Photo Credit: Candice Ward – USA TODAY Sports

For the second time in as many nights, the Canucks faced off against the Calgary Flames – but this time in Alberta. In spite of a much-improved effort compared to their dreadful winning performance the night prior, Vancouver fell 3-1 in a close and physical affair, ending its six-game win streak. Vancouver probably deserved a better fate on the evening, much as Calgary did 24 hours ago, but were unable to tie the game late. With a Kings win earlier in the day, the Canucks again fell out of the playoff picture in the Western Conference.


Screen Shot 2017-01-07 at 9.45.54 PM

Screen Shot 2017-01-07 at 9.47.31 PM

The Game at a Glance

Video and graphic provided by Matt Henderson.


The Canucks started the game with a bit of bad news. Already down Chris Tanev after the defenceman took a shot to the back, the club learned Ben Hutton would be unable to play due to a blocking a shot with his hand during Friday night’s game. Anton Rodin, therefore, drew in as the Canucks 13th forward as Desjardins would be forced to go with five defencemen (having already inserted Alex Biega for the injured Tanev). Alex Burrows also returned to the lineup after battling an illness the night before.

Unlike the previous game, however, the Canucks got off to a far better start. Loui Eriksson was back on a line with the Sedins, and the unit looked solid from its first shift. Eriksson later went in alone on Calgary goalie Chad Johnson but was turned aside by the Flames’ netminder.

Things went from bad to worse on the Canucks back end as Nikita Tryamkin would head to the dressing room after a patented Micheal Ferland run at the opposition.

The Flames continued to walk the line physically, with Garnet Hathaway taking out Luca Sbisa deep in the Canucks end. Pieces of Sbisa’s helmet had to be removed from his head following the play.

Play was relatively even in the first, but Calgary opened the scoring with a deft Alex Chiasson deflection of a Sean Monahan slapshot.

Barely another minute had passed before a charging Matt Stajan tipped in a Hathaway centring pass to put the Flames up by two.

Tryamkin would return to the Canucks bench, and the Canucks would begin to push the play more in the Flames end to start the second. Rodney, Ontario product Bo Horvat would score his thirteenth goal of the year to bring the Canucks within one.

Vancouver out-attempted Calgary 25-17 at five-on-five in the second and had several opportunities to even the score. Jayson Megna, in particular, would have a couple of point blank chances to tie the game in the middle frame, but would be denied both times. The Canucks had more shot attempts at even-strength in this period alone than they did the entire game on Friday across all situations.

The Canucks would be unable to keep up the pressure into the third period, however, with the Flames holding a decided advantage at 5v5 Corsi (11 to 5). Although Vancouver would come close to tying the game on a late power play, Matthew Tkachuk would send Michael Frolik in on a breakaway with under two minutes remaining – and Frolik would make no mistake. Final score: 3-1.


-As mentioned earlier, Willie Desjardins finally reunited the Sedins with Loui Eriksson and the trio looked solid from the start of the game. The Sedins had more possession with Eriksson on their wing vastly, compared to either Megna or Brandon Sutter, and both finished the game north of 60%CF at evens (with Henrik at 66.7% and Daniel at 60.9%). Eriksson appeared to read well off of the Sedin’s cycle game, and had a strong game himself, finishing with a 58.3% CF on the night. The unit was the Canucks strongest on the evening by that metric, but the Horvat line was just as noticeable, contributing Vancouver’s only goal

-Anton Rodin was in the lineup tonight; it just didn’t appear that way. In fact, it’s not even possible to look up his ice time on It’s as if he wasn’t even dressed.

Rodin only made the ice for the opening warm up, and then sat on the bench the entire night. For a team that was already playing shorthanded (on defence), for the second time in two nights, and struggling to score goals, it didn’t really make sense to have Rodin act as a benchwarmer. Especially when the Canucks drew a power play, why not see what Rodin could do? Or is Desjardins that wedded to Megna on the second unit? Ultimately, there was no point of even inserting him into the lineup.

-The Canucks blueline all played hard minutes tonight. All five of them played over 21 minutes, including Alex Biega who hadn’t played since the Canucks were last in Calgary before Christmas.

-Markstrom had himself another strong game, stopping 28 of 31 shots, but he was unable to make the big stop late on Frolik. He was noticeably frustrated with himself after the goal.


Tuesday, January 10 at Nashville, 5 PM (PST). TV: SNET; Radio: TSN 1040

  • Brent

    Don’t want to sound too conspirational, but the late hit on Groot, and the elbow in the head of Spica should have been penalties. Not sure why we still don’t get calls like that.

    Can’t complain too much about the outcome since we did not deserve two points last night. Disappointed in the almost flat line on the corsi in the third. Guess they were tired.

    Seems like strange asset management to not have another defence man available. And to not even play Rodin. Can’t be doing his headspace any good.

    • crofton

      They did have another defenceman available, right up until game time when they decided to scratch Hutton. Pedan is in Utica, you think he could have made it in time? And I’m not sure how prudent it would be to have 2 defence not dressed for every game. As for the penalties called/uncalled, I think it was fairly balanced. I can certainly think of a few calls that could easily have been made against Vancouver

  • Stojanov

    Rodin didn’t play, but at least the Chaput line was on the ice to get scored on with 2:00 left in the one goal game.

    Willie D. would rather put out the fourth line over and over than to give someone with offensive talent a chance.

  • Hooker

    Canucks played much better than the previous night when they won. Go figure.
    Flames were hard on the body, Canucks held their own, though their defence, already shorthanded, probably went through a few bags of ice after the game.

