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Photo Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig - USA TODAY Sports

CanucksArmy Post-Game: Parried the Blade

Canucks Defeat the Sabres 4-2

In a first intermission interview with Sportsnet’s Dan Murphy, Chris Tanev essentially said that in spite of the 2-1 deficit that if the Canucks continued to play as they did in the first, they’d probably come out on top.

There was every reason to be confident from the Canucks perspective. They won the territorial battle at even strength and pinned the Buffalo Sabres in their zone for minutes at a time. The shots were 17-5 when the frame ended.

Sabres winger Justin Bailey opened the scoring a minute into the game, and Jack Eichel went end-to-end and snuck one underneath Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom’s pads for the second goal. Canucks winger Markus Granlund scored a goal of his own between the two Sabres tallies — his first of the season.

In the second period, almost as Tanev predicted, the Canucks continued to press, and the scoreboard started to reflect it. On a rare odd-man rush for the Canucks penalty kill, Brandon Sutter carried the puck into the offensive zone, fired a low shot for a rebound and Derek Dorsett was there to put it home to draw the game at two. About two minutes later, Daniel Sedin scored a controversial goal that involved a questionable offside call in the Canucks’ favour, sending his own rebound past Sabres netminder Chad Johnson.

From there, the Canucks cruised to the final horn. The Sabres pressed in the third, but the Canucks did a bang-up job of protecting the lead without completely going into a shell. Dorsett put away the game with an empty-net goal late in the third, good to give him the lead for goals on the Canucks with his fourth of the young season. Just like everyone predicted.

Jacob Markstrom stopped 20 of 22 Sabres shots. Opposite Markstrom, Chad Johnson stopped 37 of 40 Canucks tries.

Stats

Quick Hits

  • I’m not sure if Markstrom is ever going to be able to win the starting job for more than a week at a time if he keeps giving up an inexcusably soft goal in the first period of every game. Markstrom is a proud goaltender and thoroughly honest when assessing his own play — there’s no way he’s happy about this trend. It has to be driving Canucks head coach Travis Green mad as well. The Eichel goal today, while not a good look for the Canucks defence and Ben Hutton in particular, just can’t happen. Full marks to Markstrom bouncing back and playing an otherwise excellent game. He always — or almost always, rather — seems to bounce back from those ugly goals. But it’s bad practice to put your team in a situation where they’re always chasing. Hopefully, Markstrom can fix that part of his game.
  • Derek Dorsett is the Canucks leading goal-scorer. Yes, that Derek Dorsett — leads the Canucks in goals. Four of them. A year after potentially career-threatening neck surgery. I’m not going to sit here and pretend I’m a fan of his deployment. On the contrary, I don’t think there’s ever a good reason to play Dorsett anywhere close to the 18:02 he played tonight. He’s a fourth-liner, on the wrong side of 30, and I don’t suspect he’s going to improve his game at any point significantly. In fact, I think he’s the player the Canucks should sit on nights when they’re deciding between Brock Boeser, Alexander Burmistrov and Jake Virtanen. But, man, what a hell of a story. I have to hand it to Dorsett, to return to the Canucks lineup at all given his role and the injury he recovered from is an amazing feat unto itself. That he’s been semi-effective at even strength and led the team in goals for any period of time is really, really damn cool. I’m happy for the guy, even if I don’t necessarily agree with his usage. I mean, how couldn’t you be?
  • This was the Canucks best game of the year. Yes, it was against Buffalo, but it’s still worth noting all the same. As The Daily Hive’s Rob Williams pointed out at the end of the second period, they’d already bested their single-game shot record for the year by that point in the game. It was on the second half of a back-to-back. Real recognize real.
  • Ben Hutton has to get better in the defensive zone, full-stop. The way Hutton played that Eichel goal would leave most pee-wee coaches pulling their hair. There is absolutely no room or time to make a play, so Hutton shouldn’t take his eyes off the attacking forward to try and fish a puck out of his skates that he clearly can’t find. You have to take the body on that play. I can’t stress enough how painfully obvious that would — or rather should — be to anyone who’s ever played the position. There’s a lot to like about Hutton’s game; it’s just that the defensive side of it is not there yet. It doesn’t even look close most nights.
  • With Erik Gudbranson sidelined by a one-game suspension, Troy Stecher got to play a more significant role for the Canucks, and I thought he handled it really well. I like the way Stecher is jumping into the play to try and create offence. Let’s hope Green takes notice and starts to play Stecher in a larger role when everyone is there for the Canucks blue line. Stecher deserves too.
  • If you follow us on Twitter, you’ll notice that we’ve brought back CanucksArmy’s Money on the Board charity pledge. Here are the basics: you choose a prop bet and put money down for it. Here are my bets for the year: For every game Brandon Sutter finishes with an even or better Corsi rating, that’s two dollars. Same rules apply for Erik Gudbranson. And since I actually want to donate to this charity, I added another pledge: I would donate $2.00 for every Stecher point. It’s such a great cause. All proceeds go to the Make a Wish Foundation. I’d implore everyone with a little spare change to put their money down to make some kid’s dream come to life.

