Photo Credit: Ron Chenoy - USA TODAY Sports

CanucksArmy Post Game: Return of the Mac

The Rundown

On the heels of two deadline day deals, the Canucks came into tonight’s game against Colorado shorthanded. With Thomas Vanek being dealt to Columbus, the Canucks were short a forward and dressed seven defensemen.

Jacob Markstrom got the start after making a season-high, 41 saves last night in a 3-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes.

Puck Drop

The Canucks got off to a tough start, with Alex Edler heading to the box 57 seconds into the game for hooking. They killed off the penalty, in large part due to Jacob Markstrom’s robbery of J.T. Compher on this cross crease one timer.

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Just over four minutes later the Canucks would head to the power play themselves. With Avs forward Alexander Kerfoot in the box, we got a glimpse of a new look second unit for the Canucks. With Vanek off to Columbus earlier today, it was Jake Virtanen taking his spot as the net-front presence on the second unit power play.

Following the Vancouver power play, the Avalanche had the Canucks on their heels. After a close call, Nathan MacKinnon’s line hemmed the Canucks in their end. Unable to exit their own end the Canucks were forced into a pair of icing calls, but would ultimately survive the ordeal.

Trying to build some momentum of their own, the Canucks broke in 4-on-3. Michael Del Zotto tee’d up a one-timer in the high slot but didn’t get all of it. The shot was blocked, and Colorado turned up ice in a hurry.

Coming in 3-on-1 on Derrick Pouliot, it was Compher again with the shot. This time a good stick from Pouliot deflected the puck up and out of play. A play Markstrom appreciated.

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With 1:41 left in the period, Colorado was back on the power play. This time it was Troy Stecher sitting for interference. With the Canucks penalty killers in full scramble mode in front, MacKinnon went to work by setting up Mikko Rantanen with a great saucer pass, which Rantanen promptly deposited behind Markstrom. 1-0 Colorado.


2nd Period

The Canucks started second much like the first, a minute in, it was Virtanen headed to box for his second offensive zone penalty of the game.

Darren Archibald and the rest of the Canucks penalty killers were up to the task this time, and Vancouver responded with a chance of their own just under six minutes into the frame.

The Twins worked their magic along the boards, working the puck down behind the net and feeding Sam Gagner. Gagner who might as well have been sitting in the crease somehow managed to not only miss the net but put the puck out of play entirely from point-blank range.

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The Canucks continued to push back, and Erik Gudbranson stepped things up physically, blowing Compher with a clean open ice hit.

After Gudbranson’s hit, the pace of the game picked up, with both teams starting to throw their weight around.

But it was Colorado once again lighting the lamp, or so they thought.  Mackinnon got wide on Del Zotto and took the puck behind the net with speed. His wraparound went through the crease and right to Rantanen.

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Alas, the Canucks challenged for goaltender interference, and to the surprise of some won the challenge. As Gabriel Landeskog went hard to the net, his stick caught in Markstrom’s pad and was deemed enough contact was made to prevent Markstrom from coming across to make the save.

Three minutes later, Colorado came close again as Landeskog squeaked a slap shot through Markstrom. But the always ready and willing goalie hopeful Alex Edler was there to swat the puck out of danger.

3rd Period

To start the third, it was Colorado’s turn to take an early penalty. 1:58 into the frame, Nikita Zadorov was sent off for tripping.

The Canucks generated a couple of chances on the power play, the first being off a shot where Brock Boeser broke his stick. The changeup caught the Avalanche off guard creating a bit of a scramble. Then it was Jake Virtanen from the high slot, shooting just wide as he got his shot around the challenging defender.

Later on, it was Virtanen again, this time breaking in all alone and ringing a shot off the post. Colorado, who killed Vancouver in transition all night, turned the puck up ice. Nathan MacKinnon broke down the left side turning Troy Stecher and going short side on Markstrom. A goal Markstrom would want back, regardless of how well placed it was by MacKinnon.

Down by two, Travis Green pulled Jacob Markstrom with 2:38 left in the game. The gamble paid off, with 1:16 left Daniel Sedin picked up Alex Edler’s point shot which took a fortuitous deflection. With Varlamov caught out of position due to the deflection, Daniel buried his 19th of the year.

