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Canucks Army Post-Game: Oil Spill

Canucks Defeat the Visiting Oilers 3-2

Tonight was the final audition. If you had something to prove, tonight was the night to prove it.

Canucks head coach Travis Green iced a close to NHL calibre lineup, and while they didn’t reward him with a Picasso, it’s hard to turn down the end result, a 3-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers in front of the home crowd.

Jake Virtanen, who’s been among the Canucks’ best players this pre-season, started things off on the right foot, finishing a passing play started in the Canucks zone and finished in front of Edmonton Oilers netminder Cam Talbot. That was Jake’s fourth goal in six preseason games. Call it the exclamation mark on a pre-season that screamed “NHL ready!”.

Leon Draisaitl responded with a pair of goals for the Oilers, and at times looked poised to finish the hat-trick. The Canucks, with a little luck, kept Draisaitl, and consequently the Oilers, at a pair right to the final horn. Markus Granlund scored shorthanded on a breakaway, and Loui Eriksson picked up the garbage in front to score with the man advantage.

Jacob Markstrom got the start for the Canucks and stopped 25 of 27 shots. Talbot stopped 14 of the Canucks’ 17 shots.


Quick Hits

  • Let’s start with an omission from tonight’s game, and a notable one at that. Andrey Pedan. Despite practicing with Michael Del Zotto, and there being every indication that he would play in tonight’s lineup prior to the morning skate, Green scratched the lanky Lithuanian. I would think this is a good sign for Pedan’s chances. If Green were on the fence, wouldn’t he want another look? I’d suppose that, conversely, the opposite could be true, and Green isn’t on the fence with a demotion in mind. That just seems hard to believe after the game that Pedan had on Thursday. Speaking of, if you haven’t read Ryan Biech’s article on Pedan from earlier today, go ahead and do yourself the favour of reading that. It’s great.

  • For reasons that escape me, Virtanen didn’t get a tonne of ice-time. I say that because he had the best two-way results and scored the opening goal. You think that’s the sort of thing most coaches would try to reward. Instead, Virtanen played a sparse 8:39 in tonight’s game, with his minutes decreasing with each period. Based on Green’s lukewarm assessment of Virtanen after Thursday’s game, I’m starting to wonder, is he a lock? Is Green trying to prepare us for the massively unpopular decision to send him down to Utica? You know, it might be possible. Jayson Megna played 14:45 tonight, by the way.

  • I’m starting to think Green is going to take a serious liking to Granlund. He’s playing every position, in each phase of special teams, and providing results. Tonight, Granlund played close to 20 minutes. That’s about first line production. With a shorthanded goal and an assist on Eriksson’s power play marker, it’s hard to argue he didn’t earn it.
  • Patrick Wiercioch had a mostly rough game. I like how active he is in transition, and that he communicates so loudly and clearly that I could make out his every word from the press box. I thought that communication was key in getting Biega to transition the puck effectively and with urgency, and that led to the Virtanen goal. Mostly, though, Wiercioch was just plain bad. Was caught pinching on one goal and took a bad penalty after getting caught woefully out of position. I like Wiercioch’s game. He brings dimensions to this blue line that are definitely needed. Tonight wasn’t his night, though.
  • I hope no one is expecting the power play to improve. At one point, there was Sam Gagner, Henrik Sedin and Alexander Edler playing the role of trigger men on a mostly stale and static 1-3-1. Actually, at several points, that was the case. It was ugly. None of those players should be the finisher on an NHL power play.
  • Brock Boeser didn’t have a great night. I’m starting to cool on the notion of him as a surefire NHL’er. It’s somewhat concerning that he lit up the preseason when he was playing against teams that in no way resemble NHL rosters, then went completely silent as soon as the quality of competition picked up. Maybe starting in Utica wouldn’t be the worst thing ever for Boeser.
    • DJ_44

      By Lou, I assume you mean Eriksson. Louie rarely has a bad game. Tonight he was solid. He makes excellent decisions and can score. His goal tonight, while JD characterized its as “garbage” was anything but. He bats the puck from behind the net to his stick and volleys it in beneath Talbot’s glove without the puck hitting the ice.

