Photo Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie - USA TODAY Sports

CanucksArmy Post Game: Viva Loss Vegas

The Rundown

Friday night saw the Canucks make their first visit to Las Vegas, facing off against Luca Sbisa and the Golden Knights.

Anders Nilsson got the start in goal, and Philip Holm made his NHL debut.

Puck Drop

It didn’t take long for the high scoring Knights to get on the boards, two minutes and twenty-eight seconds to be exact. Anders Nilsson couldn’t handle Deryk Engelland’s point shot, bouncing off his glove hand. Tomas Hyka chipped the puck through Nilsson, Holm was able to tie up Cody Eakin in the crease but was helpless to prevent Hyka who snuck around the net. It was Tomas Hyka’s first NHL goal.

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Jake Virtanen had a very active first period, he nearly had a pair of great chances from the slot but just fanned on both. Shortly after that, using his speed off the rush Virtanen skated in on Marc-Andre Fleury. As Fleury laid out to make the poke check, he tripped up Virtanen and was called for a tripping minor.

The Canucks failed to capitalize on the penalty, just a couple minutes later tied the game up. Sam Gagner made a great play to force a turnover in the neutral zone and broke in 2-on-1 with Sven Baertschi. The only thing better than Gagner’s steal on the play was his pass. He floated a perfect saucer pass across the ice to Sven Baertschi who made it look easy depositing the puck behind Fleury.

Just over two minutes later, the Canucks took the lead. Henrik played the puck out front to Daniel from behind the net, with the puck in his feet Daniel kicked it up to himself. As he came across the front of the net, he rang a backhand shot off the post. With Fleury down and out, Thomas Vanek snuck in from the high slot, picked up the loose puck and fired into the open net.

With 5:21 left in the period the back and forth continued. Working the puck down low to Rielly Smith, William Karlsson found himself left all alone at the right faceoff dot. Smith made a nice back pass out front to set up Karlsson, who beat Anders Nilsson high short side.

There was some blame going around on Twitter for this one, to both Nikolay Goldobin whose not even in the frame for some reason, and also to Erik Gudbranson. Tho Gudbranson has been on the ice for a troubling amount of goals against lately, pinning this one on him is unfair.

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He has to respect the wrap around and follow Smith to the other side of the ice. In my opinion, both Horvat and Edler are guilty to varying degrees on this one. Edler needs to pick up the man going to the net as Gudbranson follows the cycle. But on the reverse angle, it’s clear Horvat, is all alone in front and needed to pinch off the lane Karlsson had to the net.

2nd Period

Five minutes into the second it was Virtanen coming close again. After dragging the puck around a Vegas defender, Virtanen nearly caught Fleury on a backhand wrap around.

45 seconds later the puck was in the Canucks net, Jonathan Marchessault found a steaking Karlsson for his second of the game.

With just 1:02 left to play in the second, the Golden Knights added another to make it 4-2. With their team speed on full display Friday night, Tomas Nosek scored his 7th of the year flying down the left wing.

3rd Period

It’s hard to call any single goal Anders Nilsson gave up on the night absolutely terrible. But at some point tonight, the Canucks needed a save. With Nilsson unable to give it to them, Coach Travis Green turned to Jacob Markstrom to start the third period.

The Canucks made a game of it in third, with Tomas Nosek in the box for tackling Daniel Sedin in the crease, the power play came to life.

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Off the won face-off, Alex Edler and Daniel Sedin played a quick game of give-and-go which ended with Daniel scoring his 16th of the year. Besting his total of 15 from last season in twenty-two fewer games.

Just inside the ten-minute mark came the Canucks best chance to tie the game up. Bo Horvat took a nifty pass from Sven Baertschi in the slot, and tho he couldn’t get a great shot off, the aftermath resulted in a fire drill taking place in the slot. In the mad scramble, Brock Boeser got a shot off, but after making the first save a diving Fleury robbed Boeser off his own rebound.