That was as close as the Canucks would get. With 44 seconds left, Brock Boeser couldn’t reach a pass from Edler as the Canucks were exiting their own zone. The sprawling Boeser was helpless, as Nathan MacKinnon made it 3-1.

The Numbers

  • Colorado had 59.70% of the expected goals at 5v5
  • Both teams had five high danger shots; all ten were stopped.
  • Jacob Markstrom’s .926 save percentage was 1.8% higher than expected.

Quick Hits

  • With Vanek now out of the picture, there’s a spot on the right side open. Coach Green turned to Virtanen tonight, playing him in Vanek’s spot on the second power play unit. Virtanen had a decent game but took three minor penalties. Two of which were in the offensive zone. With the Canucks season all but lost, watching how Green handles the kids, and their ups and downs will be a focal point down the stretch.
  •  The Canucks added two young, fast and skilled forwards at today’s trade deadline. The Canucks have a glut of wingers in the organization, and the opportunity is there if someone can step up and take the reigns. Brendan Leipsic is particularly interesting given his abrasive style and playmaking ability. Look for him to get a look alongside Horvat and Boeser in the coming weeks.
  • With seven defensemen dressed with Vanek being traded today, the Canucks rolled a number of line combinations. Tho they won’t be shorthanded that will likely continue as Green looks to find some chemistry and get a look at his new players down the stretch.
  • Avalanche star Nathan Mackinnon was a thorn in the Canucks side once again. He added two more goals as well as an assist, but the standout stat of the night had to be his 19!!!!! Yes, 19 shot attempts, to go along with nine shots on goal.

  • Holly Wood

    Sure like how Jakes game is coming along. His speed and power is now creating offence. Once he starts hitting the net with consistently the goals will come.

  • bobdaley44

    Jakes been playing like a beast. So glad they didn’t trade him for Domi as per JD’s recommendation. Anybody who would approve a trade like that has no clue.

  • Rodeobill

    Game notes:
    JV needs to learn when to take a penalty, and he will, just let him play.
    Markstrom needs to use a white tape on the end of his stick, I keep thinking the puck squeaked by him.
    I hate to say it, and don’t get me wrong, Boeser may still be the best player on the team this year, but I think he needs to sit for a game or two a la Hutton or baerschi. He needs to watch a game to observe what he needs to do, his mojo is out of whack and he is in danger of becoming a pure shooter, hwen he actually started this year with a pretty well rounded game. I think he needs to hit the reset button for his own good, and a rest will do him good.
    I was pretty ok with Guddy’s game tonight. I’m ok with his price if he plays hard.
    Sutter and archie seem like a thing, that’s cool.
    Where in the hell is Gagner playing?
    also, did Biega even play last night?
    also, buy back Vanek this summer., he is top shelf class (not a pun).
    also, I don’t blame benning for the TDL, I think it is what he could get, and it is what the market could bear. I do not think I could do better. Maybe these guy find a niche, maybe they raise their stock and turn into futures, maybe not, it is what it is.
    oh, and stetcher was an animal tonight, good job stetch.
    last but not least, I was really touched with the second intermission interview with (daniel?) Sedin right up until he parked his car a “little too uncomfortably close” to another car and tried to get out while not opening the car door too far as so to scratch the other dude’s car. What a gentleman, what an everyman. Who can’t relate to anything these guys say now. Everyone has at one time or another had to do a clever-snake yoga move to get out of a car parked too close to another. And he doesn’t resent it, he just does it, cuz, hey, I’m a Sedin. but my parking spot is the same size as Biega’s, and that’s righteous IMO and how it should be. Goddamn Van Royalty I tell ya. Non stop class.

  • Beer Can Boyd

    The off season cannot come fast enough for this team. Except for Virtanen,Daniel, and maybe Archibald, they looked totally disinterested last night. One day after stealing a game from the worst team in the league. A huge re-set is needed in Vancouver, but for the life of me, in light of the recent signings, I can’t see how that is going to happen.