Canucks Army Postgame #6: The Walking Dead

postgame 6

When we look back on the 2016-17 season, we may very well say that October 23rd was the night the Canucks came back down to earth. It was the same script we’ve seen before. The Canucks were down after two periods and began to mount a comeback in the third. Unfortunately, tonight we got a more realistic ending, as the Canucks’ hopes were dashed and they fell to 4-1-1.

STATS:

chart (4)

chart (5)

FIRST PERIOD:

The scoring came early in this one, as Andrew Cogliano took advantage of some shoddy defensive coverage to put the Ducks up 1-0 with just 33 seconds into the game:

From then on, it was all Ducks. The Canucks failed to register a shot on net for almost 15 minutes of play, and Anaheim had the lion’s share of the scoring chances and hits. In spite of it all, the Canucks were able to come out of the first period tied 1-1, thanks to a fantastic shorthanded effort by Bo Horvat that came, oddly enough, with just 33 seconds left in the first frame:

SECOND PERIOD:

Once again, the beginning of the period was not kind to the Canucks, as Cam Fowler was able to get the puck through a maze of players and into the back of the net just 18 seconds into the second: 

The next 19 and a half minutes didn’t go any better for the Canucks. They struggled to create offence and were porous defensively. The score remained 2-1, thanks mostly to Ryan Miller, who’d faced 30 shots by that point.  

THIRD PERIOD: 

The Canucks were able to mount pressure early, resulting in the Ducks taking a penalty. The Sedins weren’t able to capitalize on the ensuing powerplay, but after a trademark shift by the Twins, they were able to tie the game.

Unfortunately, that was as close as the Canucks came to a comeback. Goals by Nick Ritchie and Corey Perry sealed the win for the Ducks, and the first regulation loss of the season for the Canucks.

NOTES: 

– I think it’s about time we addressed this once and for all: We were wrong about Bo Horvat. No, not just Canucks Army. Everyone. Horvat’s goal-scoring ability was clearly underestimated in the blogosphere, but his defensive ability has likely been greatly exaggerated by the mainstream hockey media. Horvat was rocking an ugly 31% Corsi for, but he also scored a beautiful goal and created a couple of chances tonight. I think it’s high time Willie Desjardins takes a good hard look at putting Bo in more offensive situations. 

– Loui Eriksson had himself a pretty strong game tonight, getting assists on both of the Canucks’ goals tonight. The coaching staff seems to be having trouble figuring out just where he fits into the lineup, and after seeing the shift he played with Bo Horvat on the PK, I’d like to see a bit more of that combination. Horvat and Baertschi are both young players looking to create offence in an increased role while keeping their heads above water defensively, so I’d think a veteran two-way forward like Eriksson would be a natural fit on that line. 

– Nick Ritchie had himself a great game riding shotgun with Getzlaf and Perry. Their line controlled just under 90% of the shot-attempts at even-strength, and Ritchie also scored the game winner. It was a dominant performance for the 2014 first round pick. Word around the time of the Ryan Kesler trade was that the Canucks desperately wanted the Ducks’ 10th overall pick as part of the return, but Ducks GM Bob Murray steadfastly refused. That’s looking like a wise decision. 

-Now seems like as good a time as any to note that the only tangible piece that remains on the Canucks from that deal is Luca Sbisa. Oh well. 

-Kevin Bieksa may not be the player he once was, but he’s still the same old jokester, and he provided us with a great line during the second intermission: 

Rogers’ Hometown Hockey was in Val D’Or this week, so they ran a wonderful feature on departed Canuck Luc Bourdon. It’s a great piece that features interviews with some former teammates including Alex Burrows and Chris Letang. We still miss you, Luc. 