The final nail in the coffin came with 1:51 left, with the goalie out, Brock Boeser banked a pass off the wall back to Troy Stecher at the point. Unfortunately for Boeser’s North Dakota teammate, the puck skipped on Stecher and headed for the Canucks net. The own goal wound up being credited to David Perron.

Final score 5-3. Hopefully, the Canucks can leave this one in Vegas and be ready for Sunday, and a date with the last place Arizona Coyotes.

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The Numbers

  • At 5v5 the Canucks had just under 43% of the expected goals.
  • Boeser, Horvat and Virtanen all had a team-leading five shots on goal, Boeser had a game-high eight shot attempts.
  • Anders Nilsson .800 save percentage was 10.5% below expected, and had a -2.62 GSAA (Goals Saved Above Average)

Quick Hits

  • Jake Virtanen was easily the Canucks most noticeable skater on the night. Tied with a team-high five shots on goal, Virtanen had his feet moving all night using his speed to give the Knights problems.
  • With five tonight the Golden Knights continue to pile up the goals, sitting second in the league coming into the game at 3.45.
  • The Canucks best lines on the night were the “kids” along with Sam Gagner. The units were mixed and matched with both sets of wingers switching lines throughout the game. Nikolay Goldobin is still a work in progress as is Jake Virtanen but both have shown flashes recently.
  • The Edler/Gudbranson experiment has taken a hard left turn. Gudbranson has been on the ice for 8 of the Canucks last nine goals against, with Edler also being on the ice for the majority of them. The Canucks have holes up and down the lineup, especially on defence, and with Chris Tanev out with a leg fracture the problem has only been magnified. There’s plenty of blame to go around, but when you’re paid and being played like the top pairing, expectations are justifiably high.
  • With the Canucks making their first visit to Las Vegas, many Canucks fans made the trip down. The building was lively, and for most of the night, those who got away from the snow appeared to enjoy seeing some hockey in the desert.


  • wjohn1925

    Nice write-up. I didn’t watch much of the game and I appreciate your recaps. Nothing to say about Guddy that hasn’t been said (ad nauseum). Nice to see some of the young ones stepping up. From the parts I watched it looked quite entertaining, so there is that. How long until Demko arrives?

  • Ser Jaime Lannister

    Canucks couldnt keep up with LV. JV had a great game, Holm looked decent. I would be giving Holm a few more games and rotate Pouliot, MDZ, Hutton. We need tanev back asap Guddy cant handle top pairing mintues,matchups hes a bottom 5,6 D man and was painful to watch tonight.

  • canuckfan

    I can hake to put some finish into his power move to the net, until then how about someone follow him to pick up the puck from when he losses it or be there for the rebound. If Jake to put in 3 of those moves a night he will soon start getting the hang of it and putting some finish on it but someone has to get there for rebounds. Goldie is getting a couple looks and has made some good passes just needs to keep working hard and it will come. He isn’t as lost as he has been. Enjoyed watching the game it isn’t about the winning anymore want to see some hope from prospects so we can see what they are and with some work what they can be. Losing is taking a toll on the overall confidence but that will be replaced at the beginning of next season with optimism and getting players to play the full game with timely saves the confidence will be there. Seeing there is no hope for the playoffs we need to start buying horse shoes and any other good luck piece to win the lottery. I have no problem losing all our remaining games against the Oilers just don’t let them win the lottery.

  • young van fan

    Having grown up watching our elite team years under coach AV and GM Mike Gillis it saddens me to watch a team as good as Las Vegas make a mockery of us like this. They are everything we were – fast, strong, skilled and confident with great goaltending and coaching. Why are they so good with no superstar players and we suck so bad, it’s so crushing. When will we get to the level of the Knights again man?

