Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin - USA TODAY Sports

CanucksArmy Post Game: Surf & Turf’d

The news of the day, Jim Benning’s contract extension, overshadowed a rematch of last weeks game in Florida between the Panthers and Canucks. A game the Canucks would soon like to forget, as the loss kicked off a 1-2 road trip.

Though the trip was a tumultuous one; the Canucks did wrap it up with a big 6-0 win over Dallas on Sunday.

So on the heels of a big victory and the front office making headlines, how’d the Canucks fare?

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Puck Drop

Well, it didn’t take long for the Canucks to get going in this one. Michael Del Zotto set up by Bo Horvat in the slot, opened the scoring. His shot was stopped but bounced up high in the Florida crease. With both Boeser and Ekblad swatting at the floating puck, it appeared as tho they both connected. The puck eventually found it’s way into the net, and Del Zotto was credited with the goal.

The Panthers answered back just over three minutes later. The play started in the Panthers zone, Bo Horvat won the draw, and the Canucks won possession. But as Sven Baertschi attempted to play the puck back to the to point, big Nick Bjugstad picked off the pass. Bjugstad sent in a streaking Dadonov in on goal behind Alex Edler; with Edler hounding him from behind Dadonov squeaked the puck through Jacob Markstrom five-hole to tie the game at one apiece.

You might be starting to see a pattern here in the first. Just 34 seconds after the Dadonov goal, it was Bo Horvat’s turn.

James Reimer mishandles the puck behind his net resulting in a turnover. With Reimer out of position, it was a mad scramble in front. The Panthers actually managed to fend off the initial danger and regain possession. But after turning the puck over on the previous goal, it was Baertschi’s turn to force a turnover. The puck hopped out front to Bo Horvat, who was only able to get a piece of the puck. That piece was enough, as it beat James Reimer, who appeared to be out of sorts early in the game, and battled his helmet straps coming loose much of the night.

It would take a little longer this time around, but still, in the first, it was Florida again. Tying the game up at two, thanks to Jamie McGinn’s… back?

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At the side of the net, Aaron Ekblad snuck in off the point on the power-play picking up a rebound off the end boards. Ekblad shovels the puck up in the air, and as it came down, it bounced off McGinn and in.

The Panthers kept the gas pedal to the floor. A battle between Jared McCann and Erik Gudbranson (which was sure to put a smirk on many Canucks fans face) broke out down low in the Canucks zone, both players took runs at each other. As the battle moved up the boards and then back down low, Gudbranson attempted to move the puck to Brandon Sutter, but it was the pesky McCann right there to pounce.

McCann made a slick pass through the slot and found Alex Petrovic who made it 3-2.

It just wasn’t Markstrom’s night tonight. With just 1:24 left in the first, Nick Bjugstad picked up the puck behind his centre off a won face-off. He immediately let the shot go, and it went straight through Markstrom.

Despite the onslaught of Florida goals, the Canucks actually led in shots 16-14 after twenty and had 52.54% of the expected goals at five-on-five.

4-2 Panthers.

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2nd Period

After giving up four goals in the first period, Jacob Markstrom took a seat to start the second.

With Anders Nilsson now in net, the torrent pace goals were being scored at in the first calmed. And the two teams settled into a typical rhythm. Tho at 17:23 the Panthers did have a goal waived off; Ekblad took his best swing at the head-high puck and put it behind Anders Nilsson. It was a clear high stick and was easily waived off.

Shortly after that, it was Ekblad, being toe dragged by Brandon Sutter. Once past Ekblad, Sutter had one of the Canucks better chances of the period. Using his best offensive attribute, firing a solid wrist shot on goal. Reimer was equal to the task.

The Canucks killed off a Troy Stecher holding call, while the Panthers were sent to the PK courtesy Michael Haley. Alex Edler stepped hard into the Panthers tough guy along the boards with a thundering hit. The NHL’s leader in fighting major dropped the gloves and tried to goad Edler into a scrap. Edler was having none of it and jawed back at Haley after he was called for unsportsmanlike conduct.

