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Photo Credit: Gary A. Vasquez - USA TODAY Sports

Canucks Army Postgame: Dowd they go in 4-3 loss to LA Kings

A mere two nights ago, the Canucks took heady advantage of a severely underperforming Chicago Blackhawks roster, coming out of the gate after the holiday break with a fun, goal-filled 5-2 win to shake off the rust.

The good times can only last so long, though; despite some good moments here and there from the Vancouver roster, Saturday night’s game was a nice reminder of why some teams are guaranteed to make the playoffs (and others are, well, the Vancouver Canucks).

Final score: Los Angeles Kings 4, Vancouver Canucks 3. 

THE RUNDOWN

I know everyone loves when I kick things off complaining about an early-game goal allowed by Jacob Markstrom, but I’m sorry to disappoint – this time, he was absolutely stellar to start off the game, making eight stops in the first 13 minutes of play alone.

The Canucks, rather, were the ones to get on the board first, with Troy Stetcher capitalizing on a sharp-angle short-side shot against Jonathan Quick just four minutes in.

The team would let their foot off the gas considerably after that, getting outshot 5-0 over the next stretch of play before Tyler Toffoli managed to even things up with a goal of his own.

The Canucks would get walked by Adrian Kempe, who juggled the puck efficiently around Michael Del Zotto for a quick, short pass to Marian Gaborik (who seems to have forgotten that he’s supposed to be bad now).

Gaborik would then feed a short, quick dish to Toffoli, who neatly tapped the puck in on Markstrom’s left side – and although there was some question as to whether or not Gaborik interfered with Markstrom when the two made contact just ahead of the pass, the goal stood.

The Kings would then pull ahead with a power-play tally just a minute later, giving Gaborik his second point of the night when he tipped in a quick shot from the outside by Trevor Lewis to put his team up by a goal heading into the second.

Most of the second period was largely uneventful, save for this wonderful open-ice hit by Ben Hutton:

Hutton wasn’t quite as bad as his defensive partner on the night, but he certainly didn’t have an amazing showing. Still, gotta love him managing to truck Dustin Brown, who isn’t exactly the lightest player to knock down.

The Canucks would manage to tie things up by the end of the period, when Nikolay Goldobin made Drew Doughty look like one of those poor Danish kids from the Team Canada game earlier today before scoring his second goal of the season.

Although the Canucks would draw the only penalty of the period (and the last of the game) not long after that, they’d manage to kill off the two minutes and head into the second intermission neck-in-neck with their divisional rivals.

Revenge is sweet, as Nic Dowd figured out at the start of the third; he’d pull the Canucks ahead by a goal just :41 seconds into the final frame, setting up perfectly in front of the net for a centering pass from Granlund.

Alec Martinez would pinch towards Granlund, and Quick committed heels-out on the assumption that he would take the shot; instead, Dowd provided a perfect passing option that left Quick stranded for a wide-open net goal.

The team wouldn’t manage to hold on to their lead, though, relinquishing two more goals before regulation ended. Kyle Clifford would get his first of the season on a wacky rebound bouncing puck, then Doughty would score the final goal of the game (off of his own rebound on a blocked shot) to have the ultimate last word.

NUMBERS

One of the things that the Los Angeles Kings have been Very Good At for quite a while now is dominating play when they’re down and out. That certainly proved to be the case after Vancouver’s first goal of the night; not only did the Canucks completely let their foot off the gas after Stetcher’s tally, the Kings completely controlled play until finally scoring a goal of their own about eight minutes later.

We can also joke as much as we want about Doughty getting schooled by Goldobin, but he managed to finish the game with a 68 Corsi For % at even strength despite logging just 35 percent of his starts in the offensive zone. Doesn’t matter if you think Drew Doughty is overhyped or not – he’s still very, very good.

