Canucks Army Post-Game: NashDulle


Photo Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel – USA TODAY Sports

You can take Nashville from Barry Trotz, but if tonight’s game is any indication, you can’t take Barry Trotz out of Nashville. That was a lifeless game straight from the vaults of the Trotz vs. Vigneault bouts of old.

If not for a high-stick negating a Filip Forsberg goal, the Canucks would’ve left the first period down a goal with not but four shots to their credit. For a period at least, the Canucks looked like everything prognosticators expected of them, and that was doubly true of their opponents in Nashville.

Nashville didn’t let that effort go to waste, though. They picked up right where they left off and put an Auston Watson shot past Ryan Miller for the 1-0 advantage.

The Canucks mounted something of a push soon after, though. Their hyper-modern fourth line pinned the Predators in their zone for well over a minute, generating the first period of sustained offence the Canucks enjoyed all night.

Vancouver didn’t mount anything resembling a sustained attack afterwards until they pulled their goalie with roughly two minutes left in the third. They pounced on a poorly timed Colton Sissons turnover and let Brandon Sutter put the puck past a frustrated Pekka Rinne.

Both teams traded barbs in the extra frame. It looked like Vancouver had the upper hand when Mattias Ekholm took a holding penalty in the offensive zone to take down Markus Granlund. Then a quick break in the dying seconds of the overtime power play saw Calle Jarnkrok convert on the two-on-zero with Roman Josi for the winning goal with 1.5 seconds left. 

Miller stopped 21 of 23 Predators shots for the Canucks. Opposite Miller, Rinne stopped 29 of 30 Canucks shots tonight.


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Quick Hits

  • There aren’t many positive takeaways from tonight. The Canucks had maybe three minutes combined of sustained offensive pressure this evening, and part of that includes three-on-three overtime. If there’s one, though, it’s the play of their fourth line. They controlled about 66% of 5v5 shot attempts based on Brendan Gaunce’s underlying numbers. Gaunce’s line had one shift in the second period in particular which really took the top off. They controlled the puck in the Predators zone for over a minute and sent about eight pucks on net in that span. That’s impressive. This might not be a one night fling with productivity, either.
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  • It appears we’ve seen the last of the Sedins with Jayson Megna. Tonight’s the second straight game without Megna anchoring (literally, anchoring) their line. The results? The Canucks controlled about 59% of 5v5 shot attempts tonight when the Sedins were on the ice. Their linemate? Loui Eriksson. They didn’t look especially threatening at any one point, but if they keep controlling this high of a volume of shot attempts, the goals will follow. In theory, they will follow, that is.
  • Everyone’s ready to anoint Bo Horvat as the Canucks best player. The NHL All-Star nod certainly lends credence to the notion, but I remain skeptical we’re at that point just yet. Whenever the Canucks hard match Horvat against the opposition’s best, like they did tonight, it tends not to go terribly well. Playing primarily against Ryan Johansen, the Canucks controlled 20% of the 5v5 shot attempts. He’s almost there, but nights like tonight remind us he’s not quite a first line centre yet.

  • I remain perplexed by the Canucks unwillingness to play Reid Boucher. Based on my first point, I can understand their hesitance to break up the fourth line. That’s been found money this season. What’s Megna done, though? He’s proven a consistent drag on almost every line he’s played. He doesn’t provide offence. I get that Boucher is a relative unknown to the Canucks, but it’s not like he doesn’t have 80-plus games of game tape for them to watch and get a grasp of the player they claimed. Did they do their homework before they claimed him, or what?
  • Speaking of players on the peripheries of the Canucks roster, let’s give Andrey Pedan a look. This tweet from Canucks Army’s own Jeremy Davis raises a fairly compelling case in his favour:

  • The Canucks power play stunk tonight. It’s stunk most night, but tonight’s was especially bad. Vancouver mustered just one shot on three power plays, and let the game end on a two-on-zero breakaway shorthanded. That’s not a good look. I hate to pick on Megna, but at this point, what’s the risk in taking him off that unit for a player with offensive pedigree. A player like, say, Boucher?

  • Troy Stecher looked human tonight. That’s been a recurring theme of late, which isn’t something I hold against the 22-year-old rookie defenceman. I wonder if we’ll see more of this down the stretch. The longest season Stecher’s played in the last four seasons is about 52 games, spaced out differently. Playing in a compacted, lengthier NHL schedule, I wonder if we’ll see him start to regree as the season wears on.

  • Bud Poile

    You are a drag to read sometimes,Burke,so I am quite enjoying the fact that the “Barely a third line center” scored tonight.

    On pace for 22 goals and 42 points.

    Bonino with 6 goals.His GM is not Benning so might be an NHL second liner.