    • argoleas

      Actually, there is no surprise. LV picked players shrewdly. Look at the mix of players they have. Its basically all people 25-30. No team in this league has the luxury to ice that kind of lineup. It’s fun when you start off with no baggage. Lets see where LV is in a few years when their players age out, and some of their extensions do not pan out.

      Vancouver has a chance to have a young, fast team, but we have to wait a few years, when all the prospects become established players (at least the ones that make it).

  • Marvin101

    this is really bad. not only has linden made a lot of bonehead decisions (re-signing benning and guddy) the team has absolutely no direction and hasn’t had any direction since linden and benning arrived. first benning preached speed and skill, now he’s talking about a “hockey trade” for grit. and his ahl coaches only seem intent on forcing players to adapt to their system rather than maybe changing their system to match the player’s skills.

    i’ll be a winnipeg jets fan until further notice.

  • Freud

    The “shutdown Chara-type guy” they just signed for 3 years, despite multiple warnings, was on the ice for 8 of the following 9 goals against.

    That essentially sums up this management team.

  • DJ_44

    Gudbranson had a terrible night; at least the first half of the game. It was a poor read on the first Karlson goal, and then he took out Nillson on the PK. I still think that the Gudbrason-Edler pairing will work. They were good against Colorado (5×5) and excellent against Boston.

    Holm looked good. Play him. Trade Hutton.

    Jake has figured it out. He was really good last night. Teach him the PK.

    I thought last night was one of Goldobin’s best game as Canuck. The kid can play, and if he keeps his attention and effort up, he will turn into a really good return for the Canucks. His playmaking is very good, better (maybe different isa better description) than Bo’s.

    All in all is was not a bad game. Clean up the gaffs. I do not agree the (majority of the Canucks) cannot skate with the top, very fast team in the west. They can, they did and it resulted in very entertaining hockey.

  • defenceman factory

    Last night was a perfect illustration of how important good goaltending and a top pair on D is. A couple saves and/or some better play from the D and this would have been a very close game.

    Hopefully Demko is that better goaltending on the way. More D prospects please.

  • Fred-65

    At the conclusion of this season will this team understand better what the future holds for it.

    I see Mtl is sitting Price and Weber for the rest of the season, can you say …. t-a-n-k. JB should shut down Tanev and any one else with a bad cold for the remainder of the season

  • Gino's 3rd Cousin

    It wasn’t Brock who banked it off the boards and into our net. It was JV18, but it doesn’t matter. Jake was flying last night. Want to see more of that and playing some special teams as well.

  • Rodeobill

    I enjoyed that game, they competed well against one of the best teams and didn’t give up. I wonder what the score would have been if we had Fleury and they had our goalie? I thought Holm looked excellent, I didn’t think Guddy looked that bad other than taking out Nilsson that one time, but he probably shouldn’t be our top pairing guy. JV is starting to play like a 6th overall pick, and Goldy looked good out there too. Maybe just give them some leash and see what happens, it’s not like we have anything to lose. Boeser has had some good chances these last few games, and goalies have had to make some really good saves, even if he doesn’t win the Calder, I’m just happy we got a solid piece of the puzzle going forward.

  • Holly Wood

    Virtanen had a great game ,in fact I thought that line was one of the best 4th line performances of the year. Guddy/ Edler pairing didn’t have a good game no question but both brought some physical play last night. For what it’s worth I would say don’t give up on Hutton just yet, but MDZ and Vanek should be dealt for picks

  • RobG

    A marked improvement in the post-game write ups this season. It was much needed.

    This defense is an absolute tire-fire. It needs to be completely blown up and rebuilt from scratch. Guddy, Hutton, DelZotto, Edler, and Stecher all need to go. Sure they have moments where they can look good individually but as a whole, this group is a discombobulated mess.


    Jim Benning made the worst signing in the past 5 years by signing Gudbrandson. He has been on the ice for 8 of the last 9 goals the Canucks have given up. How is that even possible ? Trade the slug for a new hockey bag or 2 new hockey sticks !!!!