      That said, Boeser did not have a rough game, I thought he played well. Lost some battles, sure, but did not give up and recovered. Just not scoring chances. He makes the club in my books.

      • Killer Marmot

        JD said Eriksson “picked up the garbage”. He didn’t say it was a garbage goal.

        In the quaint patois of hockey , “picking up the garbage”, or “taking out the garbage”, means burying a puck that has been left loose in front of the net. It’s not deprecating.

    • truthseeker

      yeah I have to agree. gezus…give the kid a break. he has an average game or doesn’t score and suddenly “oh no…send him to the minors!”. Can you imagine if every time the twins didn’t score a goal we’d say “send’em down!”.

      Yes he’s a rookie but give me a break. When did this “kid glove” approach to every single prospect become so entrenched? It’s ridiculous.

      I never remember this kind of attitude with prospects that were considered some of the best of a particular year, like Linden or Bure in their rookie years. Boeser is supposed to be competing for the calder this year. Many “experts” have picked him to be right up there. Just throw the kid in there and let’s see what he can do.

  • Lemmy Kilmister

    Maybe Green is confident with Virtanen so he played him less to see if players such as Megna can step it up more with increased? and i dont really get your “cooling” on the idea of Boeser just because he had a couple of average games? last i checked many of the so called surefire NHL veterans such as Eriksson & Gudbranson played very poorly at times and had their share of concerning moments

  • Ronning4ever

    Boeser and Virt both had the lowest amount of TOI both total and 5v5. I think (hope) it bodes well for both. I actually thought Gudbranson played a good game overall, clearing the puck and players from the front. Then I saw his Corsi…ouch.

  • Whatthe...

    “Brock Boeser didn’t have a great night. I’m starting to cool on the notion of him as a surefire NHL’er.”

    This is just a troll right? Dude is going to be a 30+ goal scorer, just needs some development time (work on foot speed, etc.). I would like to see him start in Utica, train hard and play 20+ mins a night (for the first couple of months at least).

  • DJ_44

    Was at the game. It was a solid effort against a very good Edmonton team. McDavid IS amazing.
    Canucks I liked: Markstrom (great game); Gudbranson; Granlund, Vanek, Eriksson, Boeser

    Not so much: Hutton; Sutter, Burmistrov. I really like Burmistov’s game; Thursday he was excellent, tonight he was fighting the puck it seemed and lot his coverage a few time in the defensive zone.
    Waive Megna, Chaput and one of Archibald or Dorsett.

    Eriksson- Bo- Brock
    Sedin-Sedin- Vanek
    Baer Sutter-Gagne
    Edler Tanev
    Del Zotto Gudbranson
    Pedan Stecher
    Hutton Wiercioch
    (Holm will be up in a month)

  • Break The Canuck's Curse

    LOL! Loving the oiler nation take on the game.

    They not happy.

    They’re calling it a mean nothing game. I’m sure it would have meant something had they won. I think the western Canadian games may be a bit of fun this year

      • Braindead Benning

        Perhaps Vegas May finish ahead in accourdance to your stealth overview however, I actually don’t think the Canucks are going to be as bad as many say. The Oilers on the other hand, have 2 elite players with some good depth on forward by their D is average at best. Talbot is a good but unless they can add a few better defencemen then they are going to last maybe 2-3 rounds

      • TheRealPB

        There is no doubt you have the best player in the league by a long shot. And in Draisatl a player unquestionably in the top echelon. But your D simply doesn’t measure up to the best in this division let alone the conference or the league and I have serious doubts about your actual depth. And apparently Chiarelli wants to sign Chris Kelly? Yikes. That’s Dorsett-level thinking right there. You’ve got a good team. And I like guys like Yamamoto a lot and Talbot surely gives you the kind of goaltending that Calgary still doesn’t seem to be able to figure out. But I thought Pulujarvi would be better by now and he was pretty invisible. And RNH doesn’t seem to have taken a step forward at all. I wouldn’t be so cocky quite yet.

      • Break The Canuck's Curse

        I recommend doing that for all opposing team games against the Canucks. It is always interesting to see what the sportwriters from other teams think of the game and can look a lot different from what the homers will say.

