Photo Credit: Bob Frid - USA TODAY Sports

CanucksArmy Post-Game: Canucks Gagner in Overtime Over the Sharks

You just had to know the Canucks were going to come into tonight’s game like a bat out of hell. I mean, how else would you expect them to respond to a 7-1 drubbing in front of the home crowd?

What I didn’t expect was the Canucks out-shooting the visiting San Jose Sharks 22-13 in the first frame. I sure as hell didn’t expect Markus Granlund to lead the charge either. Snakebitten for much of the season, Granlund opened the scoring 44 seconds into the game on the power play and scored another as a separate man advantage expired, all before the first horn.

Sure, the Sharks got a goal of their own. Brent Burns found the back of the net to break up the Markus Granlund experience.

At no point though did it feel like the Canucks weren’t in full control.

When Brock Boeser potted the second Canucks power play goal halfway through the second, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that they had this one in the books.

As many were wise to point out going into tonight’s game, though, the Sharks have long had the Canucks number. Last season the Canucks lost each of their five games against the Sharks in regulation, and none of them were especially close games.

Sharks forward Marcus Sorensen cut the Canucks lead in half by the end of the second, and doubt started to creep in. As the Sharks upped their attack in the third, culminating in the tying goal off of Burns’ stick (again) it started to feel like last year all over again.

The Canucks had lost their lead in shots, shot attempts and now goals. Quite the feat, given the cushion they’d built themselves in the early goings.

Without their shutdown defenceman, match-up centre, first line pivot and his partner on the left flank, the Canucks looked poised to put the cherry on top of another disappointing loss at home with an overtime setback.

The Canucks didn’t falter, though; they didn’t set back and defend the tie to little effect. They attacked, and kept attacking, right until Sam Gagner scored the game-winning goal with less than 30 seconds left to play in overtime.

Jacob Markstrom stopped 34 of the Sharks 37 shots. Opposite Markstrom, North Vancouver’s Martin Jones was excellent tonight, stopping 36 of 40 Canucks shots.

The Numbers

Quick Hits

  • How’s that for a Markus Granlund coming out party? Not bad, eh? Honestly, I’ve been waiting for a night like tonight for a couple weeks now. Hell, maybe a couple of nights like tonight. All signs pointed to Granlund taking positive steps forward since leaving the “shutdown” line, and now the results are starting to follow — isn’t that always how it goes? Two goals might’ve been a bit excessive, but anytime someone gets 0.62 expected goals in a game, they’re doing something well. Whatever Canucks head coach Travis Green said to Granlund this morning, it worked.

  • As far as entertainment goes, I’m not sure I’ve seen many Canucks games better than this one. In total, the two teams combined for 77 shots and almost nine expected goals. A lot of coaches talk the talk when it comes to playing an up-tempo game and preaching pace. There are few I’ve seen that live up to their word quite like Green does. And missing his most relied upon centres, too. If the Canucks are going to go down, it won’t be by sitting back on a lead or working for a tie. It’s a nice change of pace.

  • Sam Gagner has been an interesting player to follow this season. All the underlying data suggests that at some point he should start producing, though nowhere near the levels he produced at last season. Going into tonight’s game, Gagner was sixth on the Canucks in expected goals output. It’s not great, but it’s better than the 10th place he’s in on the team in actual goals. Who knows, maybe tonight is the start of a hot streak for Gagner?

  • In my piece for The Athletic Vancouver on which Canucks defenceman should sit assuming they have a healthy blue line, I suggested that Michael Del Zotto made the most sense. So, of course, he has one of his best games of the season tonight. In over 20 minutes, Del Zotto was buzzing all over the ice for the Canucks. He was creating chances in the offensive zone and doing a solid job defensively when called upon. Del Zotto had a positive shot attempt differential and produced several scoring chances in the first period. It was one of his best games of the season.

  • Your leader in shots on goal tonight? Why none other than Alex Biega! The added offence is a nice wrinkle, but the Bulldog was solid at all ends of the ice. He threw a thunderous hit on Melker Karlsson in the second period and was just generally solid in the defensive zone. It’s a solid luxury the Canucks have in keeping Biega as their seventh defenceman. It’s a difficult spot, sitting for a month, then coming in and playing as well as he does. Certainly, some credit is due.


