Canucks Army Postgame: Shootout in the Big Apple

With near parity in the bottom rungs of the Western Conference playoff ladder, tonight’s contest was just the first of what will surely become an almost endless streak of “must win” games for Vancouver. Facing a red-hot New York Rangers team, this presented a tall order for the undermanned Vancouver Canucks and their patchwork defense corps. 

Vancouver pushed play in the opening minute of the first, but waned as the clock ticked on an otherwise embarrassing first frame — one which saw Vancouver out-shot 14-4 and trailing 1-0. It was looking like the Canucks AHL blueline was in for a long night. With an early Shawn Matthias tally in the second though, the Canucks were able to shift into second gear and play the part of NHL equal for the remainder of the game. 

These clubs traded and goals and chances from that point forward, before a last minute marker from Captain Canuck himself, Henrik Sedin, knotted things at four, ensuring overtime. A fast-paced and open extra frame wasn’t enough to decide this one, leading to the dreaded gimmick shootout. The Canucks made quick work of the Rangers, beating them 2-0 in the shootout on Alex Burrows and Radim Vrbata goals. The final score 5-4 Vancouver.

Highlights

Quick Hits

chart (1)

shot plot

[Canucks.com Recap] [Official Event Summary] [Face-Off Report] [War-on-Ice Stat Pack] [NaturalStatTrick Stat Pack] [HockeyStats.ca Stat Pack]

  • Lets just go ahead and deal with the elephant in the room here: Ryan Miller had himself a rough night. At least two of the Rangers four-goals get filed under “wishes he had that one”. By that same token, I don’t feel the final score does justice to his performance on the whole though. Further to that point, every goal Miller surrendered was from an area we generally associate with high quality scoring chances. It’s not like they were blue-line floaters. Besides, Miller built plenty of equity on the strength of his great first period.  

  • Hat-tip to Willie D for an ultra-aggressive approach to tying tonight’s contest. With just under five minutes left in the third, Desjardins iced a group of four forwards with the one defenceman. With time winding down and the Canucks needing a late equalizer, I can’t help but appreciate the ingenuity displayed with this decision. Desjardins followed this up by pulling the goalie earlier than usual. Whatever magic Willie was working paid off, as the Canucks would tie it with exactly 2-minutes left in the third.

  • Not exactly an illuminating first performance from B.C. born, Canucks depth forward, Brandon MacMillan. The waiver wire pick-up was more-or-less invisible. I didn’t notice any glaring errors, and that surely counts for something from a 13th (?) forward in his first game with a new club. The underlying data would suggest MacMillan was struggling to push play, posting a 33% Corsi for. It was interesting to see MacMillan used on the penalty kill. Clearly he’s earned the trust of Desjardins, having iced nearly two-minutes shorthanded tonight. 
  • Another great performance for the Sedins tonight. The Twins each had a Rel. Fenwick of 20.67% on the night and combined for four-points. Interestingly enough, the two traded traditional roles, with Henrik potting two-goals and Daniel playing the role of playmaker on both. The two have combined for 15-points in February alone. Daniel has already surpassed his point total from last season with his two assists tonight. Henrik is tied with last year’s 50-point mark. This, with well over 20-games left in the season.
  • I have to say, I’ve been very impressed with Alex Biega’s game since joining Vancouver. Admittedly, I knew very little about the diminutive stay-at-home defenseman from Utica before his arrival with the big club. Rarely do I notice Biega and for a defenceman playing 17-minutes in just his second NHL game, that counts for something. Biega was second to only Luca Sbisa (yes, seriously) in Corsi For% on the night, with a solid 57% showing.

Conclusion

Ain’t no complaining with tonight’s results. It won’t be long before the Canucks get a chance to build on them either, playing the New Jersey Devils in less than 24-hours from now, too. The familiarity tour continues, as it will be former Canucks netminder, Cory Schneider who is likely in net for the Devils tomorrow night. See ya then!

  • Mantastic

    Screw the tank. With games this entertaining and a squad that plays like it actually gives a crap go playoffs go. Kenins, Horvat, Matthias, Burrows, Vrbata, the Sedins, Hamhuis, Clendenning and Sbisa (!!!) looked really strong today. Forget what forwards we sit when they’re healthy I’m hoping this means Bieksa can stay off the ice. Thank god Lack SHOULD get the start tomorrow. And talk about some killer SO moves — that’s a nice change of pace.

  • Mantastic

    That was a fun game to watch. Sure Miller let four in, but he made the saves that counted in the shootout. Let’s hope a guy like Kenins can keep playing well and not flame-out Jason King style.

  • Ruprecht

    I just want to give some credit to Travis Green for sending us up kids that are game ready. I think some of the difference in depth we’re seeing has to do with a coach in the minors that can see who’s going, and who can keep it going up with the big club. That has a lot to do with having a minor league team with a good coach that knows his guys, and who to recommend for call ups. The best part is that it’s translating into wins at a crucial time in the season.

    • Larionov18

      Again its not cup or bust…there are 30 teams competing and only 1 cup a year. Regular season wins are fun too…I know your Oilers stink so Its been driven in that if another team does not win the cup their season was as bad as the Oilers..No it was not. Hope is fun. Being bereft of hope..not so much.

    • Spiel

      The same will be true for 8 of the 16 teams that make the playoffs. What is your point? Every team should try to not win? At least in the playoffs a team controls their own destiny.

      A draft lottery, is just that – a lottery.
      Even dead last is more likely to pick 2nd overall than 1st overall.

  • wojohowitz

    As the Rangers commentators said… gutsy performance by a depleted Canucks team!

    Couple of bone headed plays but after a VERY slow start, the boys came together and went toe to toe.

    I know Kassian doesn’t play consistent D, but he was clicking with Mattias and Dorsett. Let them keep it going!

    Hats off to Bo, who is getting better every night and Hanson that has been flying all year!

  • wojohowitz

    I think the Seguin-Benn comments have lit a fire under the twins. They have been dissed and it seems to have motivated them. Tonight was another game where real hockey fans would appreciate them for what they can do.

  • Steampuck

    Controversial question: forget what “line” he’s centring, could Horvat net 20 next year? Which would be, like, 15 more than anyone might have guessed even a couple of months ago…

      • Steampuck

        I saw that. But a number of his goals have been of the high-percentage, shovel-in variety. He goes to the net and has his stick on the ice. I’d expect some regression next year on the shooting percentage, but as his confidence continues to grow, so should the volume of shots. I’m not saying he will score 20 next season, but 8 goals in 43 games is already punching well above the weight of expectations many of us had for him this year.

  • Larionov18

    Great game! Although Hamhuis was pretty weak on the St. Louis goal. Anyway, hope we make the playoffs. Sure we might lose first round, but the only teams I’m really worried about are LA and Dallas. Call me optimistic but I feel we have a chance against anyone else.