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Photo Credit: Joe Camporeale - USA TODAY Sports

CanucksArmy Post-Game: Coyotes All Bark and No Bite

The Rundown

It was an interesting day in Canucks Land with no shortage of rumours, speculation and lineup changes to sift through heading into the trade deadline. It started this afternoon with Travis Green discussing the team’s mentality heading into the deadline followed by briefly addressing the issues that have been keeping Ben Hutton out of the lineup.

I’m glad to hear Hutton’s been putting in the work to create an opportunity to get back into the fold. From the interview above and a couple of other instances this season, I get the impression that Green hasn’t given up on Hutton and this is genuinely a ‘tough love’ scenario. Let’s hope this is the case, and Hutton can maintain his professional off-ice behaviour so the Canucks can benefit from his on-ice ability.

Shortly after, we learned, Thomas Vanek was being held out of the lineup for precautionary reasons which left many fans anticipating a trade. However, nothing yet — we’ll have to wait until tomorrow. Best case scenario, Canucks management flips Vanek for a late second-round pick but I anticipate they’d settle for a third. It doesn’t sound like much, but that’s his market value, and every asset this team can collect with an eye towards the future is valuable.

Exclusively looking at last years entry draft, there’s a handful of defenders picked in the third round who would quickly improve the Canucks’ prospect cupboard.

  • Max Gildon
  • Kasper Kotkansalo
  • Dmitri Samorukov
  • David Farrance

It’s debatable that all four of these guys would immediately become the number two prospect on the blueline for the Canucks. Clearly, not all third-round picks blossom into contributing NHL players. All I’m saying is they could increase the odds by stockpiling draft picks. That seems especially true with a General Manager who prides himself on his amateur scouting ability. Time to flip Vanek for a pick and move on.

First Period

It wasn’t a pretty start for the Canucks who escaped a sloppy opening shift. The Coyotes eventually put the puck into the net. However, the goal was waved off due to a goalkeeper interference penalty to former Canuck, Brad Richardson.

Jake Virtanen power-play sighting in the first! Virtanen played a total of 1:50 on the PP tonight in Arizona, more on that later!

Just over two minutes into the game the twins, with a little help from Derrick Pouliot, treated us to some vintage Sedinery! That Hank spin-o-rama backhand pass to the tape of Pouliot, quick one touch to Daniel for the easy tap-in.

1-0, Canucks.

I was somewhat surprised there wasn’t more of a reaction from this unnecessary crosscheck from Max Domi.

Second Period

Holy guacamole, the two teams exchanged penalties, three to Arizona and two to Vancouver. Other than that, the Canucks directed 26 shots at the net compared to Arizona’s 19.

Third Period

I admire the effort and desperation from Alexander Edler here but it wasn’t enough to stop Alex Goligoski and the Coyotes from tying the game at one just over nine minutes into the third.

A little over two minutes later, Brock Boeser would throw a loose puck at the net that would be tipped by Daniel Sedin for his second of the game and Boeser’s third assist in as many games.

2-1 Canucks

The Canucks third goal was my play of the game which was started by a nice display of poise by Troy Stecher in the defensive zone while on the penalty kill. Stecher would make a great stretch pass to Brandon Sutter who gained the zone on a two-on-one and sauce it Darren Archibald who finished the play with a snipe while on one knee — a goal scorer’s goal from the gritty winger.

As pretty as the third goal was, the story of the third period and the game was the Canucks goaltender, Jacob Markstrom. Arizona would direct 29 shots at Markstrom in the third period alone, 16 on the net for 15 saves. In total, Markstrom would make 42 saves on the night for one of the best goaltending performances of the year from a Vancouver netminder.

The Numbers

  • Jake Virtanen played 15:20 total which is his second-highest total of the season. He led the team in 5-on-5 primary shot contributions tonight with six. Unfortunately, the Canucks were outshot 25-10 while he was on the ice for a 28.57% share of shots, while also taking a penalty, yikes! Overall, it wasn’t a strong game for Virtanen but there were still glimpses of offensive contributions. Hopefully, JV18 can rebound from this one tomorrow in Colorado.
  • Ben Hutton was noticeably rusty out there tonight, returning to the lineup after being scratched for the previous four games. He was constantly chasing the game and caught out of position multiple times, resulting in a team worst, 21.74% share of shots.  It can’t be easy hopping in and out of the lineup. If it were up to me, I’d roll him right back out there again in Colorado. The last thing he needs to do is dwell on this game which was likely his worst of the season.
  • I can’t imagine Travis Green is happy with Nikolay Goldobin after his performance tonight in his 8:50 of playing time. There was more than one occasion when Goldobin could have engaged in battles to get the puck out of the defensive zone but he chose not to. There’s a golden opportunity for him in Vancouver to earn a spot flanking Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser and his fluctuating compete level will not be enough to accomplish that.
  • I liked Brandon Sutter’s game tonight, set up four shots, six total entries and finished with a 52.17% share of shots while on the ice. He also had a sweet shorthanded dish for the primary assist on Darren Archibald’s goal 3-1 goal.
  • Great game by Markstrom as he made numerous fantastic saves. Also Stecher, Archibald, Sutter, Boeser, Sedins all looked noticeable out there for good reasons. And overall Gudbranson I think has been playing his best stretch as a Canuck — though like Brent I noticed there was no response to the cheap shot by Domi. I wonder why? Maybe it’s not so simple to do when you’re nursing a one-goal lead. Or maybe it’s easier to call out your teammates when you’re not in the game and you wish someone did something to Trevor Lewis but not quite so easy straightforward in an actual game (so maybe you shouldn’t do it). Overall though I have to say watching the Canucks and Coyotes is painful. I switched over to the Ducks and Oilers at one point as they went into the third and that was some exciting hockey, even both teams are still kind of trash.

  • Regular rant about the officials. No cross-checking penalty on Domi. OMG. Then Boeser goes in on a breakaway, the defender wraps his stick around him and pulls him down. Soon after, Gudbranson wraps his stick around a Coyotes player, DOESN’T pull him down and gets a penalty. WTH? I didn’t get a chance to watch the whole game, but there were likely similarly inept calls made or not made against both teams. Seriously, if this is game management, it must stop. I wouldn’t even mind a parade to the penalty box if they were calling everything.