  • NeverWas

    Ok. It’s official, Brock Boeser is elite. He beat an NHL goalie, who was on his game tonight and beat him with that shot once but twice in less the 30 seconds. His release is deadly. It starting to really look like it won’t slow down… how many different ways has he scored this year? High hockey IQ with a shot like that plus His underlying analytics in every metric are solid every game.

    How do no one see this coming? Why isnt his face everywhere?

    • truthseeker

      With all due respect….pretty sure I was about the only one a few months back, when CA had the predictions or expectations or whatever, for the coming season, to say it was reasonable to expect a 30 goal season from Boeser. Got thumbed down for it too if I recall correctly. Not sure why. Guy came in and scored 4 in 9 games last season and then followed it up with an excellent training camp. I think a 30 goal season was a totally reasonable prediction given his pedigree and looking at top rookie goal scoring yearly in the NHL.

      Now…if he keeps up the 42 goal pace he’s on….that would be impressive. And more and more expensive for the canucks.

      • 51Geezer

        Nothing wrong with “more and more expensive”, imo. Wouldn’t we love to see two or three young Canucks making $8 – 10 million and earning every dollar?

        • truthseeker

          Actually I wouldn’t. Not at the current cap levels. I’ve said before how I think the canucks should take a different approach to building a team than the “pay two superstars” and pray you can cobble together a cohesive unit every year, model. It’s very unstable. Not to mention we never seem to get a superstar…haha…

          I really think they need to get a bunch of decent scoring guys all through the lineup who have the work ethic and D awareness. A bunch of Horvat’s and Tanev’s etc….on contracts from 4 to 6 million.

          Have a team that’s top line might not match up the best against the “McDavids” of the world but depth that will absolutely destroy the Oilers 3rd and 4th lines. Then you can easily be competitive with those teams.

          Boeser will become a problem for the canucks if they want to build a deep team. He is a joy to watch though.

      • Dirk22

        Truthseeker – Aren’t you the guy who was always saying that wingers are the most useless position? Something about goal scoring wingers being a dime a dozen?!

        • truthseeker

          Actually Dirk, what I say is, and you know this, but you’re just being a ……., is that wingers are almost worthless in terms of trade value. And that is true. A winger will never bring back an equivalent level center or D man. Not at this point anyway. And you know that is true as well.

          It’s not rocket science, it’s simply looking at trade precedent.

          And you also know I’ve never said anywhere that wingers are useless in terms of their impact as players on the game. But by all means, go find where I implied that anywhere in CA posting history. If you can I’ll be glad to admit it.

          But nice try Dirk. I know you get tired of me pointing out how illogical you are most of the time and you not having responses for it. I’m sure it’s frustrating, so you feel the need to “get me” when you think you see an opportunity. But this wasn’t it. Unfortunately you didn’t have the self awareness to see it. Which is why you are illogical much of the time.

          • truthseeker

            oh and it was “20 goal scorers” being a “dime a dozen”. And they are.

            Again….trying to misrepresent what I said to fit your narrative. But hey by all means, again, go find where I said 30+ goals scoring wingers are a dime a dozen. lol….betcha can’t…

          • johnnno

            I’ll be down at the Pitcher for Jackson’s get together keyboard warrior, so come on down and let’s see how you run your mouth in the real world a$$wipe. Oh and bring silversack with ya to ride shotgun… look forward to it. 100 bucks says neither of you creeps will show.

          • Holly Wood

            Make up your mind cupcake. Tell us again about wingers having little trade value. On behalf of Howe, Richard, Hull, Mahovolich, Bucky, Mogilny, McDonald, Bossy, Bure, and others. You are just an immature windbag, please head to Oiler nation.

          • truthseeker

            56 wingers listed on NHL dot com had 20 or more goals last season. That’s not even including guys who basically got 20 by getting 19 or the bizarre way in which NHL dot com lists guys like Nylander and Granlund as a Center instead of a wing.

