Canucks Army Post-game: The Matt Bart-wow-ski Show

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Matt Bartkowski has played in 137 NHL games. 

Sure, he only has one regular season goal… but we all start somewhere, right? Praise be the new defenseman. 

Final Score: Edmonton 2-1 Vancouver (OT)

Matt Bartkowski, when with the Boston Bruins, was a magical mystery to watch every night. 

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He’d make some really weird choices for an offensive-minded blue liner, lose the puck (in a very Keith Yandle kind of way, which is not a good thing), then never actually score – but with his first regular season goal only two weeks into his first season with Vancouver, you have to hope things are turning around for the Pittsburgh native. 

Plus, he looked really excited. Let’s take that excitement and run away with the Pacific Division on pity points, shall we?

The Rundown

The Edmonton Oilers got pretty outplayed by Vancouver throughout the entire game; I actually watched the whole game (and didn’t even check the stats graphs until regulation had ended), and the eye test pretty much matched the numbers. 

Brandon Sutter was fairly invisible throughout most of the game, Luca Sbisa and Justin Schultz cancelled each other out, and Ben Hutton was a perfect piece to the blue line puzzle who deserves much, much nicer things than Sbisa as a defensive pairing. 

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I don’t want to further the sentiment that goaltending is voodoo, but Ryan Miller came dangerously close to extending his streak of never losing to the Oilers – despite being the less effective of the two goaltenders tonight. Anders Nilsson, who was a struggling hot mess express while with the New York Islanders a few years back, had eyes on the puck throughout the entire game – while Ryan Miller made 22 floppy Ryan Miller-esque saves and somehow eked out a pity point for his team. 

Edmonton had a few flashy looks from Connor McDavid throughout the game – including one that translated into a goal for Russian interview legend Nail Yakupov – and Taylor Hall looked great. The Canucks managed to outpossess and outshoot Edmonton by a wide margin, though, and it was really only Anders Nilsson’s weirdly incredible game that kept this from being a 7-1 score in favor of the Canucks. 

Oh, wait… there was also that one thing: 

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Anyways, Lauri Korpikoski scored the overtime-winning goal and Daniel Sedin seems to have forgotten how to be clutch. 

The Stats


As I said, Vancouver should have won this game. Anyways. 

The Good

Can I mention one more time how much I loved Ben Hutton tonight? I mean, this is quickly becoming just “I love Ben Hutton”, but we’re still early in the season – so I’ll try to slow my roll for now.

Kid did all the work of two defensemen, since nothing totally disastrous happened when he was out on the ice and he spent a nice chunk of time with Luca Sbisa. 

I know that our good friend and fellow Canucks Army writer Josh Weissbock said that if we’re surprised by Hutton, we haven’t been paying attention – but it’s still a pleasant surprise to see a rookie looking so confident and effective right off the jump. He looked great all night, and that’s becoming an extremely regular thing. 

The Bad


Canucks still sit in second in the Pacific Division, but they’re now tied points-wise with San Jose (thank you, pity point!). They’ve lost two in a row (as have the Arizona Coyotes), but the rest of the division started off the season by diving headlong off a cliff – so with good possession numbers and that nice points buffer that they, Arizona, and San Jose built, things are still fine in Vancouver. 

On to the next one. 

    • Goon

      I’ve never seen an article focus so much on a defensive defenseman and analytics to skirt the fact they lost to the Oilers…You sound just like us Oiler fans when MacT said we “look better visually” hopefully it doesnt take the Canucks as long as us to make it back from the bottom cause make no mistake…its where the Nucks are headin…See ya at the post season point totals.

  • Goon

    Why are you oilers fans trolling around here? Don’t you have some frozen murky river to fish in? I guess it has been 2 years since you eked out a win against the canucks but why do you have to be such douches. You finally beat Ryan Miller.. now go home.

    • Larionov18


      After years – years! – of tolerating Canuck fans coming to the Oiler site to ridicule and condescend after every Canuck victory, it’s kinda nice to be able to return the sentiments.

      Enjoy the last bits of Canuck success before the full-on rebuild kicks in. We’ll be waiting for you at the other end.

  • First….. I really can’t understand why Hanson is ever paired with the Sedins? He isn’t s goal scorer! He is at his best in a 3rd line role playing defense and using that to create chances.

    Second… Vrbata is snake bit right now. He has had so many close calls as did many Canucks tonight. Those shots will start going in

    • A lot of Canucks had some great chances. Daniel, Sven and Vrbata all had great chances. The stats say and eye test say the Canucks should have won but they ended up on the losing end. These things happen in pro-sports. It almost looked like the Canucks had another slow start and let the Coil dictate play then react to it. They do this way too often instead of taking the game to the opponent.

      I liked a lot of Virtanen’s play but I think he and McCann need to do their 9 games then go back down to junior. They look pretty decent but I think, mentally, they could use a bit more developing.

      That will leave a spot for Higgins and someone from Utica.