  • Cageyvet

    I have no issues with Dorsett’s deployment, in a meritocracy who deserves it more than him?

    I posted my apologies to Dorsett here on CA after game 1 or 2, I can’t remember which, but his improved play was noticeable from the drop of the first puck. He had declined to the point I would have waived him for a young player to step in. Apparently the neck surgery was just what the doctor ordered, pun intended.

    If he’s reasonably effective on the ice he’s an automatic keeper no matter what, this is just gravy. You know that he’s all heart, and what teammate doesn’t love a guy who has proven time and again he’ll take on the league’s heavyweights for you.

    Great game by Jake, not so hot for the defense and goaltending but they took the points on the road, I’ll take it.

  • Killer Marmot

    On the contrary, I don’t think there’s ever a good reason to play Dorsett anywhere close to the 18:02 he played tonight.

    The Canucks are short of forwards with defensive skills, especially with Eriksson and Gaunce out. Expect Sutter and Dorsett to get lots of ice time until that is addressed, especially in games where the Canucks lead much of the time.

  • DJ_44

    It took JD a full year and a half to finally realize Hutton is brutal in his own zone. Gudbranson was apparently the reason for his poor play last year; just last night Hutton needed to “work on his defensive game below the goal line”; and now the area needing attention has expanded.

    And he called Gudbranson “below replacement level”. Gulp.

  • Freud

    These games and results are meaningless. What we should be looking at is the future.

    With that in mind, we should all hope Benning saw his team play 2 decent periods in Boston without Gudbranson and their most dominant game of the year without him tonight.

    Here’s hoping the last 2 nights mean Gudbransen is sheltered going forward so he maintains some sort of value and then flipped at the deadline for futures.

    We know we will never get the same value back as we lost, but it’s addition by subtraction at least.

  • Ragnarok Ouroboros

    Dorsett is now playing well enough that I can think Canucks may be able to offer him at the trade deadline and get some assets back. Of course we are dealing with a small sample size right now, but he actually has been playing very well.

    • speering major

      yeah if Dorsett can establish himself as a guy that can handle a checking role and kill penalties, teams might be willing to pick up his salary next season where his toughness will also be valued (less value in a playoff run/deadline deal)

  • Ragnarok Ouroboros

    Hutton has moments where he looks pretty good, but he has an equal share of moments where he looks bad. He should have played the body on Eichel instead of becoming mesmerized by the puck in his feet; that said, the coach can work with him to fix that part of his game. Markstrom should have had the Eichel shot anyway, it was a very week shot.

  • Laxbruh15

    Stecher completely blew his coverage on the first goal, not a good night. This was not a parry, the canucks thrashed the sabres. I’m sick of the constant negativity where the only reprieve is essentially just below neutrality. Post something encouraging after a dominant win.

  • Cageyvet

    Side note on tonight’s game. I wonder how many teams, if any, have iced the Free Agent Line? Canucks made that happen tonight putting Burmistrov out with Gagner and Vanek. The name for the line is a no-brainer.

  • Braindead Benning

    its alway nice to see the sabres lose and most importanly that arrogant self entitled piece of $hit Eichel being a non factor besides that crappy goal… wonder how long Botterill and Housely last when Jack has his annuall next temper tantrum… guy is a total cancer to any team he will play on unlike Matthews & McDavid who are true leader in the new NHL

  • truthseeker

    That pass Jake made on the Danny goal was just amazing. Excellent patience, then between the legs….beautiful. That’s the kind of thing that makes his potential so exciting. The size part is great but that kind of patience and skill is what separates the better NHL players from the average ones.

    Canucks are a bit bi polar….good game, bad game, good game….

    And really I don’t care how many minutes Dorsett gets if he contributes like that. The kids will get their ice. Ride the hot hand.

  • Otto Roy

    Terrible game, it was like watching a Willie D team all over again. The Canucks reputation obviously preceeded them, never seen the Buffalo rink so empty!

  • Jabs

    Glad to see Dorsett bouncing back, he is a leading candidate for the Bill Masterton trophy imo. I hope no one gets too excited ands drops a good player in their hockey pool to pick him up because I doubt he will keep up this scoring pace but as long as he keeps playing hard, who knows….

