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Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin - USA TODAY Sports

CanucksArmy Post-Game: Home Sweet Home

Canucks Topple Capitals 6-2

The Canucks haven’t had much luck at home yet this season. But coming off a powerhouse five-game road trip, they were able to hold onto some momentum in front of a home crowd tonight – against the Washington Capitals, no less.

The first period was all Vancouver. They took away any time that the Capitals managed to gain in their zone, never allowing them to set up any real chances. At the other end of the ice, they pounced on goaltender Braden Holtby.

After an unsuccessful Canucks power play, Tomas Vanek was the first to get his name on the board, forcing one past Holtby with assists from Gagner and Burmistrov.

The sleepwalking Capitals wasted no time taking another penalty for tripping, but this time Bo Horvat found the back of the net on the power play, tallying his fourth of the year. Not to be left out, Markus Granlund added a third goal just minutes later.

In the final minutes of the first period, the Capitals started to show their frustration at being out-shot 13-3. Devante Smith-Pelly tried to get physical with Erik Gudbranson, who blanked him, even as players from both teams got a little scrappy with each other.

The Capitals woke up before the second period, but the Canucks weren’t going to be complacent. Tom Wilson, who has more goals against Vancouver (four goals in seven games) than he does against any other team, was effectively shut down by a starfish sprawl from Chris Tanev.

Gudbranson, on the other hand, would make a second questionable hit on Brett Connolly, after hitting him late in the first period, as well. Though the second hit appeared shoulder to shoulder at first, Gudbranson may have clipped Connolly a bit higher, hitting his head against the glass. He made his way to the Capitals’ dressing room for the rest of the game.

Tomas Vanek tried his hand at getting a second goal, faking a slapshot on a breakaway, but no luck.

Washington’s Taylor Chorney took two for tripping, and in a weird sequence, Sven Baertschi would net a power play goal off his foot. Down by four, Smith-Pelly pinged one off the crossbar and crashed the Vancouver net. Sam Ganger took exception, cross-checking Smith-Pelly and heading to the penalty box. Even shorthanded, the Canucks found chances. Bo Horvat had a good look at Braden Holtby while Vancouver was still down a man.

Fifteen minutes into the second, Derek Dorsett scored a wrap-around goal, ending Holtby’s night. Philipp Grubauer in net momentarily energized the Capitals, allowing Evgeny Kuznetsov to score his first goal of the season on an Alex Ovechkin rebound seventeen seconds after Dorsett’s goal.

Washington let their frustration lead them into the third period. They were able to fire off a few shots in the first five minutes, but when nothing stuck, Tom Wilson did what Tom Wilson does best and went after Gudbranson, presumably as retribution for his hits on Connolly earlier in the game. Both took five for fighting, but Wilson was assessed an additional two for instigating, two for cross-checking, and a game misconduct. Baertschi scored his second power play goal of the night on the second half of the extended four-minute power play.

Getting a bit sloppy, the Canucks took two more penalties near the end of the third period. With 2:08 left, Chandler Stephenson worked his way through Anders Nilsson, but it was too little too late. A four-goal deficit was just too much to bounce to overcome.

As the final buzzer rang, Tanev shared a few shoves with Lars Eller at centre ice. There certainly wasn’t any love lost here.

The Numbers

Quick Hits

  • With three assists tonight, Brock Boeser now has 14 points in 17 career NHL games.
  • Sven Baertschi’s first power play goal was his 100th NHL point.
  • After fighting with Tom Wilson, Gudbranson was inspecting his wrist in the penalty box. It was taped up during the fight and may be something to follow closely.
  • Remember how we said in the last three meetings between these teams, the Canucks were 3/11 on the power play? Tonight special teams were the story, with Vancouver 3/5 on the night and keeping the Capitals 0/3. Not too shabby.
  • Both Washington goals tonight were scored by players who hadn’t yet scored this season, thanks largely to the shutdown line doing their job against Alex Ovechkin.
  • Big D, little d

    I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, but for the most part the Canucks have been racking up points against the bottom of the table. Ottawa is the only team Vancouver has played that is currently in the top half of the NHL standings. Vancouver ranks 22nd in RPI (via sportsclubstats.com). RPI rates teams based on wins, losses and strength of schedule. So while wins are definitely better than losses, we might want to temper our enthusiasm until Vancouver starts beating, you know, actual good teams.

    • TheRealPB

      Again, this point has been made many times. It’s early days. It’s really hard to imagine that the Canucks won’t go through tough stretches and fall back down to earth (though somehow the same caveats aren’t being presented to other early season surprises). But they also are nowhere near the epic disaster that so many seemed to predict. If the goal of rational fans is to have them slowly bring along the young talent and not get killed due to the lack of depth, then we’re on a good track, even if we start to lose many more games. If the goal is to keep pinning our hopes to lottery fantasies then yes I guess we aren’t looking too good.

      • Chris Searle

        Next 10 games will tell the story. If we’re still over .500 after those then this starts looking real. Either way, they’re fun to watch and a corner has pretty clearly been turned.

      • Big D, little d

        >> But they also are nowhere near the epic disaster that so many seemed to predict.

        No question. Even being ranked 22nd in the league (via RPI) is better than the “bottom 3” prediction being bandied about by so many before the season.

    • Bud Poile

      All but Detroit/Buffalo finished at the top of their respective divisions on a reversion to means arguement.
      Canucks have better deployment/coaching,depth and balance this season.

  • pheenster

    After a little more thought you really need to back off, son. Fun and games on Twitter and here at CA is one thing. Threatening real world violence is quite another. You’ve already said enough here to get yourself into legal hot water. If that happens, it’s all gonna come out and a lot of people are going to look really really bad. Take my advice and cool it.

    Oh, and I’m not the only person who knows either. You’ve attracted quite a lot of attention to yourself, and that causes people to get curious and start digging. It’s really not that hard to figure out. So do yourself (and a few others) a favour and drop it before this goes any further.

  • Chris Searle

    OK pal. Here’s the deal. I was going to get you booted from CA but I’ve decided against it. Better that you keep showing people your ass around here. I’m now posting under my real name. You can keep posting here too. But I’ll keep calling you on your BS. How does that sound?

  • Chris Searle

    That was part of an exchange with someone who has apparently been removed by the proprietors of the site. All my posts above are now completely out of context which is actually pretty funny. Makes me look like a rambling loony. Which may be true lol