            Every team in the league has at least two of them. That’s a ton. Nothing special about a 20 goal scoring winger at all.

            Or are you going to try to tell me guys like Jason Chimera, Paul Byron, Jakub Voracek, Vrbata are all huge superstars with massive trade potential who would cost the canucks an arm and a leg to acquire?

            Of course, you do think those 2nd rounders are just about the most important thing in the universe, so maybe you would consider that a heavy price…lol.

          • Dirk22

            Why are you rambling on about 20 goal scorers like Chimera, Vanek etc? You were talking back to a commentator who was saying we shouldn’t “miss the next Nylander or Ehlers.” Your full quote was “yeah an undersized winger….the most worthless dime a dozen position in hockey..” How’s that for context?

            See for yourself: https://canucksarmy.com/2017/04/29/3-players-the-vancouver-canucks-could-select-5th-overall/#comments

          • truthseeker

            Yes, Dirk….and AGAIN because it seems you’re still completely useless at understanding the concept of context…..that was from a TRADE value perspective. Undersized wingers have very little trade value. AND that was talking about Nylander and Ehlers BEFORE he had done anything in the NHL. And you know it.

            Nice try…..well…not really….just typical cherry picking dirk.

            How’s Nylander doing this year? 6 goals or something? Jake’s only 2 behind him buried on the canucks 4th line with 10 minutes a night. Where’s Nylander playing? How many minutes? Linemates? lol…

            Keep counting those chickens……I’ll keep waiting to see.

    • Lemmy Kilmister

      2 great points you made, and i did emphasize in the past he reminds me a little of Brett Hull… maybe his shot is not that hard but its his ability to to place his shot in the exact location he is aiming for, combine that with smart positioning and his ability to anticipate the play before it happens makes him a pure goal scorer

    • canuckfan

      Everyone is talking about Brock’s great shot, what impressed me in this game was how good he was in his own end carrying the puck out with confidence. Nice to see Canucks having such an elite player with backup coming up and just wait until Bo returns they are going to be a real threat giving everyone else room to move as all the best defenders will play against Brock and Bo. Jake is showing a bit of flash and soon will put it all together and drive to the net with confidence and full force hard to stop such a big body with speed.
      I know that we will see more of the games where team will fall apart but am satisfied Canucks are on the right path another year of drafting in the top spots will help give us more depth.

    • copey

      I’ve liked Biega for 3 years now. Some of the analytics haven’t been good against him in the past, and maybe he’s not a long-term solution, but he’s always doing something out there. He’s the perfect 7th D-man. I would way rather have him on the team than Chaput, Gaunce, Smegma or the other career AHL players. *** And Benning is hardly a genius for taking Boeser. The GMs above him are idiots for not taking him. Benning getting something out of Granlund and Baertschi and Pouliot, now that’s first rate.

      • Perhaps Boeser is an example of how scouting ranking systems can fail because Boeser was ranked 23rd and that’s exactly where he was taken. What was interesting was how the BTS video showed Benning targeting Boeser. So Benning had some sort of plan with Boeser when he was making his pick.

        • canuckfan

          likely one reason he wasn’t rated very high is the path he had taken and other scouts didn’t think he would fair y well playing against other talented bigger players

  • Rodeobill

    Wow. Who are you and what did you do with my Canucks!?
    Awesome game. Needed it after that last one. If they can bring that game each night, I’ll be more than happy win or lose. Physical, aggressive, and never let back on the throttle.
    What was that about JB looking for a trade during half time? Interesting.
    Also, you know the reffing is a little off if Shorthouse pipes up about it even more than Cheech. If not for Jones, this game is a blowout.

    • copey

      The reffing in the 3rd was terrible, bordering on outright bias. Missed hook on Hank, botched non-icing call, missed Burns face-cuffing Granlund (think it was him), etc.

      • truthseeker

        It’s not biased. It’s simply NHL game management. If the score had been canucks down a goal in the third you would have seen “opportunities” for the canucks.

        • Dirty30

          Find one game where the Canucks have been “gifted” opportunities… in down by 6 goals the refs will give them ghost penalties… it’s effing disgusting.