        I saw your comment over there BTW. 🙂

    • I am Ted

      I went over to check out their take. That blogger, Bagged Sh!t, is probably worse than our own Butthole Burke when it comes to assembling words. The best part is when Bagged Sh!t commented about the Canucks not having any fans blah blah blah. What a loser 🙂

  • defenceman factory

    Great to see a win especially against the Oilers. Granlund looked great again, Markstom played well and Eriksson looked like he he could earn a larger portion of his salary this year (half would be a big improvement).

    I hope I wasn’t watching the 1st unit PP. Vanek and Gagner make things a bit more dynamic but still not good. I remember the last year of the west coast express and being frustrated the Sedins were relegated behind them despite outplaying them. Now, after a great run, it is the Sedins’ turn to pass the torch. They are fine as a second unit but the Canucks definitely need more from the first unit. Del Zotto and Stecher look like better options to quarterback than Edler.

    Weircoich and Biega were a bit of an adventure and the Hutton Guddy pairing still doesn’t look like a match. What will be the pairings opening night, maybe Edler-Stecher, Hutton Tanev, Del Zotto-Guddy.

  • Lund

    Someone needs to tell the Canuck brass they are in the entertainment business. Chaput, Megna, Biega, etc are not entertaining. I’d rather lose seeing moments of excitement from Boeser, Virtanan, Pedan, etc than occasionally winning because we grind out a 3-2 win to Edmonton (which by the way, out-shot us and pretty much controlled the play).

  • TheRealPB

    Good game. Good god McDavid is entertaining — only Gretzky and Lemieux looked this dangerous every shift (even guys like Crosby or Ovechkin never this consistent). I wouldn’t stress too much about the Megna ice-time; Green seemed to be hard-matching the Sutter line against McDavid’s and they were hanging on for dear life. I was more concerned with the Sedins. I really worry that this is the year that the wheels truly fall off. They looked totally ineffective both at even strength and on the PP. Zero speed which equals the other team just standing them up or picking their pockets. I thought Eriksson looked really effective throughout but the revelation continues to be Granlund. He looks stronger by the day, so smart, positionally sound, and creative. I also continue to really like Burmistrov and Gagner — Vanek not so much. Out of sync with the twins and I don’t really know what he adds. Wiercoch and Biega are well below Pedan on the depth chart for me — Wiercoch seems to have serious problems finding the puck. PP looked stale every time the “first unit” was out there. Boeser looks more lost against the actual NHL players (and last year’s garbage time production we should take with a grain of salt). I would be more inclined to keep Virtanen on a third-line role and send Boeser down to find chemistry with Goldobin. The other player I was pleasantly impressed with was Gudbrandson. I thought he had much more control in the defensive zone and he and Hutton seem to be communicating far better and playing to each other’s strengths. Gudbrandson seemed to have far better gap control, awareness of the opposition, and ability to not just clear the puck but start a rush the other way. We got our teeth kicked in when Draisatl and McDavid were on the ice but for the rest of the time it was a pretty even affair.

    • Kanucked

      I agree with your thoughts on Granlund. He played well at even strength, power play, and short handed.

      I’m not as sure as you that Megna won’t make the team. Green’s comments about Virtanen and Boeser echoed his allocation of ice time.

      • DJ_44

        Green did hard match Sutter against McDavid all night. Hence Megna’s and Archibald’s ice time. One has to take any performance against the McDavid line with a grain of salt; if you did not 85% – 90% of the NHL would not survive.

    • Cageyvet

      Pretty much on board with your assessments, and I really like Pedan on board as well. I also liked Gudbranson’s play, it makes such a difference when you have big Dmen if they can play and actually use their size.

      I’m on record as thinking the Sedins are still good enough to be moved down the lineup and get weaker matchups. Last night, I wondered if that would be enough, they were predictable and the Sedinery looked like Jordan Schroeder’s version of fancy plays. In other words, barely NHL level, and if they can’t hold possession they are done, as they’re defensively suspect, to say the least.

      It’s a no-lose situation, though. If they bounce back, they help the team and players keep fighting to earn their spot ahead of them. If they really suck, they retire and nobody agonizes over whether they are slowing or helping the rebuild. World class players and people, they will undoubtedly do the right thing according to how this season goes for them.

