That was actually an impressive turtle shell defense by Maroon pic.twitter.com/d1xzxVjVyW
— Wyatt Arndt (@TheStanchion) March 10, 2015
As the saying goes: you have to be good to be lucky. For the second consecutive contest against a Californian team, the Vancouver Canucks found themselves on the favorable side of that adage, stealing a home contest against the Anaheim Ducks 2-1. Despite being outplayed for the vast majority of tonight’s contest, hemorrhaging shots and scoring chances alike for the first 50-minutes, opportunistic play from Vancouver’s youngsters and a stonewall performance from Eddie Lack were enough to drag the Canucks to victory.
Lets break it all down on the other side of the jump.
- As has become commonplace of late, the Canucks relied heavily on their goaltending in tonight’s victory. Lack hasn’t necessarily been spectacular since taking over for the injured Ryan Miller. There’s been flashes of brilliance, sure. Also some signs of the same goaltender who struggled under these same pressures towards the end of last season. We’re beginning to see much more of the former though and that bodes well for the Canucks playoff hopes. Vancouver hasn’t been overly accommodating of their budding netminder. Last season he was mercilessly thrown to the wolves and played into the dirt. This season, Lack has had to go three weeks at a time between starts, before an injury to Miller forced him into the spotlight. I’ve been very impressed by the way Lack’s handled it all this season. Hate to be that guy, but if he keeps it up we might just be ushering in another off-season of goalie controversy.
- Is anyone else beginning to miss Latvian Lightning? The Canucks bottom-six seems a bit jumbled without him. The fourth line has been struggling mightily to drive possession in his absence. When together, Bo Horvat and Ronalds Kenins are driving play to the tune of 53%. Without Kenins, Horvat’s possession is at a paltry 41.5%. There’s a little something there between these two, you think?
- Tonight was definitely one of Zack Kassian’s more memorable moments as a Canuck. In the first, it was Kassian who exacted revenge on Ryan Kesler for his cheap shot on Derek Dorsett just one contest earlier, catching Public Enemy No.1 with his head down for a clean and thunderous hit. The following period Kassian was goaded into a “tussle” by Patrick Maroon, who proceeded to turtle almost immediately as the Kassquatch let loose on him – the only downer being that this play cost the Canucks a power play. Then it was Kassian in the third, who weaved perfectly between defenders to create a passing lane for Dan Hamhuis to set his game winning goal up with.
Maroon dropping his gloves after the linesman stepped in was rather telling.
— Pass it to Bulis (@passittobulis) March 10, 2015
Patrick Maroon is eager to go with a guy who’s 3 inches shorter and 30 lbs lighter, but turtles when he sees Kassian. Ya lol okay bud
— CanucksArmy (@CanucksArmy) March 10, 2015
- The Canucks had 16-shots tonight. That’s not a typo. Certainly not scorekeepers bias, what with the Canucks playing at Rogers Arena and all. Considering all that’s at stake, it’s been surprising to see the slumber in which the Canucks hit the ice to start these games of late. The Canucks probably out-possessed their shot totals, but it’s an alarming number all the same. Eventually these kind of discrepancies in shot totals catch up. Almost did for the Canucks tonight.
#Canucks outshooting Ducks 5-1 since Anaheim tied the game. Nice push back.
— Vancouver Canucks (@VanCanucks) March 10, 2015
- Did Alex Edler and Chris Tanev miss each other? Well, they led all Canucks defencemen in Corsi For% tonight. With these two healthy, the Canucks can ice a legitimate shutdown first-pairing. Dan Hamhuis is mired in a less than stellar season, although in his defense, recovering from a torn groin mid-season can’t be an easy task – nor can be playing with Luca Sbisa as often as he is. In his stead, it’s been a steady dose of Tanev and Edler on shutdown duty. They haven’t disappointed, posting a GF of 57% and Corsi For of 53%. None too shabby.
Tonight’s win wasn’t pretty, but they all count the same at the end of the season anyways. Besides, taking on a California team, Vancouver will surely take ’em any way they can get ’em. Doubly so when Kesler plays for that team.
Next up are the Los Angeles Kings and the opportunity to get three straight wins against Californian squads on Thursday night.