          • truthseeker

            Sorry…but the “conspiracy against the canucks by the NHL” thing is just nonsense. I’ve seen several games this year where the canucks got some soft calls in their favor late in close games. I’m not a total dork so I don’t track them.

            It’s fine though. If you want to believe the league is “out to get” the canucks go ahead. Just expect me to say they aren’t. Cause they aren’t.

  • truthseeker

    Nice. Nice bounce back. This is what last years team could not do. This team has some resilience and that’s a great thing to see. Plus, it stuffs it down the throats of all the self loathing canuck “fans” who automatically default to the worst possible attitude at the first sign of trouble.

    It’s only one win and the short term looks like a painful stretch for the team, but it is what it is. Good teams know when things like this happen you start working even harder. Even when you lose. At least the canucks are looking like they’re building that kind of work ethic. Just keep fighting.

    Nice to see Granlund producing. Nice to see the twins continue their excellent play. Nice to see Boeser not only score from that spot, but pause, take the goalie on, one on one, and just clean beat him. And REALLY nice to see Gagner do something. Finally. Don’t know if it means much but hopefully it will get him going a bit. You know he must be feeling relief with that goal.

  • copey

    Just looked at the +/- stats for the team.

    Tanev is +9. Wow.
    Hank and Dank are -5. Hmmm. At least the PP is going again, thanks to Brock.

    Vanek and Gagner are -16, del Zotto -15.
    In only 33 games. How is that even freaking possible, in less than half a season?
    Vanek and del Zotto were known quantities for defensive liabilities, but that is UUGGGLLLYYY.

          • sloth

            Correct Bud, but the role that Sutter plays is shut-down centre on the shutdown line, which has traditionally always been the 3rd line’s role. Hank has been this team’s top centre for 10+ years and is still producing at a wholly acceptable rate. Horvat may play more now but Henrik is still the captain and top centre. How can you even entertain the thought that Hank is C3 on the Canucks?

          • Bud Poile

            Henrik is my favourite to finish second in scoring behind Boeser.
            Sutter has missed ten games but his ATOI is still 2.2 minutes more than Hank.Earlier on Sutter was doubling + Hank’s ice time.
            TG has judiciously played to the individual strengths of each of the top 3 centers to strengthen the team.
            Without Sutter/Granlund/Dorsett’s decisively heavy lifting against the league’s top lines early on Hank and Bo wouldn’t have had the luxury of lesser opponents.
            At 37 Hank is still a master but he needs help defensively and Green provided him breathing/operating room with Sutter.

          • Wide Awake in Ubud

            ”Over working veterans and risking injuries has now passed with Willie D moving on”. – Bud Poile

            More pathetic hypocritical trolling from class clown Bud/beers after/Locust/Green loser etc… can we get this no-life nutjob banned and locked up ffs, he is a menace to society both on and offline.

  • TheRealPB

    Very enjoyable game, nice finish. Nice to see that they didn’t seem to really sit back at all with the lead; the last two Sharks goals were off skates and Markstrom made two marvelous saves right after 3-3. But on the other hand Jones absolutely robbed the Canucks on several wide open chances (especially the one off Eriksson). The icing calls were ridiculous, with Tierney so clearly avoiding or delaying on at least two (and given our problems in the face-off circle it wasn’t great). The reffing was also not great with the punch to Granlund so unnecessary. On the other hand I thought Burmistrov was lucky to get just 2 minutes; I thought that was a potentially suspension-worthy hit as it was a blindside to the head and resulted in a clear injury. Edler was a monster all night and made a great play to Gagner (and what a finish!). I had been thinking up to that point that I didn’t understand his ice time given his play (Gagner I mean) but I’d love to see a bit more skill like that. As the recap says, that was by far the best game by Dowd; made me think that trading Subban for a little bit of C depth is definitely worth it if it continues. He was strong on the puck, won a few face-offs and seemed much more confident. And when the injury situation gets sorted out, I still think Biega has earned a spot above MDZ even if this was a better performance than the last month. No matter who the opposition is, Biega will hit everyone, rush the puck, stand up the opposition at the blue line, really great. I think he’s better than Gudbranson too.

