Canucks Army Postgame – California Love

I’m not sure there’s any one formula for road success. The going theory in hockey lore, though, suggests you build an early lead, weather a storm and with the help of solid goaltending, leave the opposition’s building victorious. Vancouver was able to check all these items off their list, en route to an impressive 3-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks.

I’ll tell you how it all went down on the other side of the jump.


The Canucks driving force tonight was their fourth line. The scrappy trio of Alex Burrows, Bo Horvat and Derek Dorsett buzzed early and were involved physically throughout. It didn’t take long for their hard work to be rewarded. Horvat launched a prayer on net and the ensuing dog-pile somehow nudged the puck slowly past the Sharks goal-line. 

More encouragingly for Canucks fans though was the insurance goal scored by Radim Vrbata. All year the discussion surrounding the Canucks first line has centered on their inability to generate offense against tougher opponents, but they came through tonight.

That was the last of the Canucks three goals, which proved more than sufficient to leave the SAP Centre with the W. The Canucks were all too happy to enter a defensive shell for the remainder of the game, and while the shot totals are unflattering to say the least, they weren’t surrendering many 10-bell chances. 

Quick Hits

chart (6)

[ Recap] – [NHL Game Summary] – [NHL Faceoff Summary] – [Canucks TOI]

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[NaturalStatTrick Game Report] – [HockeyStats Game Report]

  • While I touched on the first lines inability to generate offense against more difficult teams already, there was a more concerning trend to emerge out of Vancouver’s first quarter on the team scale. The Canucks were often mentioned as making hay on weaker competition, while struggling to even look the part of a playoff team against the Kings and Sharks of the league. Tonight’s victory was able to at the very least ease these concerns, if only for a night.
  • Canucks fans were none too upset about the decision to keep Horvat with the big club. As the narrative goes, he’s nothing left to learn in junior and even the World Juniors offer little to his advantage in terms of development. In reality, he’s playing too damn well to be kept out of the lineup and it’s probably as simple as that. His faceoff prowess has been lauded since his introduction to the lineup, along with his stellar defensive play. It was nice to see a more offensively inclined Horvat tonight though, as he chipped in with his first goal in over a month.
  • Break out the tinfoil hats. Vancouver was called for not one, but two penalty shots tonight! Miller was able to shut the door, with a little help from the crossbar. 
  • Miller wasn’t as lucky on the second penalty shot. Joe Thornton worked his way in slowly, before going post and in for the Sharks only goal on the night.
  • One of the Canucks better defencemen tonight was Ryan Stanton. It’s encouraging to see the reliable defender regaining much of his form from last season. Better still were Stanton’s contributions tonight offensively. While he wasn’t rewarded for his efforts, Stanton had one near-break down the half-wall and was seen on a 2-on-1 with Dorsett much later in the game. Stanton showed another side to his game, completing several key breakout passes as well. He finished the night with 2 shots and a Corsi For of 53%.
  • How about that Jannik Hansen? The offense keeps coming for the pesky Dane, who’s on pace to shatter his points total from last season playing in a severely diminished role. Tonight, Hansen was flying at both ends. He provided the game winning goal, immediately after exiting the box for a questionable hit on Tommy Wingels. 

The Conclusion

The easy part is over. Next up for Vancouver is a Thursday night showdown with the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the L.A. Kings. In Vancouver’s last match-up with the Kings, they were lit up to the tune of 5-1. That said, the Kings did just lose to the Oilers tonight, so maybe Vancouver is catching them at their weakest. Can only hope so. Happy New Years and see you then!

Note: As we mentioned earlier today, we’re trying out some new looks to our game coverage. We won’t know what works and what doesn’t until we test it out, so let us know what you’d like to see and we can do to improve. Your feedback is appreciated!

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  • BubbaZanetti

    Hansen was playing like a man inspired by the first ever World Junior win by his home country.

    Big 4 pointer considering how hot the Sharks were at home and how tight the standings are getting. I suppose this one could also be considered a Miller steal, although our defensive zone coverage was the best I’ve seen in awhile. Funny how that works.

    Good on you JD for giving some back to Stanton. He also got an assist tonight on the first goal.

  • BubbaZanetti

    Giving the Sharks their only loss at home of the Month is sweet and is what makes me believe this team could be for real.

    The fight back was something that hasn’t been there for a while. Against Anahiem up 1-0 the Canucks and especially the Twins just sat back and took the Ducks best shots.. Puck wise and physically. This game when the Sharks started to try and push the team around they pushed back. Again no PP to speak of so 9-0 Cali teams on penalty calls… Guess they were just such clean games.

    Bet Bo was glad he was in SJose and not MTL right now. He really played well even tried a toe drag I don’t think he would have in the WJC. You can really see his confidence growing. He even made a slick pass to Burr the Sedins would have loved.

    Lastly, Weber needs to be put on medication! Hammy where are you?

  • BubbaZanetti

    As a fan of the Canucks, my feelings are damaged by the lack of love for my observation. However, at least Kassian has a slot to slide into for 2 or 3 games.
    Be realistic. Hansen delivered a head shot. He will be punished and should be. It is part of today’s game and nothing to cry about.

    except of course my poor, little feelings…

  • BubbaZanetti

    The editing on this blog lately has been absolutely atrocious. After money puck’s last article where he apparently couldn’t find the apostrophe button on his keyboard, now Burke is getting in on it. “One of the Canucks better defenceman tonight was Ryan Stanton.”

    Seriously. It hurts my eyes.

    • J.D. Burke

      You read the articles?

      Maybe I should give that a try.

      Although, seriously, poor editing is rampant on web articles. I find the TSN site the most offensive for it because, well, they probably have a bigger budget and can pay a proper editor. Or at least take a few minutes to give things a good proofing and set your articles apart from the rest. If I had the credentials I’d volunteer to do it myself because I too find certain errors annoying and detracting from the piece. We all make them though.

      NM00 and I had a few coherent suggestions last week during a discussion. Not to be repetitive, but since it’s being asked now, get the game day thread up in the morning. I’m pretty sure it will result in more people reading it and commenting. I can’t be the only person on the planet that gets his hockey dose while having my morning coffee. Then move on with my day from there.

      • J.D. Burke

        Lots of good stuff in the works. There’s a few things going on at Canucks Army HQ that I shan’t be divulging, but worry you not, getting the gameday posts up earlier is on our to-do list. As for TSN, ZOMG they drive me nuts with the constant spelling mistakes etc. I mean, really, with their budget?

        Thanks for the feedback. If you, or anyone else, has any more ideas or suggestions, please, let loose in the comments section.

        • J.D. Burke

          “If you, or anyone else, has any more ideas or suggestions, please, let loose in the comments section.”

          Too many blogger sentences have been ending with prepositions.

          Dmitri did that as well and he no longer blogs here.

          I suggest panhandling your mothers and hiring a tutor…

  • J.D. Burke

    i think it may have been a bad day for editing all around. the mainstream coverage today was full of typos(miller plays between the pies) as well. even gallagher mixed up his ‘it’s’ and ‘its’. oh well. we’ll live.

  • Larionov18

    I despise Joe Thornton, ever since the Henrik face washing during the discussion with the ref. Also and what really set me off was when he blew kisses to the crowd after he scored. Good hockey player but a shallow human being. End of rant.

  • Larionov18

    I despise Tommy Wingels, ever since the Daniel Sedin’s penalty on Wingels in Game 4 of the 2013 NHL Playoffs. Really? IMO Tommy Wingels has perfected the art of embellishment.