Canucks Army Post-Game: Minnesota Nice!

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Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin – USA TODAY Sports

If the Canucks are going to make something of this season, they’re going to have to string together consecutive wins at some point. Going into tonight, the Canucks hadn’t accomplished that feat since their season opening 4-0 run.

Playing the Minnesota Wild, with their backup in net, provides a better chance than they’ll get on most nights in the Western Conference. And to the Canucks credit, they took full advantage. They didn’t make it look easy. Vancouver trailed courtesy a pair of Jason Pominville goals for the Wild, then clawed back with four of their own. That lead didn’t last. The Wild drew even barely more than ten minutes after the Canucks fourth goal.

The Canucks didn’t waste time getting their lead back, though. Bo Horvat redirected a Troy Stecher point shot for the 5-4 lead and eventual victory. Ryan Miller stopped 37 of 41 shots for his fourth win of the season. Darcy Kuemper stopped 30 of 35 shots.

Stats

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Quick Hits

  • How good was the Horvat line tonight? They played significant roles in the fourth and fifth goals on the night, and were flat out dominant otherwise. Horvat and Baertschi had a goal apiece. As a trio, they’ve controlled 56% of shot attempts, 62% of goals and carried 66% expected goals for this season. That’s not first line production. That’s dominance on entirely different level.
  • You might’ve noticed, but the NHL credited Baertschi and Horvat with a goal — I allude to as much in my last note. After the dust settled, the NHL came to the conclusion that Horvat deflected Luca Sbisa’s shot for the 4-4 marker. Up until a few minutes ago, that goal was Baertschi’s. I’ll let you decide.
  • The Canucks were productive across the board. It wasn’t just the Killer B’s lighting up the scoreboard and dominating play. Loui Eriksson scored his fifth goal in six games, potting a rebound touched by both his rebounds prior. The best part? He scored that goal playing the role of pickup man, driving home the garbage goal after a scramble in front of Kuemper. He’s been the Canucks best Corsi For player all season, so it makes sense that he’s turned the corner. That’s kind of how that goes. Usually.
  • As good as Stecher’s been all season — and he’s been great — we shouldn’t discount the fact that he’s playing alongside the Canucks best defenceman. That counts for something. Tonight he faced his first real test. And no, it wasn’t the Wild’s 11th ranked offence. Tonight, Stecher played alongside Luca Sbisa. It’s like going from a Ferrari to a Ford Pinto — and that’s taking into account Sbisa’s renaissance. Stecher passed with flying colours. He was on the ice for a better share of shot attempts (53%) than his partner (43%) and contributed nicely on the go-ahead goal in the third.
  • Hard to believe, but the Canucks got defensive contributions on all five of their goals from defenceman. Ben Hutton led the way tonight offensively, contributing on the power play and at even strength alike. As Canucks Army favourite Ryan Biech was apt to point out, this pass on a Baertschi breakaway was especially great.
  • I poked fun at Sbisa — imagine that — but I genuinely think he’s turned something of a corner. How much of a corner he’s turned remains to be seen. For now, I’d settle for Sbisa playing semi-productive hockey on the Canucks’ third pair. Injuries aren’t affording Vancouver that option, though, and that’s kind of tragic. He’s playing on the first pair, alongside Stecher. We’ve had two years to see how well that’d go. And he didn’t disappoint on the first goal, essentially setting up Nino Niederreiter for the opening marker. Sbisa can be a useful addition to the Canucks lineup. I just hope that playing in this large a role doesn’t erode his confidence and nip that potential in the bud. Everything was going so well for the guy, and you really want him to succeed. He seems like the nicest human!

And this…

  • wojohowitz

    Gaunce and Chaput switched places for a couple of shifts and that seems to be enough for Gaunce to be top five in corsi while Chaput joins Megna and Skille in the worst corsi category. It kind of means that corsi can be a deceptive indicator of performance on a small sample size. Also Tryamkin logged the second most minutes behind Hutton meaning he became the goto shutdown guy playing against the Wild`s top line and his corsi suffered as a result.

  • Bud Poile

    I realise Sbisa was a wreck playing with Bobby Orr Bieksa but he is now a respectable defensive d-man.

    With 3.6 million USD’s per year in his pocket($5 million CDN) and a beautiful wife to ride with, this Canuck has upgraded from Pinto status.

  • Rodeobill

    Miller let in a poocher, but was ok otherwise. I actually thought Hutton looked kinda rough this game aside from his points. Tryamkin looks like the player we were hoping Guddy would be, a solid reliable defensive D. I see him taking some educated risks offensively though too and it looks good on him. he also seems to have mastered the “pitchfork the puck out of the D zone without icing it” move. Stech looks awesome. two of the goals could have been his. Larsen not so much. Bo really is finding a new gear to his game, Sutter too, and Baerchi looked great tonight after some time out.

    Well done. Good game.

