Well, the good news is that no one is going to remember tonight’s game, especially after the wonderful ceremony honouring Jean Beliveau held pre-game. The bad news is that just after a poor showing coughing up a 3-0 lead to the Ottawa Senators on Sunday, the Canucks somehow managed to be worse tonight, losing 3-1 to the Montreal Canadiens.
Read past the jump for a recap of tonight’s proceedings.
After a stirring and well done tribute to Jean Beliveau lead off tonight’s proceedings, Vancouver picked up right where they left off against the Ottawa Senators and absolutely got their lunch fed to them. Nick Bonino had a good chance as a puck bounced to him at the side of the net, but a sprawling Carey Price robbed him on the goal line with his blocker. From there, it was all Habs. They were dominant at even strength and drew more penalties than the Canucks too, leading to a big edge in PP time.
Montreal had a good chance to draw first blood early in the second period when Alex Galchenuk pulled the puck out of a net front scramble on a 5-on-3, but he fired wide. The Canadiens would keep pressuring Vancouver however, until Brendan Gallagher peeled off the half boards and fired a fluttering wrister over Ryan Miller’s glove to give the home side a 1-0 lead.
Soon after though, on another Habs powerplay, Jannik Hansen was able to corral a bouncing puck that was fired down the ice by Kevin Bieksa and find a streaking Derek Dorsett. Dorsett tapped the puck by Carey Price, pulling Vancouver into a tie:
The goal seemed to stop the bleeding for Vancouver as they were able to limit some of Montreal’s 5-on-5 effectiveness, but the Habs kept coming and kept generating scoring chances seemingly at will. Max Pacioretty for one hit the post on a shorthanded 3-on-1, and PK Subban walked Derek Dorsett and Brad Richardson late in the period, setting up a Sven Andrighetto near miss.
Alex Galchenyuk, who was a monster all night, missed a couple of chances in the 3rd period too. The first saw a cross-crease pass go through his feet, and the second saw him miss the net on a backhander after throwing some nifty moves on Vancouver’s defense.
The Canucks were completely unable to muster anything in terms of offensive punch and hardly threatened Cary Price in the third, so it seemed like only a matter of time until Montreal broke through once again. Sure enough, after a turnover at the offensive blue line, Sven Andrighetto and Tomas Plekanec broke free on a 2-on-1 with Alex Burrows and Luca Sbisa chasing. Neither Burrows nor Sbisa could catch Plekanec as he broke to the net, receiving the pass from Andrighetto with ease and flipping the puck over Ryan Miller to put the Habs ahead 2-1.
Max Pacioretty would add an empty net goal with less than a second on the clock which had no effect on the game as the puck wasn’t even dropped for the last faceoff. Canucks drop one they clearly deserved to lose by a 3-1 final.
Courtesy of NaturalStatTrick
This one was bad from start to finish. Not only did Vancouver get drilled on defense, but they were completely unable to generate any sort of sustained pressure on the Habs. Just four Canucks players were on the ice for 10 or more shot attempts for: Kevin Bieksa, Luca Sbisa, Alex Burrows, and Chris Higgins. Unfortunately, both Bieksa and Sbisa were also drilled on D, as both finished the night in the 30% range for Corsi.
Don’t let the gaudy blocked shot numbers fool you, Chris Tanev and Alex Edler were miserable tonight. Edler was +4/-17 (19.1%) Corsi, while Tanev wasn’t much better at +6/-14 (30%). It’s nice that they combined for 9 blocks on the night, but there was absolutely nothing going the other way in terms of offense.
Derek Dorsett was also similarly slaughtered, going +3/-20 (!!!) in 12:29 of even strength ice time. Oddly enough, linemate Bo Horvat had the 3rd best Corsi on Vancouver for the night, but even he carried a poor 41% on the evening.
Daniel and Henrik Sedin also had an uncharacteristically poor night as they were dominated by the five man unit of Brendan Gallagher, Alex Galchenyuk, Max Pacioretty, Andrei Markov, and PK Subban. Daniel and Henrik were -12 and -9 for shot attempts at 5v5, combined for just 3 attempts themselves, and only saw their team fire two shots at the Habs net all night when they were on the ice.
Vancouver has three much needed days off until their next game, which sees Alain Vigneault return to Vancouver with the New York Rangers on Saturday night. It’s also a pretty slack schedule coming up, as the Canucks play just 4 games in the next two weeks, and all are at home. The team looks exhausted and pretty futile right now, so a few days rest is just what the doctor ordered. Not the sleep doctor though, since they fired him. Maybe they could have used his advice on this road trip.