  • Larionov18

    What is up with Jake. He does not hit anything and Nick Ritchie is a wrecking ball. The Ducks pushed the Canucks around all night and Jake was as soft as Mayray. Did we draft Mayray 2.0. Nylander is 6th in scoring. I don’t get it. He is not even playing like a 4th line winger

  • krutov

    rant on/

    that was the canucks we have come to know in the playoffs since 2011. big teams are going to do that to the canucks until it does not work or the refs call the game. and it is going to work until the coaches keep the sedins on the pine. i don’t blame the sedins for effort, but they can’t answer the bell so others have to play and they must not play like the sedins. guys like horvat need to show up for these games and mix it up. and he did not. at all. nor virtanen. nor erikkson. nor sutter. nor granlund.

    unfortunately, the defencemen took the brunt of the resulting punishment. edler, tanev, sbisa and larsen were destroyed over the last two games. edler should not have been on the ice in the last 5 minutes of the third because he was exhausted. tanev looks concussed.

    on the bright side, gudbranson was solid, and hutton barely hung on. gaunce was the best i’ve seen and can play this kind of game. baertschi showed more than i expected. hansen can play.

    next time we play la or the ducks we have to dress the toughest lineup we can and play the sedins only on power plays and offensive zone face offs until the third period. they cannot play a regular shift against that anymore.

    rant off/

  • wojohowitz

    That was kind of weird. On the first goal it`s a good thing the zamboni door wasn`t open because Edler and Tanev would of needed tickets to get back in. On the second goal maybe the Canucks thought it was still the warm up. On the third goal it was all; Where`s the puck. Anybody seen the puck. And on the fourth goal it was like that Calgary judge said; Keep your knees together and maybe you won`t get into these predicaments.

  • GLM

    When you say that Bo’s “defensive ability has likely been greatly exaggerated by the mainstream hockey media” because he posted a 31% corsi tonight, why should I believe you?

    Wasn’t it just a week ago Ryan Biech tweeted that Bo was a “58.3% corsi for with 18.1% offensive zone starts”.

    It’s a pet peeve of mine that like half of the CA writers do, and it’s making statements with the assumption it should already be accepted as fact (like every article I’ve read on the Gudbranson trade).

    It’s entirely possible you are right, but please don’t nonchalantly drop a statement that’s essentially saying the pro scouts and coaches are wrong and don’t even know Bo’s strengths, and thinking that mentioning a stat with no context is enough to support the claim.

    So please, if you do decide to make these kind of big statements, support your theory with a well thought out argument, thanks.

  • EddyC

    You do know that was their 6th game in 9 days with a back to back to end it? Any one who doesn’t think getting 9 of a possible 12 points in 6 games in 9 days has no business calling themselves a FAN. Please CA get some writers that are at least fans of the team.

  • tru north

    Hey Jackson!

    You said …
    “Now seems like as good a time as any to note that the only tangible piece that remains on the Canucks from that deal is Luca Sbisa. Oh well.”

    Oh well …
    Now seems like as good a time as any to note that … that statement is unbelievably biased and displays either your lack of knowledge or integrity.

    In truth, that deal also played into Sutter and Gudbranson, unless they’re part of the ‘intangibles’ you can’t recognize.

  • Rodeobill

    That was a hard game to watch. We just got beat up in every regard. It looked like the whole time everyone was playing scared. Worst game in a long time Ive seen from Tanev and Edler. It felt like the whole game we were trying to “defend” a one goal deficit.

    If we are keeping stecher and subban down because they cant clear the crease or hit or win puck battles… well gues what? neither can most of our present Defense too, at least they could maybe bring a different element to the table.

    Man did we ever get bullied. with LA too, but worse this game.

    Hopefully they can reset themselves with a day off.

  • DJ_44

    It was not pretty. However, playing LA and the Anahiem within a 24 hours span was always going to be brutal.

    We also had Biega on the wing…..and it definitely showed. Time for call-ups. LaBate might not have looked out of place last night.

    Edler was brutal defensively, and Tanev was not at his usually best.

    I also could not believe that, during the PP in the third when Vermette denied the pass to the Larsen, the Canucks looked baffled. They can do better.