  • TheRealPB

    Good effort, especially being so shorthanded. I actually didn’t think the first game was as lopsided as the shot totals would suggest but it was good to see a more even performance here regardless. Calgary was full value for the win and overall they are a better team and show it (though I don’t think they’re nearly as good as they should be given their young talent). I guess they have a fair number of bad contracts coming off the books next year so that’ll help.

    We’re just too thin to sustain injuries to very many players — it’s not a coincidence that our win streak coincided with the return of our two top D. Rodin to me still doesn’t seem in anything close to game shape. I think I’d try out Boucher over him in the next game. And I’m really hoping that Pedan finally gets an opportunity to play.

  • Freud

    Seeing how I have little faith in this management team, it comes as no surprise to me they managed themselves into a situation where they had 5 d-men available for a game on back to back nights. Maybe Pedan needed to get his stuff in St John’s and couldn’t make it to the airport? Ridiculous.

    But, of course, the response here will be guesses at theories that makes it OK.

    They put a huge target on their players – HNIC even mentioned it would be any teams plan to run a team with only 5 d-men. What if Sbisa and Tryamkin were gone too? There goes the dream season of proving we can compete.

    Then we watch Rodin get ruined right before our eyes….

  • Good effort last night.

    What comes next will be most interesting. The win streak is over. How do the guys react and play going forward. I hope they realize we are that close to making the playoffs.

    Looks like Pedan may finally get to play. Lets hope he makes the most of this opportunity.

    All quiet on the Philip Larsen front. This guy has been out for some time. No news. He may have to slot back in.

    Not sure what is going on with Rodin. Something is just not right. It has to be that nagging injury. Why else play fourth line guys over him.

  • andyg

    I don’t see how anyone can call the attack on Sbisa as a hit. He was slew footed from behind and thrown to the ice. it was a very dangerous move and there should have been a game and gone call.
    That is not hockey.

  • Oilerchild77

    The real issue with the Canucks is they don’t have any reliable offense outside of two 36-year-old twins and Bo Horvat. They need to start doing better work at the draft table if they want to avoid a years-long bottom five finish. Trust me, as an Oilers fan, I know how that works.

    • I am Ted

      The Coilers have been a tire fire for over 20 years. A joke of a franchise, really. They had 1 Cup run and then fluked into McDavid. It seems your team may turn things around and actually make the playoffs. Honestly, it’d be nice to look forward to an Oilers game. I hope they don’t mess this up like they have messed things up so many times in the past.

      The Sedins and Horvat? Sure. I also think Sven and Granlund help in the scoring. Sutter is decent. The next few seasons will tell us what we have in our youth/prospects. Will Boeser, Gaudette, Virtanen etc turn into something? Will Benning make some a high impact trade that gets us our future #1 centre? Who knows. Here’s to hoping. I just enjoy being a fan and cheering for one of the better teams. Sure, the last few years have been rough but that’s how it goes. 🙂

  • DJ_44

    The was a really good fight back game by the Canucks. I wish Willie would give Rodin a chance; maybe with the loss he will.

    I have no problem with Ferland hit. I initially thought it was a bit late, but I do not think he ran Nikita, and say what you want; Ferland plays hard but is not a dirty player.

    Hathaway on Sbisa is another matter. How is that not a high sticking? He finished the check with both hands, on his stick, above his head and in Sbisa’s face?

    Sbisa takes a lot of hits and I have rarely, if every seen him give it to an official; he had every right to blast the ref on that one.

    I love Tryamkin. I think he will emerge in the second half of the season as both a puck mover and offensive threat. He has really good puck sense on when to move in and also has the ability (and reach) to recover quickly (the third Calgary goal not withstanding).

    Sbisa also deserves and huge amount of praise for his play this season: solid, physical, smart safe plays. Well done Luca.

    • Chris the Curmudgeon

      Agreed on Sbisa. He’s been a whipping boy for some time but he’s been much better this year, to the point where he actually belongs in the lineup. Never thought I’d hear myself say this, but I would rather protect him than Gudbranson in the expansion draft.

      I also agree re: lambasting the ref. That was not a clean check by any stretch of the imagination (conversely I didn’t have a big problem with Ferland’s hit on Tryamkin).

      • Braindead Benning

        Great post dude,

        Really nice to Sbisa come back and have a better year.

        Many people including myself wrote the guy off however, he basically has been the most consistent of the D-men this year if you include durability.

        Man I have to say that if it was not those asinine and “make absolutely sense” decisions to get rid of Laurence Gilman, Crawford, trade Forsling, draft Virtanen, sign Sutter and Erickson to ludicrous contacts, trade McCann, 2nd and 4th ( this after getting value for Kelser) only to screw it up by getting a 80″s slow dean in Gudbranson..

        Other that that I guess he has done an Great job hey BUD ?

        • DJ_44

          Ah, the same old diatribe. Laurence Gilman? This is somehow an issue? Was he not the one that oversaw the abysmal draft years and also gave out the massive dead weight contracts and NMCs that continue to hamstring the Canucks?

          And is this the Benning that has had 5 players drafted in 2014 play in the NHL (one in a cameo backup role, albeit)? Drafted Boeser, Gaudette, Lockwood, Briesbois along with Virtanen and McCann and Juolevi. Signed Stecher. Has a succession plan for goal, and transformed the Canucks defense; and now it appears has facilitated the development of Bo Horvat into a #1 center in league.

          Not every move is going to a huge success and not all of GMJB’s move are successful; but they team is transitioning and rebuilding, understanding the situation they are in, and working within those contraints to get younger and better. Imagine stating you want to win hockey games; how dare they.

  • Jimjamg

    I just love watching BFG go into the corner against another player and watching that player peel off and BFG walk out with the puck uncontested. Happens at least five times a game. The league is terrified of this guy. No wonder his stats are looking so damn good. And he’s only 22! Fun times ahead.