On the heels of last nights loss, the Canucks were off to San Jose to take on ‘Jumbo’ Joe Thornton and the Sharks. After being called on out of the bullpen last night in relief of Jacob Markstrom, Anders Nilsson got the start.
Early on the teams traded chances — Darren Archibald for the Canucks followed by Timo Meier for San Jose.
Four minutes in though, Loui Eriksson skated the puck directly towards the Canucks bench. Problem being, the Canucks began a change just as he arrived and they were called for too many men.
The Sharks poured on chances late in the power play, and while Nilsson and the Canucks bent, they didn’t break.
San Jose continued to pile up chances at even strength, and at 11:20 broke through.
Former Canucks Jannik Hansen won a race on the forecheck, leaving the puck for countrymen Mikael Boedker. Boedker played the puck to Chris Tierney behind the net, as Tierney came around the far side he found a wide open Boedker sitting in the slot. Boedker shot the puck back against the grain beating Nilsson short side.
The Canucks struggled to deal with the Sharks forecheck early in the game, unable to retrieve or move pucks quickly enough to exit their own zone. Eleven minutes into the game, the shots were 10-4 for San Jose.
The Canucks best chances in the first came with five minutes left. Thomas Vanek fired a hard pass off the right wing to Daniel Sedin standing in the crease, who directed the hard pass on goal.
The Canucks were shorthanded again late in the period thanks to an Alex Edler hooking penalty. While shorthanded for the second time in two nights, Troy Stecher nose was bloodied by a high stick. Despite Stecher bleeding all over himself, Pavelski’s errant stick went unnoticed.
Troy Stecher, no longer bleeding, was right in the middle of the action again to start the second. This time cleaning up his own mess, after nearly deflecting a pass into his own net.
The play was reviewed and correctly called no goal, thanks to Stecher pulling the puck off the goalline.
After Stecher saved a goal, it was Nilsson’s turn, and he made a pair of nice saves three minutes in. First, one off Melker Karlsson who had acres of space in the slot; then lunging out of his crease to fight off a wrist shot by Jo0nas Donskoi. Donskoi was very good for San Jose on the night, all over the offensive zone creating chances.
Though not credited to him, it appeared as tho it was Donskoi deflecting Brent Burns’ point shot past Nilsson at 15:03. Burns started the game off playing forward for Coach Peter DeBoer but had moved back to the blueline after Dylan DeMelo left the game briefly after being crunched into the boards by Alex Edler.
Along with Donskoi appearing to deflect the puck, Nic Dowd did everything in his power not to block the shot prior to it getting to Donskoi. Looking like he was actively trying to allow the puck to get on net.
Things picked up physically with about 8:30 left in the second. The teams traded hits up and down the ice, with things culminating with Jake Virtanen throwing a borderline hit to the back of Barclay Goodrow.
But to the surprise of everyone it was Daniel Sedin who was by far the Canucks most physical player; after 40 minutes he had five hits, and they were full value. The Twins paired with Thomas Vanek were the Canucks best line, at times teasing us with glimpses of “The Shift” type of offensive zone possession.
Despite being down 2-0 heading to the third, the Canucks were playing well and Nillson was giving them a chance.
Four minutes into the final frame, Marcus Sorensen fired from the top of the circle to Nilsson’s left. With a slight screen, Nilsson was beaten short side over his glove. The screen was no excuse. This was a poor goal and one that all but sealed the Canucks fate.
The Sedin-Vanek line continued their strong play in the third. With 13:17 left, they finally broke through, and it was vintage Sedin tic-tac-toe. After gaining the zone Daniel leaves for Henrik, the captain finds Thomas Vanek right in the slot. I’m pretty even Vanek thought he was shooting, but doing his best Henrik impression he didn’t. He made a beautiful pass back across to Daniel leaving Martin Jones out of position, and for Daniel to bury the puck into the open cage.
The trio followed up the goal with more zone time, whipping the puck around being with the Sharks a step behind. But alas, it wasn’t the Canucks night.
Outshooting the Sharks 44-30 on the night, the Canucks would yield a fourth goal, this time by Bo Horvat’s former London Knights teammate Chris Tierney.
Tierney rung the puck around the boards to Brent Burns at the point. Burns then found Tierney cutting to the net, and with Brock Boeser a step behind on the coverage it was 4-1. Which held up as the final score.
- The Canucks expected goals total for the night was 3.56, to the Sharks 2.67
- High danger shots were 10-9 in favour of Vancouver
- 3 San Jose goals came off high danger shots
- Differential Save Percentage gap between Jones and Nilsson was 10.9% in favour of Jones
- Martin Jones was fantastic, facing 40 shots on the night, his save percentage was 6.1% higher than expected. As Vancouver poured it on while trailing Jones refused to let them back in the game.
- For the second time in two days, Troy Stecher was the victim of a bloody high stick. Last night after initially signalling a double minor, only a minor was called. Tonight, even bloodier Stecher didn’t even get that. At this rate, they’ll be calling him Troy Stitcher by the trade deadline.
- Daniel Sedin was a determined and as aggressive as we’ve seen him in some time. Daniel finished the night with 5 hits, 8 shot attempts, and 6 shots on goal to go along with his goal.
- Nilsson managed not to give up a goal on the first shot of the game. Truth be told he played a strong game, but an untimely bad goal to start the third cost the Canucks any hope of a comeback.