  • Larionov18

    Willie’s stubborness to play 9 and 15 instead of a real hockey players is concerning. Virt had heck of a game and still played under 10 mins. Bae looked good, had a great assist and too played a little more than 10 mins. But 9 and 15 had almost 13 each. Wrecking ball from Jake in the second was pure gold.

    • Dirty30

      I’m not sure what WD is thinking about when it comes to player deployment, nor am I certain if he sees the game on the ice unfolding differently from the rest of us. If he’s thinking he can win the SC with the Plodders rather than the Prospects then he should take his broken ass home and have Vey drive him around on the riding mower.

      A team like the Oilers is a perfect time to let the young guys loose and match up some speed and skill. What do you need the Plodders for when there’s no one like Backes out there slamming your young guys — even when he was out there in a previous game, the Plodders didn’t respond.

      Maybe Coach is hoping one of the Plodders gets run over by the Zamboni (neither can skate faster than the behemoth) and he gets to keep a Prospect.

      I think he’s just pissed Vey is gone and is taking it out on the Prospects.

  • The team in general looked inconsistent, including Hutton and Bartkowski as well as the whole kid line. That Dorsett penalty was terrible and if we really are supposed to be rewarding play with ice time then I don’t see how they don’t sit him at some point. None of the kids have shown they deserve to be benched — I’d rotate Bartkowski (or if I’m being honest Hamhuis) out for Weber at some point. While Sbisa’s pinch on McDavid made him look bad and like it led to that first goal, I get why they were doing it — closing the gaps on him as the d were doing all night made him far less effective than against Calgary.

    As someone else said Nilsson’s the reason this game was even close, that and Daniel deciding to pull a Patrik Stefan on that empty net.

  • Larionov18

    Next three games are going to be tough. Caps, Wings and Habs. We should know who this team is after those three. Not sure which play was worse…the Colts fake punt or Danny chipping it over the empty net. Oilers appear to have two very good goalies. What is up with that? I miss Scrivens.

  • Trigger Ben

    Did the ice-making team at the rog have a major fail yesterday? Because that puck was bouncing around wildly pretty much all night. Makes for fun chippy pond hockey but really seems to increase the luck&random side of the sport.

  • Larionov18

    Fun game to watch. Good goaltending kept the Oil in it. Very entertaining hockey to watch. Lots of back and forth. Little clutching and grabing. Few whistles. Canucks were the better team but that’s the way it goes.

    Vrbata is doomed. Daniel felt sorry for the Oilers. Miller was hexed by the #13.

    Lots of talk about how the Oil got better during the off season. I don’t see it. Petry and Marincin replaced by Sekeras and Rheinhart. No improvement there. Gordon was let go. Scrivens salary buried in the minors. Nikitin buried in the minors. Oilers lack 3 of 4 top defensemen and 2 top 6 forwards. Goaltending appears to be better. We’ll see about that mid season.

      • wojohowitz

        Well now, Salty McSalterton, you sure showed everyone who thought McDavid was going to be a bad hockey player what’s what.

        Wait, who thought he wasn’t going to be a good hockey player?

        I really don’t get you most of the time. You’re all salt and just coming around to tell us all how stupid we are. Do you have nothing better to do?

  • wojohowitz

    Willie seems to have too much on his plate, meaning he is not seeing what everyone else is seeing. The Canucks have three players with a -3 on the +/- rating. Dorset is not a surprise – he`s all try but not much for results. He serves his purpose but does not warrant more ice time. Vrbata is also -3 with no goals on 25 shots. His ice time should be cut back until he finds his game. Maybe by moving him up or down the line up with different line mates. The comparison there is McCann with 2 goals on only 6 shots. The third player is Horvat with a -3. He is struggling and maybe the `Kid Line` is the answer if Willie would only give them some regular shifts or maybe he needs a couple of veterans for wingers – like Burrows and Hansen. Willie needs to shake things up rather than throwing out the same line combinations and getting the same results. Not to mention the PP.

  • andyg

    Full marks to the Oilers. It was a fast,fun game to watch. McDavid looks like the real deal!This just reminds me that I would prefer it if we were to miss the playoffs. I do not think it is wise for an organization to openly tank but if things went a little sideways and we ended up drafting in the top ten,lets just say,it won’t break my heart.

    Our long term future is our youth and continuing to stock pile talent would be for the best. I find that when I watch a game I don’t care about weather we win or lose but my focus is on how our prospects do. I know that they need to be surrounded by veteran players to show them the way but still hope that we move some UFA’s latter this year for picks.

    Most fans only want to watch a winning team. I would rather watch a team that was developing a future young core that could challenge for the cup.

  • Dirty30

    The Canucks are still a good team that plays with structure and deserved the win but the Oilers won a game they would have lost last year. The Sedins are still very good players and the Oilers were on a back to back so the Canucks should have won going away. A first NHL goal by Bartowski has to be exciting for the guy very cool. I see better games between these two clubs moving forward.