Canucks Army Postgame: Because I Got High (Sticked)

The Phoenix Coyotes came in to tonight’s tilt against the Canucks having lost three games in a row, sitting dead last in the Western Conference, tired from playing last night, sporting some of the worst underlying metrics in the entire NHL, and playing their backup goalie who hadn’t been able to give them a save all season.

So of course Martin Hanzal found a way to destroy the Canucks defense, and of course Devan Dubnyk found a way to shut them out too, en route to a 5-0 Arizona Coyotes win. Read past the jump for a recap.

The Rundown

The Coyotes looked flat in the early going, as Vancouver generally controlled play and outshot the visitors from the south by a total of 9-2 at even strength in the first period, while out-attempting the Coyotes 18-9 as well. Chris Higgins manufactured a decent chance, as he cut to the middle of the ice off the rush and directed a shot towards the net, but other than that Vancouver was held fairly in check in the frame.

Martin Hanzal, on the other hand, was not. With around 5 minutes to go in the first period, Keith Yandle broke down the wing and into the Vancouver zone, where he fed a streaking Hanzal with a cross ice pass. Alex Burrows couldn’t tie up Hanzal in any way, so the big centre easily tipped the puck past Ryan Miller to give Phoenix a 1-0 lead.

Vancouver had a couple of chances to tie the game at 1-1 in the early second, but neither Dan Hamhuis nor Chris Higgins could capitalize on their opportunities. These missed chances would prove costly, as Martin Hanzal scored his second goal of the night. The puck appeared to be contacted with a high stick, and as you can see from the header pic, it looks pretty obvious. Here are a couple of replays, courtesy of Jason Botchford:

The puck contacts the blade of Hanzal’s stick, which is above his shoulders (and above the crossbar, as the header pic shows) for pretty much the entire clip, and deflects down through Miller’s 5-hole. Even logic would dictate that a player who stands about 6’7″ when he’s wearing skates carrying a stick at shoulder height would contact the puck more than 4 feet (the height of the crossbar) off the ice. For some reason, this play was deemed a good goal however, giving Arizona a 2-0 lead.

While that was an egregious error on behalf of the officials, what happened next was entirely the fault of the Canucks. Hanzal completed the natural hat trick a mere 9 seconds later after a terrible defensive breakdown in the neutral zone, and Shane Doan and Keith Yandle (though the goal may be credited to Rob Klinkhammer later) potted two more to give the visitors a 5-0 lead.

The Canucks wouldn’t again come close to threatening Devan Dubnyk at any point, as he was able to hold on for a 35-save shutout, raising his save percentage on the year from 0.879 to 0.913.

The Numbers

G17 v Arizona

Courtesy of NaturalStatTrick.com

More than anything, this was a brutal outing for Ryan Miller, as he stopped just 18 of 23 shots in the loss. The second Phoenix goal was just bad luck, but Miller has to make a save on the third Hanzal goal. Vancouver didn’t score for him so you can’t say he cost the Canucks the game, but at the same time, he has stopped fewer than 90% of the shots he’s faced in each of his last 3 outings, and his save percentage is down to a 0.902 on the season – not nearly good enough for an NHL starter. Miller didn’t give the Canucks a chance to win tonight like he has done most of the time this season, which is all you can reasonably ask a goalie to do.

The Sedins owned the puck against the Coyotes, as Vancouver outshot Arizona 12-0 when Daniel was on the ice, and 12-1 when Henrik was playing. Still, neither looked particularly dangerous as the ‘Yotes did a good job of flooding the slot with bodies and preventing any kind of dangerous scoring chance against.

There’s really not much more to say about this game. Vancouver out-played their opponent for the most part, weren’t good enough to generate any dangerous offense or lucky enough to get a bounce, and didn’t get a save when they needed it. They were on the opposite end of one of these games in San Jose not too long ago, and these things tend to balance out over time, so it’s best not to worry about one 5-0 loss too much.

After all, there are much larger concerns that are starting to loom.

The Conclusion

Vancouver is off for five days now, as they next play in Edmonton against the struggling Oilers on Wednesday and back home the very next night for a re-match against the Anaheim Ducks. Zack Kassian should be back in the lineup by then, which will help the bottom-6 a bit as Vancouver looks to get back in the win column.

As a pick-me-up, here’s a video of Jake Virtanen wearing a GoPro in the warmups for the Canada-Russia super series and making fun of Victoria Royals D Joe Hicketts for being short among other things. Enjoy.

  • In my best Don Cherry,

    Look folks, Beeska was not play in’ to his ability,!
    Ron
    Well he looked fine…

    Don
    Whatta you know! He was hobblin’ so the whole club was… They take their Q from Beeska! What next……

    Bad bad game and I have been pimpin’ Trev/Benning and the boys,l… Bad bad bad bad game…

    Great interview at the first period break Benning is genuine and quality. But uncomfortable with the lights in his eyes… The way it should be

  • Karma. This is the hockey gods form of karma. We won one against the Sharks that we shouldn’t have, and lost one to the Coyotes that we shouldn’t have. I guess it all pans out in the end.