  • wojohowitz

    Buffalo is a good example of what a teardown really looks like. Half their roster looks like spare parts and of course Eichel is upset. There`s no light at the end of the tunnel and no confidence that management can turn it around.

  • Ronning4ever

    Dorsett’s shooting % is 40%. It’ll go down…trust me. I actually thought one of his best plays of the game was when he checked Kane, who had a wide open net. I’ll enjoy it while it lasts.

    Other interesting notes after falling down the nhl.com stats well:

    Henrik has played 28 minutes of PP time and has ZERO shots.
    Stecher is 3rd league wide in Cor Rel.
    Stecher, Tavev have great defensive numbers, while Del Zotto is quietly putting together a solid top 20 offensive season thats definitely worth $3 mil.
    The team has almost no shooters. It’s playing trap hockey and it’s barely working.

    I have a sneaking suspicion Green and Benning are playing a long game this year. I have a feeling you’ll see major turnovers/changes in ice time and personnel as things go on. Line upheaval, trades, demotions, etc. Opposing teams, will never know exactly what they’ll get while he’ll be looking to bring out the best in players with weird line combos.

    • canuckfan

      Of course Dorset’s numbers will not stay at this level. After his injury and during healing process he had time to reflect of how much he missed hockey and how many years he has left, could have been career ending so he is giving it his all and enjoying every minute while he is out there. Glad Green has brought out the best in him Willy just had him as an enforcer but he is showing that he is much more than that.

    • Flying V

      They brought in Vanek to be a shooter and he will get some looks. Gagner can’t bury from more than 10ft away. Hopefully Boeser can stay on the PP as he is THE shooter. Virtanen also has a very nice release.
      I agree that ice times will change significantly by season’s end, when you basically have have a team of 2-3 liners and prospects, roll out the players who are currently playing the best – like Dorsett right now.

    • Bud Poile

      Bud, who extended the pee wee?

      “You would think a former d-man GM would be able to evaluate defencemen…
      Bud, who extended the pee wee? ” Freud
      Gillis left the cupboards near empty and so Hutton is an attempted turnover asset if and/or when it is decided he can’t be defensively developed.
      Lots of tweeners have had to be given a shot here over the last 3 years.

  • Silverback

    JD…you’re a little passive aggressive on the subject of Dorset. Is that by design? If he continues to do well, you can say you were behind him, but if he falters you can say I told you so?

  • TheRealPB

    What a weird season so far. Boston kills us then blows a big lead against a Buffalo team that looked barely competent against us. Ottawa is lights out against Calgary, Edmonton and Toronto and listless against us. Mostly it’s made me think that again there’s way more parity than we sometimes acknowledge.

    I’d love to see CA talk as much about Buffalo in the “tear-down” mantra as they do about Toronto. Because I still think a fatal flaw in believing that a tear-down works and pointing to the Leafs as evidence is in completely ignoring the contexts — that it has worked for TO because a) they got luckier with the lottery in getting Matthews (rather than Eichel instead of McDavid), b) because they can flex economic muscles in burying terrible contracts in real dollars or taking on other teams’ mistakes (e.g. Horton), and c) because they have a fanbase that won’t go away no matter how much they lose in the meantime.

    How are the Sabres going to fare when Pegula gets tired of this? Maybe Casey Middlestadt comes through. Maybe Eichel proves to be more than he is now. Maybe Alex Nylander turns out to be somewhat as good as his brother. Maybe Rasmus Asplund (the #2 pick we sent originally to Florida in the Gudbranson trade) starts scoring more than 0.5 PPG in the SHL. Maybe Sam Reinhart starts making Buffalo look like taking him instead of Draisaitl was a good choice. But from here it looks like 5 top ten picks in 5 years (and 2 #2 overalls) hasn’t provided the positive improvement that tear-down advocates assure us they will.

  • Dahlenfan

    I eat he’s all the games last year and I have watched all but 1 this year. It wasn’t the most exciting game even though there were a lot of shots. Id say it was not a willie dof last year. Maybe his first year. Last we teapped beyond belief because willy didnt trust our team which was completely understandable. But green has moving our feet and making fast passes. Not even close to rezembling willy from last year. Maybe in the third when they sat back. I’m not here to argue with u. I just don’t think either your comments or the guy arguing with u are necessary or appreciated. We come here to talk hockey. Not be little kids getting mad at each other and swearing to sound more grown up. Come on guys I quit reading at sportsmen because of juvenile comments like these. Keep it clean and keep to the point. The canucks had a good night after a terrible night last. Good job canucks.