Canucks Army Post-Game: Just win, Baby


Every game is a must-win for the Vancouver Canucks and tonight’s was no different. Hell, if it was, it certainly didn’t veer towards lower leverage territory.

Tonight the Canucks hosted their divisional rival, the Calgary Flames, in the proverbial four-point game. A Canucks loss tonight would put them seven points back of Calgary and the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. Of course, the Canucks didn’t lose. They eeked out a 2-1 win in overtime and sit four back of the Flames instead.

Whether they should or shouldn’t have is another story entirely, but I’ll be damned, the Canucks did it. They were out shot, out chanced and plain outclassed, but they found a way.

It took a fair amount of luck, sure. There was the Alexander Edler goal in the first, a knuckle puck from centre ice that fooled Brian Elliott. That’s not we generally call the high-danger scoring chance area. And I’m not sure Ryan Miller holds up under that kind of siege in most instances — though he’s spent much of this season defying logic, so who knows.

Tonight Miller stopped 35 of 36 Flames’ shots, and Chris Tanev sent the 2-1 overtime winner past Brian Elliott. Elliot stopped 17 of the Canucks’ 19 shots.



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Quick Hits

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  • Matt Bartkowski is back! Yes, that Matt Bartkowski — the one not good enough to stick with this Canucks roster. The Flames signed Bartkowski to a two-year, two-way contract, with obvious expansion draft implications therein. That, and I tend to think former Canucks assistant coach and current Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan values Bartkowski’s specific skill set. Gulutzan, from what I can gather, pays attention to analytics and is especially fond of transitional data like entries and exits. Bartkowski excels in one area of the game, and that’s carrying the puck. I’m interested in how this works out. I don’t think Bartkowski is necessarily good, but I don’t believe he’s as bad as he looked last season. Maybe if Gulutzan reigns him in and forces him to play a more conservative game, Bartkowski can play well enough in a sheltered role on the bottom pair. Can’t be that much worse than Jyrki Jokipaka, can it?
  • The Canucks had one player leave tonight in the black for Corsi For. That player is Brendan Gaunce. I’d tend to think this is a player the Canucks would be well-served by keeping in the lineup. 
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  • Jack Skille left tonight’s game with a groin injury suffered in the second period. He didn’t come out for the third, and the Canucks announced he wouldn’t return to the crowd at Rogers Arena. Admittedly, I haven’t been to many games, but that seemed new to me. I’d expect Reid Boucher joins the club for their game tomorrow against the Philadelphia Flyers.
  • I thought Edler played one of his best games of the season. He was physical, engaged and didn’t suffer many lapses defensively as he upped the intensity. It was almost suiting that Elliott gifted him that goal in the first. I have moments where I wonder about Edler and how stark his declines been, and whether the Canucks would be wise to cut bait sooner than later. The answer is still probably yes, but I think an effort like tonight explains why the Canucks — a team that wants to compete throughout their rebuild — values what he brings

  • Interesting to think that the Canucks season is seen as plucky and defiant, yet they’re in essentially the same place they were last season. Basically, the Western Conference is as accommodating as it’s ever been and I think the Canucks are a chief beneficiary.
  • The Sedin twins sported the fifth and fourth worst Corsi For marks on the Canucks tonight. Their primary linemate, Markus Granlund, fared almost twice as well through this lens, with a -4 to the Sedins -8. This decline is real, and it might be one of the main reasons the Canucks aren’t making the playoffs.
  • Tanev’s overtime winner was his first goal of the season. Talk about the unlikeliest of heroes. I don’t have a tonne to add on the play, but I’d like to show this fascinating graph that shows how Tanev is a negligible negative by offensive impact but so freakishly good defensively that he’s still an elite defenceman by XPM (expected plus/minus, which is a chief input into WAR)
  • Bud Poile

    After another outstanding performance like this one Miller should have been rewarded with the shutout but the win is where it’s at.

    Players play to win,especially at this time of year.

  • bigdaddykane

    FML. Now i hate the flames even more, if its possible. They can’t even do us a proper favour by putting this terrible team out of it’s misery. The canucks need to be buried and yet still cling to life, crying “I’m not dead yet, I’m feeling much better” while the fan base is saying “look, you’re not fooling anyone” like this season is the plague village from the opening scene to Monty Python’s “the holy grail.”

    Watch the canucks get just enough of a dead cat bounce to pull within 1-2 pts by the deadline. The last thing we need is for Francisco to get a whiff of playoff revenue perfume and do something stupid…..again….at the deadline. Get the rebuild on already. Enough of this nonsense

  • RIP

    “And I’m not sure Ryan Miller holds up under that kind of siege in most instances — though he’s spent much of this season defying logic, so who knows”

    Pretty odd way of giving a goalie credit no? In fact it is not even correct as he has done this exact same thing, steal the game, time and time again this season. Look JD I get it you don’t want him here anymore but stop trying to push that opinion on the rest of us with the comments like above.

    • Locust

      That is how he gives praise,

      Imagine a couple of beatches in the room…. one says”that’s a nice dress, I usually only see that on girls with a good figure”

      The other one replies, “thanks, I was noticing how shiney your hair is, do you still use that dollar store shampoo?”

      Compliments plus the snark.

      Usually women are the best at it but JD is a master, full on Jedi level master.

  • Bud Poile

    The rebuild has been going on ever since Gillis lost his job.

    Benning seems capable of pulling 4-5 NHL’ers out of each draft while Gillis pulled five NHL’ers from six drafts.

    Every elite hockey player is born to play in May so screw the tanker fans and play on.

  • sh1t4brains

    Nucks issue is coaching. They are better off moving the Sedins to the 2nd line. Move Bo’s line up. WTH does Megna have that Reid doesn’t? Reid scored more in the NHL level than Megna and yet he sits. SMH WD

  • Hockey Warrior

    JD, like all kids, has his faults but at least he is realistic and sees the BIGGER PICTURE.

    He and most of his CA cronies know that the ONLY ones benefiting from the Canucks SQUEAKING into the playoffs only to face the likes of CHICAGO, MINNY or SAN JOSE in the first round are the Aquas, who only want to further line their pockets with game day revenue.

    NO ONE in their right minds would choose another one-and-done like the Calgary DEBACLE and then settle for a LOW first round draft pick when the true talent level of this awful team warrants and desperately NEEDS a top three pick in the lottery.

    There is an NHL ready ELITE centre, scoring winger and offensive defenceman up for grabs in the draft, any one of which we badly need in order to COMPETE again.

    It has been PROVEN that drafting is the best way to rebuild a franchise with these young WORLDCLASS players ala Chicago, Pitts and bad teams on the up like TO and Deadmonton.

    Anyone who wants the playoffs now over a top draft pick is dumb and NOT a true fan of the Canucks. That’s why JD the CA staffers and elite hockey minds like myself want this futile playoff push OVER asap.

    Bigger picture guys, BIGGER PICTURE.

  • wojohowitz

    The Canucks were badly exposed in the third period being outshot 18-2 and even worst three of their best players could be gone in a week. This is one sad excuse of a team.

  • TD

    This season is tough as a fan, you want to see them win, especially against Calgary, but it constantly leaves them in no mans land.

    One benefit of not trading anyone and losing Hansen at the expansion draft will be that they get to keep Gaunce. Despite not scoring, I like his game and could see him developing into a good player for years to come. Still want Hansen and others to be traded, but I worry if that happens we’ll lose Gaunce.

  • Larionov18

    I hope the Sedins retire at the end of this season. They just can’t keep up anymore. They almost never look dangerous offensively now and the seem to be defending all the time.