OBSERVATIONS:

  • It’s never fun to walk away from a game with four or more goals against and a sub-.900 save percentage for your goaltender, and Jacob Markstrom definitely didn’t play his best hockey of the year in Saturday’s game. Some small solace, though; while Markstrom allowed four goals on 36 shots, Quick didn’t exactly have a stellar night, himself. The Pacific Division’s most overhyped in-net presence walked away from the game with three goals against on just 25 chances, good for a .880 save percentage and his first human game in over two weeks. Quick is good for either the best statistics in the league or replacement-level performances, and just a few more shots against may have turned this game quickly in Vancouver’s favor.
  • I want to spend a quick minute acknowledging just how good Goldobin’s goal was. Breaking Doughty’s ankles was nice enough in it’s own right, but the way he managed to pull Quick off center in his crease before firing a quick backhand shot on the now-open net was a thing of beauty. It’s the kind of move that, while I don’t necessarily expect to see it all the time from him, you can really appreciate seeing from the team’s secondary scoring corps in a game like that. It makes me think back to when Quick talked about Alex Ovechkin once; he said the hardest goals to predict are the ones that seem like the shooter has floated too far to have a good shot on net. Clearly.
  • I’m sure I have more to say, but now I can’t stop watching that Goldobin goal. So I think I’ll leave it on that note.
    • I have said before, under no circumstances play these two together. Guddy is confirmed trade bait (and I’m a guy who cut him a lot of slack as we need at least one physical defenseman) and Hutton is TBD in that category. Why pair two weak links? Green has impressed me overall as a coach, but continuing to put these two out together is a head scratcher.

      • I wonder if he just doesn’t see a good fit for Guddy with anyone. Also, if we change Guddy’s partners, other pairings will suffer. My guess is that Green has orders to play Guddy until the day he is traded. We have other physical Dmen in the system that can play safely on the 3rd pairing, and they won’t cost $5M.

  • It will be a tough stretch until we get at least two of our key players who are injured I like our team and have the patients to wait until next year and will enjoy the entertainment this year much better than I thought they would deliver

  • Gudbranson did a great job clearing the front of the net for the GWG…

    He’s so out of position so much of the time that it’s comical. A right D ignoring play to finish his check on a guy on the left boards (was at the CHI game and saw that at least twice)… I’d take “future considerations” at this stage.

    • I think Lack’s best days are far behind him. He was terrible in Carolina as well as Calgary. He was mediocre at best in Vancouver. People mistake likability with being a good player

      • A .921 save percentage was mediocre? What’s “good” in your world?
        He was terrible in Carolina cause the coaches there made him change his game and he lost confidence. I’m guessing Calgary didn’t do much to help either.
        He was a young goalie who was improving at a very good rate while here. Nobody is saying he was Price, but he was not as bad as you are trying to imply.

        • As I said…his .921 days are long gone. He did that once in Vancouver, the other year was .912. (while he did have GA’s of 2.45 and 2.41 Blame what you will on whom you will, it won’t change his .813 and 5.29 in Calgary and his seasons of .901 and .902 with 2.81 GA in one of those, and a somewhat more respectable 2.64 in the other in a small (19 game) sample size

          • No, you said he was mediocre in Vancouver. He wasn’t. He was a good goalie in Vancouver.

            And nobody said it would “change” his numbers….lol. You’re not even making a point.

            You have every right to have the opinion that he won’t improve although I think it’s kind of strange to just default to that conclusion.

            But the numbers prove he was not just a mediocre goalie in Van. He was a good goalie. And being “likeable”, while true, doesn’t change those numbers and the fact he was making good progress with the canucks before being traded.

            Seems to me like you have more of an issue with the fact you think people are judging him only on how much they like him. But you’ve let the fact you don’t like that, cloud your judgment on his play. You’re over compensating in the other direction.

          • truth…league average at about .916 or better is just that…achieved by better goalies….call it semantics, but I would call below that mediocre. That doesn’t mean I’m overcompensating at all. Being realistic, 2 bad years in Carolina and his time in Calgary were well below average, and one year over the league average .916 doesn’t make him a good goalie in my mind, and I liked him as a person as much as any fan

  • What’s with the snark Cat? “…some teams are guaranteed to make the playoffs (and others are, well, The Vancouver Canucks).” The stupid comments are bad enough without showing your ignorance. The Kings didn’t make the playoffs last year. So much for you guarantee. Can’t the game be covered dispassionately without the juvenile comments?