  • Dahlenfan

    I think overall the canucks did ok to decent. Started the first few shifts with speed and a lot of passes. But then the oilers kicked it up a notch and we started to scramble more. McD and drai were all over the place but the other 3 lines didn’t do much. I was happy with the style green is implementing. Speed and movement. The exact opposite of Willy d. even if we lose 50 of 80 playing like this year I will be a happy can. Was a good game with a decent amount of entertainment that I actually wanted to watch the full 60. Hope the Sedona can pick it up or it’s gonna be another long season for them. They are looking like our 3rd line to me. They need someone with speed like granlund or virtanen. Hope this kind of effort every game. Good luck boys. Cant wait for next Saturday night

    • TheRealPB

      I was thinking the same. I know coaching only has so much impact but WD seemed to have such a conservative approach — maybe due to personnel as the additions made this year play for the most part a different style. But it’s certainly much more interesting to watch.

  • RIP

    Great assessment JD. Was worried to see Beoser take a step back. Virtanen is in though. Couple other notes Markstrom played really well, a couple of deadly shoulder saves. Also Guddy had a good game. Really physically out there down low. I think Biega and Weircoch go and Pedan makes it. He better actually. It was pathetic to see the usual suspects on the first unit PP although I assume with Bo and Bae back that will change. Oh ya and best outing was Stetcher for sure. He impresses me more and more every night.

  • Holly Wood

    Megna plays 14:45, Virtanen plays 8:39. Doesn’t sound like Green actually was rolling through 4 lines to me. If Megna or Chaput somehow make this team, I think all of us should just stop our lineup predictions and comments because apparently we are tanking right from October

  • Markstrom played well tonight, Nilsson played well against Calgary.

    We need to reinvent our powerplay. Tear it down and start fresh, possibly without Henrik and Daniel. It really needs work. Maybe when Horvat and Baertschi return.

    I prefer DelZotto – Gudbranson, and Pedan/Hutton – Tanev.

  • jaybird43

    It was a good game, nice to see that our goalies appear solid. This remains the big question mark for the season of course. Give Boeser a bit of time; jeez, only two games and we’ve already demoted him? TSN picked him as #1 choice at this early stage for the Calder trophy. Gudbranson looked both horrible, and good. Jeckell and Hyde. The jury is out on him in my mind. Like his size and physicality, but the rest … needs improvement.
    Wasn’t McDavid and Draisital a joy to watch? Especially the goal with 2 seconds left, Draisital give and go (pivot into shooting position) and then McDavid’s buttery pass …

  • wojohowitz

    How it breaks down right now. They can keep one of Archibald, Virtanen or Boeser and have 13 forwards on their roster. They can keep one of Pedan, Weircioch or Biega and have 7 defensemen on their roster.

    • DJ_44

      I would go 14F/7D; keep either Archibald or Dorsett. Waive Wiercioch and Biega and keep Pedan as #6/7 (fight it out with Hutton for the 3rd pairing left side spot.

      • wojohowitz

        There are various issues that need to be address. Such as; Size Wiercioch, Archiballd and Pedan help solve the problem. Toughness; Pedan, Archibald and Dorsett solve the problem. Scoring; Virtanen or Boeser would help. Speed; Virtanen helps. Competence; Dorsett or Biega are solid veterans who can plug holes on a short term basis like a stretch of 3 games in 4 nights on the road and injuries in game one.

    • jaybird43

      Virtanen and Pedan … everybody else can be waived and it’s no real loss if they are scooped up. Virtanen can be sent down without waviers, but on his play, deserves to be up.

    • jaybird43

      Ya know, here’s the thing. I agree with breaking the Sedins apart due to their slowing foot speed, and the line-up is somewhat malleable at this point, like you’ve indicated with your lines. I don’t think we’ve got a high-level first line, but I also think our third and fourth lines might be stronger than average, particularly the fourth line. Interesting combo’s … thanks.

