryamkin, and Hutton getting danced at times by the blues' forwards. Still, each had moments of brilliance as well, with Traymkin in particular looking great on a couple of sequences. His interception of a Jay Bouwmeester turnover led directly to the Canucks' first goal, and he had a couple of great rushes tonight as well. It should be noted that Tryamkin's looked much more comfortable and his play has improved significantly since he's been moved to the right side.
- Sportsnet ran a fantastic featured on ex-Canucks goaltender Corey Hirsch and his struggles with depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder during the second intermission. Hirsch also spoke about his issues with mental illness in the Players' Tribune yesterday, which made for an entertaining and enlightening read. Hockey culture has been known to romanticize "toughing out" your struggles, but Hirsch serves as a reminder that there's nothing romantic about suffering.