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The Panthers continued to find their way to the box, at 8:38 Mark Pysyk was called for interference after stepping into Jake Virtanen.

Then with just nine seconds left in the power-play, Panthers captain Derek McKenzie was called for tripping. As Derrick Pouliot slashed his way across the Florida blueline, McKenzie got a stick in his feet, sending Pouliot to the ice.

A very short 5-on-3 ensued, shorter than the nine seconds on the board. Bo Horvat won the draw to his left to Daniel Sedin. Sedin the kicked the puck back to Boeser, who stepped into the slot, took aim and let fly.

4-3 Panthers.

3rd Period

Three minutes into the third, it was Haley to the box again, for a four err…. two-minute high sticking penalty.

Despite initially signalling a double minor; the correct call given Troy Stecher’s bloodied nose, the call was changed to just a minor for reasons unbeknownst to us.

Aleksander’s shorthanded crossbar on a 2-on-1 was the best chance of the ensuing power-play. Shortly after that Michael Del Zotto took the Canucks off the power-play with an offensive zone interference call.

The Canucks had their opportunities in the third period, with just over six minutes left Vancouver received their third power-play of the period.

Anders Nilsson shut the door in relief of Markstrom and have the Canucks a chance to come back. With Nilsson’s relief appearance and a one-goal game late in the third, you can’t help but wonder…

In spite of the power-play opportunities and Florida failing to score after the first period, the four-goal outburst proved to be too much for the Canucks to overcome. It’s a far too common story for the Canucks this season, first-period goaltending digging an insurmountable hole.

The Numbers



  • At 5v5 the Canucks had 52.81% of expected goals
  • The Canucks also led all situations expected goals 2.73 to 2.22
  • High danger shots were 9-5 in favour of Vancouver
  • Jacob Markstrom’s 71.4 save percentage, was 19.4 points below his expected save percentage.

Quick Hits

  • With the Canucks back in action tomorrow night the plan was likely to start Nilsson, I don’ think that changes with what we saw tonight. But it’s something worth keeping an eye on as Nilsson played two full periods tonight, and a certain line of thinking could lend itself to going back to Markstrom.
  • Coming off two goals on Saturday, Reid Boucher put in another noticeable effort. He’s getting to scoring areas, and fit in nicely on the second power-play unit tonight.
  • After watching several games from the press box recently, Derrick Pouliot looked much more like the player we saw earlier this year. He was skating the puck up the ice with confidence, and I didn’t notice any standout defensive struggles. He was back on the second power-play unit, bumping Michael Del Zotto.
  • Playing each other for the second time in a week, this game had some bite to it. Nothing overt, but there was some feeling. There’s plenty of history on both sides, and you know McCann and Gudbranson were fully aware of who it was they were battling with for the Petrovic goal.

      • Mr Provolone

        You can be a Benning supporter and a Guddbranson nay sayer. I don’t believe there’s any Guddbranson supporters left… None that watch him play night in night out

          • Dirk22

            ..it’s just that ours has made a lot of them. Apart from the draft make a list of all of the proactive rebuilding moves Benning has made in 4 years. Let’s hear the top 5.

          • Freud

            1. Saddled the team with Sutter to guarantee a bottom 5 finish and a good draft pick.
            2. Saddled the team with Eriksson to guarantee a bottom 5 finish and a good draft pick.
            3. Saddled the team with Gudbransen to guarantee a bottom 5 finish and a good draft pick.
            4. Chose Sbisa over Vatanen in the Kesler trade to guarantee a bottom 5 finish and a good draft pick.
            5… uuummm… traded Tortorella to CBJ for a 2nd round draft pick?

  • defenceman factory

    This loss can be attributed to 3 players having horrible games.