  • Roy

    So Green is just a thinner Desjardins? We get to yawn through another boring season of low-tier defensive/trap hockey with sub-NHL grinders taking up half the active roster, and they lose every other game regardless? What’s the point of firing Desjardins if you are going to replace him with the exact same type of thinking and deployment?

      • Roy

        Did you just come out of a three-year vegetative state? Okay, I’ll pointlessly state the obvious for you: Chaput, Megna, Dorsett, Biega, Archibald, plus all of our paper thin talent in Utica, like Subban and Pedan who’ve been developing backwards. Shall I recite the ABCs for you next?

          • Roy

            okaayyyy prove me wrong: Rodin is a cripple, Dahlens an unknown, Goldobin is young and lacking in defensive skills, our one good draft pick in the past nth years is already on the team, and the rest are total unknowns. The only one I think has a shot to be good is Boeser, because his arc is steep. The rest are all 50/50 Linden Veys and are developing very slowly or stagnating, or regressing (Virtanen last year). This site has a very good model for predicting talent and the metrics do not bode well. I don’t know why people in the comments section need their hands held so much. It’s okay, they suck now and they have no clear vision under Benning. He started building a bruiser team with a hulking, talentless defensive corps. Then he let his coaches over-play the Sedins into early retirement, instead of giving them the soft minutes they now deserve. Finally, he did an about-face and tried with mediocre success to trade proven talent for a tiny prospect pool that looks to me like the junior hockey equivalent of “To Build a Fire,” while signing a bunch of aged, if functional (for now) free agents.

          • truthseeker

            Rodin is healthy and needs to work on his game. Yep he’s not there yet, but he was found money for Benning in the first place.

            Dahlen is young and needs to be developed. He’s not an unknown…he’s a fairly high ranked prospect. He’s only 19.

            You make yourself look like a moron when you try to gloss over a kid like that to fit your narrative.

            Goldobin is young and lacking in defensive skills. Has there been anyone who said otherwise? You’re not making a point there. That’s why the canucks are trying to develop him.

            Rest are unknowns huh? Demko. Oli. Pettersson. Yeah…real “unknowns”. Looking like a moron again.

            And the rest of their prospect pool is JUST like any other NHL team’s prospect pool. Filled with guys who probably won’t make the NHL. That’s NORMAL.

            But by all means “prove me wrong”….show me an NHL franchise who’s entire system is filled with guys who will be NHL successes.

            Benning dumped more than 3/4’s of the team by his second year. The rebuild started the day he was hired. One look at the roster changes he made proves you wrong. You may not LIKE the changes. But he did make them.

            The rest is just your opinion. Which is fine. I think they look pretty good with their prospects considering we never get a first over all pick and always drop in the lottery. We get players who need more time to develop. Fine by me.

            So there…you’ve been proved wrong. now you can ……. off.

        • DJ_44

          I imagine that one, maybe two of the five mentioned will be here come Tuesday afternoon.
          Subban may just not be NHL level talent. Pedan will play.
          So you are saying you are mathematically challenged or just not paying attention. Got it.

        • Roy

          LOL. The ad hominems in particular are a decent attestation to the quality of thinking that transpires before people respond here. Nice playground tactics. You haven’t proven anything I’ve said wrong. We have one semi-recent draft pick in the mix right now: Horvat. Boeser may be the real deal. Everyone else is a potential washout – did you see Juolevi play this summer? I did. He looked terrible, and he was playing against kids like himself. I know the facts hurt, ladies. Every attempt to critique my analysis is either pearl clutching of wistful, wishful thinking. You’re like a bunch of teenage girls on the phone on a Friday night. Maybe, oh, maybe! Pettersson will be a 2nd line calibre two-way defensive center! It’s a one in one hundred chance! And Demko! Have you seen him play to the level of a mediocre backup goalie?! He’s so dreamy. Hahaha

    • Dirty30

      WD’s top two plodders just got put on waivers … and not a Vey-like ballerina in sight either.

      That alone puts Green waaaaaay above WD.

      Archibald–Burmistev–Virtanen … that could be a very fun line to watch!

      • Killer Marmot

        Benning, not the coach, determines the roster. Further, Desjardins had no depth to work with last year. When his starters got injured, there was nothing he could call on.