    Once again, I thought the Sbisa-Larsen pairing looked pretty good.

  • TheRealPB

    I only watched the first and second and the Canucks failed the advanced stats test, the eye test, the ear test, the nose test and pretty much every other one. That was an unqualified stinker. The only line that semi held its own was the Sutter line. Not sure what’s going on with the Sedins but other than one or two shifts each game they are looking slow and more problematically out of sync — far too many missed passes or poor breakouts. Horvat and Baertschi I still thought looked good but Virtanen as the broadcast crew said was playing far too soft for a guy his size and speed. Hutton looks like the rookie he rarely displayed last year and — again as the crew said — if ever there was a game to dress Tryamkin it would have been one of these. Larsen is ok as a puck mover but is targeted by the other team and paired with someone like Sbisa who needs to get it to his partner to be effective is basically just served up for a big hit. I don’t think we should get any more down about these two losses than we should have gotten up for the four wins but far more troubling was the underlying play which was bad. It’s a long season still, but these kinds of performances need to be learned from and changed in terms of personnel and structure (of which the Canucks had precious little last night).

  • chinook

    Another brutal game summary by Canucks Army. No critique of the Edler-Tanev duo. Didn’t slam Sbisa once, unless one counts the faulty reference to the Kesler trade. Failed to highlight the Sedin’s game stats. A shoddy effort.

  • JuiceBox

    Yeah that was pretty much a laugher right form puck-drop, oh well. We knew they weren’t going to finish the season with a zero in the loss column.

    About 2 minutes in I stopped caring about the outcome and tried to focus on how individual players were playing. Two guys that I have really tried to focus on in the last three games are Eriksson and Larsen.

    Eriksson works hard, plays hard, and is great at finding open ice in offensive zone he just needs more time to adjust to a new team and build chemistry with the guys. I don’t know about anybody else but I thought the Horvat/Virtanen/Eriksson line to start the game in LA was a disaster.

    Larsen had a rough game in Buffalo, a so/so start to the game in LA but he got much better as the game went on, and I thought he had a pretty good game last night considering how badly the Canucks got outplayed. He is such a great skater and his passing and vision are excellent, but he is definitely struggling to adjust to smaller ice and it is most apparent on the powerplay. Teams penalty killing is so aggressive in the NHL, you can see he is struggling with less ice and time to make decisions. I know some guys on here were really not happy with his first 3 games, but I’ve seen game-over-game improvement in him, we need to give him some time.

    6 games in 9 nights to start the season is tough and they came out 4-1-1, much better than we all expected. The next three game set is Ottawa, Edmonton, Washington then they get 3 days off. With 3 games in the next 9 days hopefully they get a chance to catch their breath and get in some practice time.

  • Killer Marmot

    When we look back on the 2016-17 season, we may very well say that October 23rd was the night the Canucks came back down to earth.

    Bull droppings. The Canucks have played six games in nine days, and two games within 25 hours against strong teams. Starting Saturday’s game at 7 PM and Sunday’s at 5 PM was particularly brutal.

    They just need a day’s rest at home and they’ll be back on their horse, galloping towards the playoffs.

  • Steampuck

    This was a schedule loss before the puck was even dropped. The solitary disappointment/pressure came from their vaunted results to date and that a loss would sully them. Some tired bodies out there. A few, but not enough, good individual efforts, but only in fits and starts.

    Virtanen looks like he’s running scared: as though the next mistake he makes will see him benched and/or sent to Utica. You almost want WD to tap him on the shoulder midway through the game and say: “I appreciate the responsible play, kid. You’ve got one minute to go full-on wrecking ball. Let’s see what you can do.”