  • wjohn33

    Quite enjoyed the game. For entertainment value this team has it hands down over last year’s dullard of a team. There doesn’t seem to be any quit (so far) this year.

    Just a few comments on the “D”. Really thought Tryamkin looked solid – he keeps the front clear and nobody gets by him on the boards. He is an imposing presence out there. Hutton has a lot of potential, once he stops trying too hard. Gudbranson…well…he’s looking at times like his incompetent twin not-so-gudbrandson (although his Corsi didn’t seem to reflect this in last night’s game). Larsen does not seem like an NHL calibre player at all. Stecher is such a heady player – his positioning is impressive as is his recovery. Lots to like.

    With the overall performance of the “D”, it certainly opens up the possibility of moving Tanev, although one game does not a season make, but it might be an accurate look at the future, along with Juolevi.

    • defenceman factory

      The D may have extra pieces but they aren’t Tanev. He just turned 27, has a reasonable contract and is proven against opposition top lines.

      He won’t bring what Canucks need most, a younger, scoring, 1st line player. If he fetches a 30 goal, 24 year old great. I don’t see it happening.

      Move the extra pieces for picks and prospects. The extra pieces are Biega, Sbisa, Larsen, Pedan and Gudbranson. There are lots of prospects coming, Tanev is who you need to keep it steady.

      Guddy is an RFA at the end of the season. I see him fetching a good price closer to the deadline.

      The worst possible move is to trade Tanev for a player that helps the Canucks miss the playoffs by one or two fewer spots.

  • Hockey Warrior

    Man oh Man the DELUDED comments on here about our current defence are frankly DISGRACEFUL and EMBARRASSING.

    Guys, let me once again enlighten and educate you by posting what you simply don’t want to hear… THE TRUTH.

    Not ONE Canucks D man is in the TOP 70 Defensive point getters in the NHL. Not one.

    Ben Hutton (Gillis draft steal)is holding the fort with 7 points BUT is also minus ELEVEN.

    Benning’s so called elite Defensive ‘rock’ GUDDY, who is “hard to play against”… he’s a whopping minus 12.

    Larrson, Benning’s ‘powerplay specialist’… is minus 8

    Mayor elect Stetcher… minus five and I can’t wait to see how this over-hyped hobbit fairs against the BIG California teams.

    We are 25th in GOALS AGAINST.
    We are 23rd on the PP.

    Further to this, in hockey your BEST defender is your goalie…

    Benning’s 6 million dollar man Ryan Miller is 3 and 8

    Markstrom currently ranks 23rd in the NHL in wins

    GAA for both goalies is close to 3 per game

    And we STILL get muppets like YOU reading this telling us the Defence is set for years to come?!… what planet are some of you guys on because i want to AVOID IT like Downtown in rush hour!

    ** Every markdown counts as an admission of the TRUTH. Only the guilty need be offended.

    • BBJack

      I KNOW that youre trademark ramblings have become somewhat of a PREDICTABLE and expected staple around these parts, but maybe you should TRY to lighten up once in a while and post something CONSTRUCTIVE, or dare I say POSITIVE. Even if you don’t BELIEVE it, give it a TRY anyway – it may just INCREASE your (at this rate, extremely short) LIFESPAN. I’m only looking out for YOUR best interest.

      Or maybe it’s just not possible. Even if the Canucks won the Cup in SIX games, I’m sure you’d be on here during the celebrations complaining that they didn’t accomplish a SWEEP.

      So never mind then I guess, good old HOCKEY WARRIOR. Continue your NEGATIVITY. As long as it makes YOU happy.

      • Hockey Warrior

        Welcome newbie. I’m pleased that you are LISTENING and LEARNING from this ELITE PROVEN hockey mind. Rule number one kid, keep your head up at all times.

        Guys, I am neither an optimist or a pessimist, I am a REALIST. I tell it like it is. Canucks fans don’t like it one bit, but guess what… #couldnt giveadamn #suckitup #thetruthwillsetyoufree

        Frankly, I think it speaks volumes about the TRUE NATURE of Canucks fans that not only is the ROG frighteningly empty these days but also this forum is as dead as a Sunday night strip club in Surrey. Let’s be honest here, while the Oilers and Leafs forums are averaging HUNDREDS of comments per story, this one is lucky to get 30 comments per.

        Whilst this FACT is somewhat down to LAZY, uninspired journalism from the bloggers, it also PROVES that Vancouver hockey fans are among the most FICKLE bandwagon jumpers in pro sports.

        Yes indeed, those who hung out AV and GM of the year Mike Gillis to dry are looking mighty DUMB now aren;t they. Those FIVE Division titles, TWO Presidents Trophies and a Game 7 Stanley Cup FINAL in Gillis’ FIVE short YEARS are looking pretty damn good now aren;t they fellas… but it’s ok, Benning’s backend is looking set for years to come… isn’t it?!