    • You seem a little sensitive to any perceived slights of the Canucks or anyone playing. Do you really think the Canucks will make the playoffs? Especially with al those injuries??

    • I’m listening. You seem angrier than you should be considering the facts surrounding the journalist’s comment. Statistically, it has been highly unlikely at this time of year for the Canucks to make the “playoffs” – whereas it is likely that the “Kings” should indeed enjoy the prospect of more hockey once the regular season is done – I say this with a shudder, mind you *chuckles*. So, therefore, it is not unrealistic to make this prediction, not at all. It is definitively not “stupid”, as you say, and I would advise a hot bath, some deep breathing, perhaps a nice long walk, or if you prefer, my personal aural soothing balm: Vivaldi. We’ll be back after these messages.

    • Unfortunately sometimes
      Players for whatever reason just don’t fit when they are moved. Seems
      Like the timing of trade just didn’t work for either team or the players involved. Hopefully when he is eventually traded it works for both parties and this experiment with trying to have “Dana Muryzn” tough type of Dman ends

    • If he is traded Canucks will need to add some size and grit in the lineup. Can’t have 6 sweetheart type puckmoving D on the ice. Anyone remember when Michael Ferland run over the entire team in the playoffs a few years back.

      • Yeah I remember, and the refs let him. Do you remember him getting out of the penalty box and skating all the way across the ice to hit Edler I think it was? Classic charging penalty uncalled

      • I dunno. I like the idea of having 6 puck-moving D.If you want to go after Ferland et al, use other forwards slots for grit.

        But what about that Hutton hit? Been waiting for Brown to be sat down for over half a decade.

      • We do have serious estrogen issues on the blueline…it’s really sad to see zero pushback game in a game out when the other teams take liberties with our tendies. Most teams we play, our guys get within 5 feet of their goalie after the whistle they get very harsh treatment. Our D pretend they didn’t see anything and skate away, sad.

  • I’d really appreciate some effort in finding someone to cover Canucks games who doesn’t leave some snarky ‘treat’ in the litterbox to stink up the place.

    Game highlights– the supporting cast scores! Stecher, Goldobin, Dowd! This while your top two guys are out and one of your top D as well.

    Not so bright — Vanek and Boeser were just trying too hard to make something happen and were just dropping pucks, chasing pucks and occasionally setting up but the Kings are not easy to play against … big bodies, good positioning and just keep coming.

    Game highlight — despite getting a bit scrambly at times, there were few penalties against the Canucks. Yes, they had a few, but showed good discipline most of the game.

    Not so bright — some of the line combos, defense pairings and double-shifting Boeser just weren’t working all that well.

    Game Highlight — Goldobin’s goal … it was such an unexpected thing of beauty and skill and kudos to Gaunce and Chaput for going to the net.

    Not so bright — well, Goldobin’s goal. It had the typical “Hey, look at what I can do!” components that see him stuck in Utica or on the fourth line. He has talent, and the ability to score, but if he doesn’t learn to expand his play, teams will hem him in, take the puck and likely get a decent odd-man rush for their efforts. Even Boeser is smart enough to note that he himself has to have an option to pass to move the D out of his lane.

    Overall, that was a good game against a big team with some top players. The big names were there for the Kings, and they played hard against a Canucks roster that keeps showing up and competing.

    Final note — would have liked to see more from JV18 … the Kings seem to be a good team for him to play against.

  • Outside of the Chicago game, Jacob Markstrom plays…’OK’…when is Green going to give Anders Nilsson another chance? I know his game has gone south…maybe if he got to play a bit more he could get into a groove? When I think about games a Canucks goalie has ‘stolen’ for their team…nearly all of them came with Nilsson in goal.