    • JuiceBox

      That’s a good observation about JV and now that I think about, I saw the same thing. He is playing like he is afraid to make a mistake. The Canucks have to walk the fine line with him. They need to let him know that they want him to play his game but he needs to play it smart. That tough/borderline play is what makes him who he is as a player and he plays his best hockey when he is playing loose and free; the last thing the Canucks would want to do is scare that out of him. Getting soundly outplayed last night, it wouldn’t have hurt the team if JV went “full-on wrecking ball” and stirred $h!t up. If a team is going to get out played like that, at least make it known that they aren’t going to go down easy. I hate to say it, but they needed to show some truculence. JV is the very definition of the word. Which brings me to another point. That game was pretty much a schedule loss, why didn’t they play Tryamkin? Last night seemed like the right time to get him some game time. If the Canucks hope to compete with the heavier teams, having Tryamkin in the line-up would (at least for optics sake) look like a good idea. I don’t know about his English skills but I’m sure he can understand “don’t take poop from anybody” and in a blow-out game like that it doesn’t hurt having a 6’6″ 240(??) D-Man pushing guys around.

      • Steampuck

        I heard/read somewhere that Tryamkin had some serious fitness issues. Is that right? That might explain his continued absence. But I don’t know. You’re right, though: you’d think he was tailor-made to play against the bigger, slower Ducks.

    • RIP

      Totally agree on the Vrtanan comment. It is very frustrating to watch actually. I also think it is an effort issue from him. He needs to drive the net more, win 1 on 1 battles more and as you say be given the freedom to hit but also make offensive mistakes.

      I wonder how much more of this kind of play from Vrtanan will limit his ceiling? His stock is on the decline and it should be going the other direction like Ritchie. It was great to compare the two last night actually. Similar backgrounds and abilities.

    • TheRealPB

      If we are really going to have “schedule loss” games then at least let’s try to better prepare for it. Tryamkin, as others said, would be a good person to get in there. Additionally, 6 games in 9 nights to open the season doesn’t seem like it should be much of a strain to anyone except perhaps the Sedins and Eriksson who’ve been playing for an additional month (I guess Markstrom and Sbisa too). Virtanen sat the two games before LA and Biega hadn’t played. Rodin can’t come back quickly enough for me, just to inject some more creativity into the lineup. Rodin with Baertschi and Horvat, keep the Sutter line intact, and hope the Sedins can pull out of this. Fourth line of Gaunce with Dorsett and Burrows and if those two remain shelved then Skille and call up Grenier. Biega should get sent down.

    • I’d send him to Utica before he gets “oilerized” and totally ruined. Let him do his thing in the AHL against lesser opponents. Mistakes are more forgiving there and each mistake won’t be plastered on the front of the Province or Vancouver Sun. The AHL updated their roster rules to emphasize the fact that they’re a development league. Virtanen should be there, not here.

      Look at Nick Ritchie. He spent half of last season in the AHL. Check out his stats: he was 0.8 PPG in the AHL and only 0.12 PPG in the NHL. But look at him this year, much better.

      Edit: Also remember that Ritchie was criticized for poor physique when he was drafted and afterwards. He’s now in the Top 5 in hits with 4 hits per game. Can’t hit what you can’t catch.

  • Dirty30

    The Sedins had success with Burrows and Hansen because they admitted they needed someone fast and furious to go get the puck and let them set up for the cycle. Neither Baer nor Loui are playing to their strengths in that role.

    The obvious tactic is to put Hansen back with the Twins and recreate an effective line.

    Play Loui with either Sutter or Bo. Both can use the outlet to a guy who can score.

    Sedins — Hansen

    Granlund — Sutter — Eriksson

    Baer — Bo — Bro Jake

    Call-up — Gaunce — Call-up

    Last night would have been a great time to call up some fresh legs attached to some energy guys who could have given the team some spark.

  • Smyl and Snepsts

    Not going to get to worked up by the results of this game. As has already been mentioned many times I think Tryamkin would have been suited for the last two games.
    The tribute to Bourbon was amazing. I remember when he was drafted and often wonder what he would have meant to the team. What would a big tough skilled defenseman have meant playing the big bad bruins in the final?