    I realize SJS are not nearly as strong as either the Predators or the Jets (and were on the second of a back-to-back) but it’s more indication of league parity that we can win even without most of the top end of the team.

    • Cageyvet

      I gave your comments a cheer, and I’m a Biega fan, but when he gets extended runs of games his flaws come out like any other player. He had a great game, but if we have a truly solid defence, he will remain in the 7 slot, and I’m fine with what he brings to that role.

      What we need to add to the team is Biega’s energy in an everyday player. Dorsett was bringing that, and I will say that until they replace that infectious balls-to-the-wall mentality I’m fine with Biega playing more often. I said he’s a 7th man if we have a solid defence corps, and we’re not there yet, so let’s see more of the bulldog.

  • JD, how did you make it through this whole write up without mentioning how fantastic the Sedins were, and how they seem to have found their powerplay game again? Three points each tonight, all of them beauties – so much fun to watch.

    • Dirty30

      No that’s likely JD — he wrote a really good write up on the Canucks with no snark and has to release that inner tension by down-voting positive comments here. It’s better than snark in every article though.

        • Wide Awake in Ubud

          True. It serves nobody but the blind, deaf and dumb to finish outside the playoffs but not low enough in the standings to get top odds at an elite pick which Dahlin is.

          That’s where the Canucks are headed right now and it’s not cool. Can’t all you cheerleader fools see that?

  • Locust

    Great game. This team has leadership.
    Professional write-up without the normal snark and cheap shots at Sutter, Guddy and Dorsett.
    Notice no trolls in the comments…..

  • Nice bounce back win. Good effort and hard work paid off on this one.

    Bulldog Biega was more like a pit bull.He had a good game. Same with Markstrom. I was going to write something about Gagner, but after he scored the game winner, I think I’ll let it go.

    Again, much needed, good win.

  • Steamer

    “Almost 9 expected goals” ? Wasn’t the score 4-3? Could also say ‘almost 8-10 expected goals’ – how about we stick to actual goals scored & not worry about tabulating the imaginary or speculative realms? Ditto with ‘shot attempts’ – so what? Actual shots on goal are of interest, not how many times someone fired the puck into a defender’s shin guards & play went the other way – or is there also a category for ‘shot -attempts that result in goals scored against’?

  • wojohowitz

    It`s kind of odd to say but the Canucks are only now figuring out what their strengths are. One example is Boeser, on the power play, standing on the faceoff dot, wide open waiting for the pass that never comes, like he was being ignored. He is going to score a lot of goals with that wrist shot. It`s quite similar to Ovie on the PP and the opponents always being aware of where he is but they can`t do anything about it. He should be the focus of the PP rather than an after thought – if only Edler would start to look for him. Also a new wrinkle with that deke thru the defence right before his goal – that was a sweet move.

    Another strength is Biega`s game and how he is used. Normally when I see a Canuck defenceman behind the opponents net I think; WTF is he doing being so far out of position but Biega can get away with it because he knows when to pick his spots. The other thing about Biega is that the way he plays – a very physical game – he can`t do that every game, but he can play that way if he only plays one game a week. Don`t play him ten games in a row unless they have to and don`t leave him in the press box for a month. One game a week and he will be all in every game and a real asset to the team.

    That first period was great leadership from the twins. They carried the team for that period with inspired play. I keep wavering back and forth on whether the twins should be re-signed for another year. Sometimes yes and sometimes no and today it`s yes – one more year.

    • LTFan

      Good write up Wojo. I agree with your assessment of Biega – an excellent skater and moves the puck well. He should play more but not every game.

      Boeser has surprised a lot of people on this site and throughout the League. As quoted elsewhere he is capable of scoring 30 goals or more this year. Strong candidate for the Calder Cup. Great pick by JB and his scouting team.

      • janmoh

        I also have noticed Boeser open and Edler doesn’t pass him the puck! I guess with the PP working so well no need to change it up? I do feel that Edler’s offensive IQ is not as good as other D-Men we have.