    • Dirk22

      As per Botchford: “The fact the Canucks are scoring just 36% of the even strength goals when he’s on the ice is not (good)”

      Can’t really dress that one up.

    • Bud Poile

      Bonino: 6 goals 12 assists

      4 PPG’s

      Sutter: 11 goals 10 assists

      3 PPG’s

      I’ll go with the 11 goals,primarily non-PP softies like Bonino has scored. The eye test beats the analytics stats room once again but thanks for sharing!

    • I am Ted

      Yeah, kinda odd how you don’t use analytics to note Boner’s deployment etc.

      I think Sutter is an upgrade over Boner but the Bone was a solid player here. If I had to pick one, I’d prefer Sutter.

      • crofton

        A solid player that had about as many goals after Christmas in Vancouver as Sutter had in his first season in Vancouver….how many games was that? About 37 for Bonino and 20 for Sutter. And kinda odd how you don’t use linemates and WOWYS considering Bonino played with Kessel and Hagelin in Pitt. And ummmmmmm….Burrows and someone in Vancouver?

  • wojohowitz

    I found that game painful to watch. I guess when Nashville`s `structure` meets Vancouver`s `structure` it turns into a real snoozefest and once again the Canucks play down to the level of the competition.

  • Len

    Play Pedan and get Biega out of the lineup. I’m tired of the excuses they use when we have players available that are better than the ones in the lineup. Rodin and Boucher in, Megna and Chaput back where they belong in Utica.

    • crofton

      I think Biega came into the season needing 19 more games played in order to enable Vancouver to expose him to the expansion draft. I haven’t been counting, but there must be at least a dozen more games to that threshold.

      • Len

        Biega needed 19 games, he has only played 12. Sbisa needed 29 games, he has played 43, therefore qualifies as the 1 defenseman with either 40 games this year or 70 over the last 2 years. As a result, it is irrelevant how many more games Biega plays, he can be exposed as long as Sbisa is also exposed, and he will be.

      • Ryan Biech

        Biega has always been ‘enabled’ to be exposed to the expansion draft.

        He was going to be exposed regardless.

        The 19 games played means that he can be the defenceman exposed who meets the requirements of the draft.

        You just HAVE to have a player that meets the requirements – if you don’t, you have to expose someone who you may have wanted protected.

        At the moment – Gudbranson, Sbisa, Tanev and Edler all meet the requirements. But, as you imagine, the Canucks want to protect #23, #8 and #44. By having Biega reach the requirement, they aren’t forced to expose those three D.

    • JuiceBox

      Biega needs only 7 more games to eligible for expansion, Pedan needs 40, the Canucks have 39 games remaining. Once Biega hits his game requirement, we will see more of Pedan.

      The Canucks are keeping Rodin out of the line-up to avoid having to protect him. The Canucks have 39 games remaining, Rodin has 37 games remaining before he needs protection. Once the Canucks have less than 37 games remaining, Rodin will likely get a full-time roster spot.

      • DJ_44

        Well, first off, Rodin is not under contract for next season and, based on an informative CA post, apparently he is a UFA.

        But, that aside, let’s assume both parties want to extend a deal that sees Rodin a Canuck next year; is there such an implication of games played for Expansion eligibility?

        Ryan? J.D.?

  • TD

    A buddy and I went to the game in Nashville and it was a bit of a snoozer. There were some good chances for each team but hard to figure out where the 30 Canucks shots came from.

    This was my first nhl game in the States and the game night presentation was excellent. They do way more to make it entertaining and to get the crowd involved. The Canucks should take some notes. Fun crowd and nice place to visit. Great bars right by the rink.

    Funny that Burrows had such a horrible corsi for. My buddy and I both thought he had the most energy of any of the Canucks. He was way more noticeable in the game than Bo or Baer. Elder also looked “real good” tonight and was the only player who consistently hit. Maybe it’s different on TV, but I haven’t seen Edler hit like that since 2011.

    • JuiceBox

      I too have been to a game in Nashville, it’s an excellent venue, great fans, great atmosphere and hitting Tootsies and the Stage (or any joint up broadway) after the game is not a bad way to end the night.

    • BBJack

      Seems like Smashville would be a great place to see a hockey game in the States, definitely feel like they’d have a great atmosphere.

      My first (and only) live hockey game in the States was at the Prudential Center in Jersey. Wasn’t very entertaining in terms of game night presentation.

  • Friendly Neighbourhood Canucks fan

    For the folks who only speak up when Sutter scores, I look forward to hearing from you in all the games he does not make an impact. And no winning faceoffs and “showing heart” is not a real impact. He doesnt fight or throw hits like many “heart” purists believe in.