  • JuiceBox

    The team that has gone 6-4-1 in their last 10 is pretty much the team I envisioned they would be this season.

    This team isn’t quite there yet. Both offence and defence need a little tweaking, and to me the goaltending needs to be A LOT better (although, goaltending will likely improve as the defence improves in front of them). But all in all they seem to be on the up-swing. I am glad management didn’t make any rash decisions (like firing a coach) and allowed the team to play through that slump. It’s like they needed the adversity to come together.

    To me they are still missing ‘something.’ The eye test says they aren’t playing with poise, they aren’t playing with confidence, they are struggling with an identity, they have no swagger, and they are winning games by shear luck. They need to find a system (and as a by-product an identity). Something that the players can buy into and stick to, something they can become confident in and trust. When that happens, they will start stringing together some wins.

    • Pat Quinn Way

      Hi mate. Could you explain how the team is going to develop an identity and a system without changing the coach, who is ultimately responsible for both. but hasn’t implemented either in three years now?

      You only have to look at the Pittsburgh Penguins who were in freefall last season, changed coach midway and promptly developed a new identity and system under Mike Sullivan. The rest is history…

      • Dirty30

        Er, no.

        This team ‘identity’ will be more Sedin determined than by WD.

        True, Coach puts the system in play, but how it’s played again goes back to your top players.

        As for the D — there seems to be a need on this team to have certain ‘types’ in play:

        The Sami Salo player who makes a significant difference on the team but is injured spitting out his Altoid.

        The Bieksa high risk-high reward pizza delivery player everyone loves to hate and hates to love.

        But what’s new is two-fold:

        Size and skill — Tryamkin is not just some meat-pylon that players skate around while his synapses take the slow bus to his feet … nope, he’s thinking and moving and swatting, hitting, pushing, swiping and being a nice guy out there while breaking legs and taking names.

        Speed and skill — has there ever been a D like Stecher on this team? He is they guy we all secretly hoped Jordan Subban would become but Stecher is way past that benchmark and showing moves and excitement that haven’t been seen in a long time in any Canucks player.

        And both are rookies.

        Win or lose, those two are worth watching every night.

      • JuiceBox

        I agree with your assessment of the Penguins, their turn-around last year was remarkable but this is not an apples to apples comparison. The penguins have an established core of high-end players that had gone stale and needed a shot in the arm, and had a coach that was too stubborn to adjust his systems to suit the new reality.

        We need to view WD as an interim head coach and he is only here to manage the players through the rebuild. His job is to showcase the players to management (which is why he rolls his lines and plays everybody in every situation) so management can then decide which players they want to keep and which ones to move, which ones need more development etc etc…

        Now to answer your question about finding a system and identity without changing a coach. Identity is the responsibility of the players, systems are the responsibility of the coach. Once player turn-over slows down, once line combinations and defence pairs become more set, once the guys build chemistry and familiarity with each other and they survive some adversity together, an identity will be established organically. Once the identity is established and they are competitive on most nights it’s on the coach to shift gears and develop systems around the players where they are most likely to succeed (like AV did 2009-2011). If at that point, the coach is not able to adapt and create the best possible systems for the “set” roster, then it is time to relieve him of his duties and bring in some one who can.

        I’ve said this on here before, this team needs to learn to crawl before it can walk, and walk before it can run. Right now they are in the transition from crawling to walking, and it’s going to be a while before they can run. Everybody just needs to be patient.

  • DJ_44

    Good game yesterday. The team stuck with it after the Wild got two and the disallowed goal. I was at that game and I thought they might be done. But no.

    Observations:

    Gudbranson had a rough night in my opinion. Hutton was okay. I mean I have been hard on him this year (deservingly so) but….. he still is fighting the puck and should NOT be carrying the puck up the ice on the PP. That role should be with Stecher or Larson.

    Sbisa was solid, although he was turned on the first goal ( tried to intercept a bouncing puck)……he just has to keep it simple because less is more with him.

    Tryamkin, despite the Corsi…..was impressive. I also thought Larsen was good in his first game back. Everyone is writng him off but he has a definite skill set and I did not see him as a liability last night.

    Stecher is the one of the smartest and craftiest players I have seen in quite a while.

    Miller was very good last night. The second Pommenville goal beat him cleanly, but the others were not on him….and he made some incredible saves…..on really good chances. The Wild were having a forward circle high and take a pass in the high slot….and Vancouver never really adjusted….. this resulted in some very good chances..

    Up front it was a good effort…..except it is becoming obvious why Skille is a journeyman on PTOs…..he is like a 3 dressed as a 9 …he shows glimpses….has the size and skills….but man he floats for half his shifts.

  • Bud Poile

    Another by product of Gillis gutting the team to win is having to listen to a lunatic telling us how great he was when he had the worst drafting and development record in the NHL.

    Hello loser.