    Markstrom was awful. Unfortunately this was a typical poor performance from Gudbranson. Henrik was terrible. I don’t recall ever seeing him play a worse game.

    • DJ_44

      Gudbranson gave away the puck when he lost out to McCann. He had a solid game, however. The pairing with Edler works.

      The breakaway goal was terrible. The 4th goal was bad as well.

      Surprisingly, Hutton played well when used as a sixth defenceman.

      • Edler/Gudbranson were on the ice for all three of Florida’s even strength goals, and were on the ice as a pairing for no Canucks goals (Edler was on the PP for one goal). That does not suggest an effective pairing.

        • beers before

          Four years in, Vancouver’s collection of defencemen is ranked 29th in the NHL in 5v5 goal scoring, but Jim likes our defence and goaltending, so it’s all good in the hood?

        • DJ_44

          A semi breakaway behind Edler (A bad goal on markstrom) … And a unscreened shot off the faceoff that went to through markstrom. They were hard matched against barkov…… They were effective.

  • WiseCanuck

    Clearly the shocking news that Benning, easily one of the worst GMs in the league as the standings prove year after year, has been extended had zero impact on inspiring the team, who were outplayed and out muscled by a mediocre Fla team missing Luongo in net. Guddy is still searching for his jock which McCann put up into the cheap seats.

    Guys, It’s a crying shame that long suffering fans such as myself will never see a Stanley Cup in Vancouver because anyone thinking Dim Jim is building a winner here is either mentally derranged or a troll… truth is Aquilini has been mugged by his hero worship of Linden and so has ANYONE dreaming that this is a team contending anytime soon… if it wasn’t so sad it would be funny.

  • LiborPolasek

    We should call our goaltending tandem fifty – fifty because every time they step on the ice the game can go either way; both are physically gifted but mentally that is another story. I hope JB and his team can identify a goalie that is capable of grinding out a game without mentally falling apart.

  • Bure Fan

    Thought we looked slow compared to the Cats and our goaltending is just horrific, so can anyone really justify the three year extension for Jimbo after comments like this…

    “I’m a John Muckler (who Benning worked with in Buffalo) disciple and he used to say it starts with your goaltending, runs through your defence and carries out to your centre ice,” Canucks GM Jim Benning said. “I like our goaltending, I like our defence now and I like our centre ice. I can’t wait until the season starts.”

    For me this is like Donald Trump getting a second term from empty promises like Linden is by telling season ticket holders about bringing a cup to Vancuver by sticking with the plan?

  • crofton

    It was only a minor when Stecher got high-sticked and cut because of Stecher’s careless use of his nose. Seriously, that was one of the worst non-calls I’ve seen. It was followed soon after by the interference call on Del Zotto, who had the temerity to try to go around the Panthers’ player whose attempted “hit” took himself to the ice.

  • beers before

    “The bottom line is our goal is win games and to be competitive to make the playoffs. That’s what we’re here for.” Jim Benning Feb 14th 2018

    So four years in, why has this guy been extended, because we aren’t winning hockey games or being competitive enough to make the playoffs – but feel free to prove me wrong on that…

  • Fred-65

    The Gudbranson situation looked solvable to me last night. Florida has been trying to move Petrovic for some time. He’s basically a similar but maybe slightly lessor version of Gudbranson and certainly actually bring more aggression than EG …plus he’s cheaper maybe a couple of million cheaper. Florida love EG, so we trade EG to Florida for Petrovic, get him at a much lessor Caphit and who knows maybe a draft pick to boot. EG is a third pairing D and yet is looking for 2nd pairing money. Petrovic is a third pairing D but will be paid third pairing money. In a couple of years ahead when ELC for our prospects runs out Cap space is going to be vital.


    Dim Jim has no clue if he thinks we have good goal tending and good defence. Has he not watched us letting in too many soft goals. Gudbrandson on for 3 Panther goals, trade him for a bag of pucks!!!