Canucks Army Postgame #56: Buffalol

postgame 

The Canucks’ play has been frequently criticized this seaso, and rightfully so. But to their credit, the effort has always been there, for the most part. After losing a heartbreaker yesterday in Boston, the Canucks beat the schedule loss tonight with one of their best performances of the season. They outplayed the Sabres at both even-strength and on special teams- against the league’s best power play, which is no small feat. Mike Chaput had two goals and the Canucks came away with two points in one of the more entertaining tilts of the season.

STATS 

chart (7)

HIGHLIGHTS 

GAME NOTES 

  • Ben Hutton has been the subject of a lot of criticism this season, most of it unfair. He’s looked behind the play at times since returning from injury, and it looked as though that unfair criticism might continue when he was on the ice for a defensive breakdown that lead to the Sabres’ first goal. (Hutton was not at fault for the goal, but that doesn’t always matter in the eyes of the media.) That’s why it was so nice to see him get the assist on Horvat’s power play goal. He’s been better than his recent struggles would have you believe. Hopefully that assist can help get his confidence back to where it was when he was turning heads as a rookie. 
  • One of this regime’s biggest flaws has been the way it elevates what should be depth players into roles they aren’t suited for. The play of the Canucks’ fourth line in the past month or so has been a testament to what can happen when role players are deployed in a manner suited to their skill set. When Michael Chaput was playing in the top-six, he was a drag on his linemates, and the team as a whole suffered. Since Chaput has been moved down the lineup, the Canucks have had arguably the best fourth line in hockey. Ironically, Chaput scored both his goals without his regular linemates, and both as powerplays were expiring. Still, he’s played well and it’s nice to see him get rewarded. 
  • Special teams were a huge factor tonight, as the Canucks had one offical PP goal, as well as the two aforementioned goals Chaput potted as Sabres’ penalties expired. The Canucks also kept the Sabres’ league-best powerplay at bay, going 3-for-3 on the kill. 
  • After all these years, Alex Burrows’ troll game is still very much on point. He clearly got under Robin Lehner’s skin tonight, causing a scuffle in front of the Sabres’ net and drawing a roughing penalty. The two were yapping at each other all night, but Burrows got the last laugh, scoring the game winner on a furious Lehner. I’m not sure what he said to set Lehner off, but I hope it involved mocking his well-publicized support of Donald Trump.

     

  • LTFan

    I watched the game and IMO the Canucks worked hard all night and were rewarded with a win. Hutton was better tonight than against Boston the day before.

    Burrows can still be a pain-in-the-ass and as all commentators said, including JMcD got under the skin of Robin Lehner. Winning beats losing and I enjoyed the win.

  • Braindead Benning

    Another positive is the play of Markstrom and Horvat as usual.

    Perhaps the team should have received more in return for Schneider and Luongo but hey, they did get a heck of a player in Horvat (thanks MG… great pick!!!) and a very serviceable NHL calibre goaltender who still has his best years to come.

    Virtanen take note

  • RIP

    Great game. Sbisa did a great job on Eichel. Physical good position and no mistakes. Ok One penalty. Seriously though. Great work by Sbisa tonight.

    Markstrom did decent. He was giving up some bad rebounds early but recovered later on.

    Finally. Burrows is the man. Drew 2 penalties, goal and an assist and threw their goailie off. Absolute beauty.

  • Steamer

    Good effort, good goaltending + good old fortuitous bounces. 3 Habs scouts in attendance likely noticed Montreal native Alex Burrows aka ‘Dragon-slayer’ spearhead the win for Canucks. If he goes anywhere, sure be nice to see him in Habs colours lifting their 25th Stanley Cup this spring:)

  • Peezy F

    We need to give props to Stetcher on that rush and pass to Burrows. Once he starts to gain the confidence to push the puck on the rush and try to beat his man wide and create odd man rush opportunity for forwards consistently, it will push him to the next offensive level he can reach.

    Before Hutton got hurt, PP2 was doing well and it had alot to do with Hutt’s wrist shot being able to get to the net consistently. He comes back and our PP has been much better again. He is starting to trust his shot more which is a great sign in where his confidence is at. I hope he can get to 7 or 8 goals by the end of the year.

  • Whackanuck

    Draft picks, schmaft picks. Unless a top two rounds pick is coming back I’d re-sign Burrows. He’s a Canuck as much as the Sedins are. Miller, less so because I expect he’ll want much more than the more affordable 4 to 4.5 million for 1 year.

  • Locust

    I still think Hutton could benefit from some AHL time but he is rounding into form after the injury. Good to see.

    I think we all sometimes forget how tough it is to play returning from injury in the worlds toughest sports league.

    • DJ_44

      AHL time will not happen for Hutton because he requires waivers (an has all season) to be assigned to Utica.

      Hutton had a good game yesterday, although his general alertness (hockey sense) in the defensive zone is not there. I agree with Jackson’s comments that the first goal want not his fault, although a defender with better positional awareness would not have turned his back to a shooter in front of the net.

      Where I disagree with the Jackson the apologist is with calling the critcism of Hutton “unfair”. He is a half second behind the play mentally. Even watching him moving the puck up the ice yesterday, rather than making the 1st pass on time, he does two useless look away fakes and then makes the pass, which puts the receiver under pressure.

      Put in Larson and let him run the 2nd powerplay; the Canucks will be better off. In absence of that, hope Hutton is acceptable on the bottom pairing so he ups his trade value.