    He scored a good goal at the best time. But let’s not forget he was just like any other forward for the previous 58 minutes. And more often than not, he doesn’t do much. He is an average 3rd line center, let’s not get confused. If you think he’s good enough to carry a 2nd line then he would have more points, and if you think he isn’t, you’re a lot closer to the mindset of the author than you would believe.

    Personally I was fine with Bonino being offloaded because he was terrible to end the season/playoffs when he was here, nearly as useless as Vey! So I won’t claim hindsight and think he would be better at all.

    But back to the point, Sutter is our 3rd best center. I like him in that role as a 3rd line center who’s got a hell of a shot. If this team is built right over the next couple years and we’re contending, he would be a great piece as the 3rd line C and PK guy. We just don’t have the forwards ahead of him so he is playing way over his deserved role. Which isn’t his fault but let’s not quibble over the fact that he hasn’t produced like a top 6 forward this year. It is what it is.

    • Bud Poile

      “And no winning faceoffs and “showing heart” is not a real impact.”

      Some Friendly Canucks Fan you are.Maybe you operate out of a friendly,neighbourhood pub.

      Vancouver ranks 5th overall in the NHL in FO%.The circle domination is hardly a negative trait.

      Sutter leads the team in faceoff wins with 55.3% .

      • Friendly Neighbourhood Canucks fan

        5th in faceoffs yet where do we stand in the league? Don’t get me wrong faceoffs do have some value and we were top 5 in faceoffs during the cup run. But we also had better players, better stats. The only thing Sutter has comparable with Kesler is his FO%. Winnine faceoffs is nice but if that’s your only impact and you still get buried in your own zone constantly and giving up more goals than you score, why is faceoffs important there? I love a good faceoff win but if that player is on the ice for more shots against and simply more goals against then clearly his face off percentage isn’t doing him any good, wouldn’t you say?

    • Big D, little d

      >> let’s not quibble over the fact that he hasn’t produced like a top 6 forward this year.

      Sutter is 124th in scoring amongst NHL forwards this season. If you figure six top 6 forwards per team, times 30 teams, that’s 180 top six forwards. So Sutter is pretty solidly producing like a top six forward this year.

      It’s awkward to compare his production because he’s played wing for the Sedin’s. If you say he’s a center then his production is 60th amongst centers (borderline 2/3C). If you say he’s a RW he’d be tied 29th amongst right wings (borderline 1/2RW).

      As you say, it is what it is.

      • Friendly Neighbourhood Canucks fan

        He is 69th among centers in P/GP.
        He is also 16th among centers in TOI.

        When he was a winger with the Sedins, he had 3 goals and 2 assists in 11 games including his 2 PP points. That would be 45th among RW in P/GP.

        And this isn’t cherry picking. This is just looking at points. And points aren’t everything. You’d think someone considered a defensive center would be better when it comes to stopping goals but yeah, that’s the way it is. So maybe he is producing points as a 2/3 center but what’s clear is that he seems to be a defensive liability which is just as important as scoring. Disappointing to say the least

  • Jabs

    I like the analysis on the solid play of the fourth line. I see they were under double digit minutes again. I’d be interested to see how often the team wins when the fourth line is 10+ minutes as opposed to losses when they are under 10 minutes.

    My hypothesis is that the team does better when all lines are getting more even ice time but of course one could argue that when the team is down, the fourth line sits in order to let the offensive players play.

    On another note. can the Canucks decline the pp? It seems that the Canucks pp players are the best penalty killers on the ice given how well they control the puck, keep possession and stay on the perimeter.

  • DJ_44

    The main culprit in the boring game to watch last night were the TERRIBLE ICE CONDITIONS.

    I cannot remember a game where it has been so noticeable. The Canucks looked like they really wanted to skate and play up tempo….but they may as well have been playing with a lacrosse ball.

    I liked the effort, and when the bouncing puck really hampered the game as a whole.

    Nevermind rule or equipment changes if the NHL wants more action, just ensure that the ice is playable.

  • apr

    There sure is a lot of complaining given that we were lucky to get a loser point with Nashville leading up until the last minute of the game with their two gaols disallowed.

    My hockey mother told me that there would be games like this. I’ll take the loser point and move on.

  • Marvin101

    Stetcher shows a lot of flash and dash but a lot of the time he’s just spinning his wheels. Having him running the power play seems pretty one dimensional, you pretty much know that he’s gonna blast away which can be good but it’s getting too predictable.

    • detox

      I disagree, Stecher brings a shot from the point beyond Henrik’s usual setup along the 1/2 boards looking for Daniel. Stecher is a good passer too.

      It is disappointing that his shots were getting blocked but he was moving around trying to find a shooting lane… I get frustrated when nobody is standing in front of the net on the pp. They are there and then they are not.