For the second time in less than a week the Vancouver Canucks faced-off with Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning. This time in Tampa Bay, as the Canucks continued their four-game road trip.
On the first half of back-to-backs, Canucks head coach Travis Green gave Anders Nilsson his first start since January 21st. Despite the layoff, Nilsson got off to a solid start.
That's three saves for Anders Nilsson. Judging from his history this season, Nilsson is about to have an amazing game. It seems like all his worst games have come when he allowed a goal within the first three shots. #Canucks
— Daniel Wagner (@passittobulis) February 9, 2018
At 13:37 Tyler Johnson was called for slashing in the Canucks zone. The Canucks created a decent chance on the delayed call; Henrik Sedin found Thomas Vanek in the slot. Vanek put a slapshot on net, which went off Andrei Vasilevskiy and out of play.
The Canucks power play had some good control and was able to set up. But the best chance nearly went to Tampa Bay, when Alex Edler bobbled the puck at the blueline and almost gave up a shorthanded odd-man rush.
Later in the period, Vancouver had chances to open the scoring. Sven Baertschi nearly sent Bo Horvat on goal, but Horvat couldn’t quite reach the pass as he fought off a Tampa defender.
Brock Boeser and the Sedin’s nearly scored on a backdoor feed to Boeser. But ultimately the Canucks couldn’t capitalize.
With five and a half minutes left it would be injury then insult. Chris Tanev turned his back as he went down on one knee to block a Victor Hedman point shot; it hit him square in the back.
Just ten seconds later, with Tanev unable to get off the ice Hedman had another shot blocked. This time it deflected to the corner, where Nikita Kucherov was able to walk right into the slot. Kucherov found his own rebound and the chipped the puck up and over Nilsson’s left shoulder to open the scoring.
Before the end of the period, the Canucks lost another big-minute defenseman.
looks like Edler slammed his face into glass just inside #Canucks line on a check attempt. Training staff had his helmet off at bench and looked to be tending to his head. May have suffered a cut
— Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff) February 9, 2018
Fortunately for the Canucks, both were able to return in the second and finish the game.
Due to a Boeser holding call with ten seconds left in the first, Tampa Bay started the second period on a power-play.
Mikhail Sergachev’s point shot was deflected by Tyler Johnson in the high slot, and Yanni Gourde left all alone in front beats Gudbranson to the rebound. 2-0 Tampa Bay.
The Canucks nearly got within one just 22 seconds later. Henrik Sedin from behind the net found Daniel to the right of Vasilevskiy’s crease. Daniel unloaded the puck in one motion, Vasilevskiy got his helmet/shoulder on the puck just keeping it out.
A few minutes later Loui Eriksson nearly scored over Vasilevskiy’s right shoulder as well. After his chance, Eriksson went off on a change. The Canucks kept possession deep in Lightning territory. His replacement, Jake Virtanen to Vasilevskiy’s left had a bang-bang chance of his own. No dice.
With 6:20 left in the second, Tampa Bay went up 3-0, on a beautiful knee dropping one-timer by Adam Erne. The cross-ice passes to set it up weren’t bad either.
The period would finish 4-0, after some lackadaisical play in the Canucks own end led to a turnover. Yanni Gourde darts behind the Canucks net, feeds the puck to Tyler Johnson who proceeds to feed Stamkos a point-blank one-timer.
Just over five minutes into the third, Dan Girardi carelessly got the stick up on Daniel Sedin. Sedin was bleeding, leading to a four-minute double minor.
After nearly giving up a shorthanded goal to Brayden Point, the Canucks finally got a goal of their own. Off the zone entry, Alex Edler finds Brock Boeser in “the spot”. Boeser lets the one-timer go, taking a deflection off Andrej Sustr and in.
The Canucks would add another from Sven Baertchi, as score effects set in.
But ultimately these goals weren’t enough, the Canucks were on their heels much of the night. For the second time in a week, the Lightning showed the Canucks why they’re at opposite ends of the standings. Victor Hedman added a fifth goal, putting this one to bed.
- Canucks 5v5: 47.32 xGF%. 44.21% CF%
- Anders Nilsson gave up 2 goals on 5 high danger shots
- The Canucks had no goals on 3 high danger shots
- The game overall expected goals were 2.58 to 2.27 in favour of Tampa Bay
- The Lightning’s speed and skill up front caused problems for the Canucks attempting to exit their zone all game long. Their relentlessness on the puck caused plenty of bobbles and turnovers in the Canucks zone.
- After taking a seat for nearly three weeks, Anders Nilsson recorded his 7th straight loss.
- Adam Erne scored his 4th career goal in his first game of the season.
- The Canucks struggles in their own zone were highlighted tonight. Particularly their ability to exit the zone, even with their full complement of players on the blueline.
- Reid Boucher played on the fourth line alongside Nic Dowd, and Jake Virtanen after being called up today.
- The Canucks are off to Carolina tomorrow. Recently signed Darren Archibald could make his season debut.