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Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin - USA TODAY Sports

CanucksArmy Post Game: New York State of Mind

The Rundown

The new look New York Rangers were in town Wednesday night. The Rangers weren’t the only team with a new look, though, as deadline acquisitions Tyler Motte and Brendan Leipsic made their Canuck debuts.

Jacob Markstrom made his third straight start in goal for the Canucks, coming off playing back-to-back Sunday against Arizona, and in Colorado on Monday night.

Puck Drop

Making his Canuck debut, Leipsic started for the Canucks on a line with Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser. It’s a huge opportunity for Leipsic, and his skill set is very complimentary when paired with Horvat and Boeser. A speedy, tenacious winger, he drives opponents nuts and is a good playmaker. On paper, it looks like a great fit.

The trend of goals early and often in Canucks games recently continued tonight. Less than a minute and a half into the game it was 1-0 New York.

After icing was oddly waived off, Jesper Fast pinned Ben Hutton to the boards preventing him from clearing the puck. Kevin Hayes picked up the loose puck behind the net; Hayes then puts an innocent looking enough wrap around on net. Despite its innocence, the first shot of the game somehow eluded Markstrom.

Twenty-seven seconds later, the Rangers struck again. This time there wasn’t much Markstrom could do as Jimmy Vesey beautifully deflected a heavy point shot past him to make it 2-0.

The Rangers third shot wasn’t a goal. But it did elicit a Bronx cheer from a restless Rogers Arena crowd.

As the game settled in, Leipsic started to do his thing. First tipping Derrick Pouliot’s point shot on goal, the followed up on his next shift taking a pass from Erik Gudbranson across the blueline, Leipsic dragged the puck and fired a dangerous shot over Henrik Lundqvist. Early returns on Leipsic with Boeser and Horvat appeared promising.

With 7:31 left in the first, the Rangers struck again. Once again Neal Pionk had his point shot (this time a wrister) tipped in front, this time by Hayes for his second of the game. Travis Green had seen enough, and Anders Nilsson came in to relieve Markstrom.

The Canucks responded less than two minutes later; the Horvat line had their best shift of the period deep in the Rangers zone. Late in the shift, the Horvat made a great pass through the seam to find Boeser back door. Boeser made no mistake, potting his 28th of the year.

With Jesper Fast sitting for high-sticking, Hayes nearly had a 1st-period hattrick. He picked off Daniel Sedin’s pass at the blueline and was off to the races.

Nilsson poke checked Hayes, and the Canucks quickly turned the puck up ice. Once they gained the zone, Henrik found Daniel cutting to the net. Daniel deflected the pass on net, and with Lundqvist unable to handle the rebound, Bo Horvat picked up his second point of the period. Bringing the Canucks to within one.

2nd Period

The Canucks were shorthanded early in the second, with Alex Edler heading to the box just twenty-three seconds into the period.

With his team shorthanded, Nilsson made some saves early in the period to keep the Canucks in the game as they killed off the penalty.

The Canucks got going midway through the period, with Hutton being one of the more noticeable Canucks on the ice. He was aggressive offensively, carrying the puck up the ice and getting pucks on net all night.

After Jake Virtanen rushed the puck deep into the New York zone, Sven Baertschi was stopped point blank. Sam Gagner and his linemates kept the Rangers hemmed in their own end for an extended period as momentum started to swing in Vancouver’s favour.

A few shifts later, the Canucks cashed in, tying the game up at three. Daniel Sedin found brother Henrik coming off the bench and fed a cross-ice pass to him. Henrik then centred the puck for Michael Del Zotto who joined the rush and went to the net. The pass was deflected, but it happened that it came right to Daniel in the high slot. Daniel quickly fired a slapshot which beat Henrik Lundqvist five-hole.

Four minutes later, the Rangers took the lead once again. Playing in his first game with the Rangers after being the centrepiece heading back to New York in a trade deadline blockbuster, Vladislav Namestinokov scored his first goal as a blue shirt.

The Twins got a little too cute at the blueline, trying to feather one too many passes to each other. Namestnikov stripped Henrik Sedin, who was the last man back, of the puck. Namestnikov made no mistake on the breakaway going five-hole on Anders Nilsson.

3rd Period

It was the Gagner, Virtanen, Baertschi line again building momentum early in the third for Vancouver. Sam Gagner took a pass in the slot from Jake Virtanen, and the puck eventually found it’s way to Sven Baertschi to the left of Henrik Lundqvist. Baertschi was being tied up and couldn’t get a stick on the puck; otherwise, we got a tie game again.

With Leipsic in the box for a questionable slashing call, Anthony DeAngelo went down rather easily about to turn the puck over in front of his own goalie; Motte had a standout shift on the penalty kill. Using his speed to get in on the forecheck Motte harassed the Rangers deep in their own end. Eventually turning the puck over, and pinning it against the boards; drawing rave reviews for the Canucks faithful in the building.

In an odd turn of events, Lundqvist then took three pucks off the mask in the span of a couple of minutes. The last of which was obviously an intentional save made with his helmet.

With just over ten minutes left in the third frame, Mikka Zibanejad was sent off for slashing. A minute later, Vancouver went up 5-on-3 due to another Rangers slashing call.

With two extra men, the Canucks went to work, creating several chances as they continued to pour shots on net all night long. Most notable was Sam Gagner being robbed twice by Lundqvist, as King Henrik kept his team in front.

With the second unit on the ice finish up the Canucks powerplay, Nikolay Goldobin took a fantastic pass by new Canucks Brendan Leipsic right through the seam. Goldobin looked to the heavens in relief, as he finally gets on the board with Travis Green giving him a real opportunity alongside the Sedin’s.

Unfortunately for Goldobin, his relief would be short-lived. Two and a half minutes later, Goldobin was front and centre for another goal. This time for the wrong reasons, as he turned the puck over with a careless neutral zone pass. Zibanejad scored his second of the game with a great finish in tight on Nilsson.

My biggest issue with Goldobin on this play isn’t the turnover itself which isn’t great. But the commitment from Goldobin to get back and redeem himself is lacking. He needs to put his head down, and come back as hard as he can on Zibanejad and try to break up the play. Instead, he’s a step behind and unable to affect the play, and the Canucks are down again.

I’m a staunch Goldobin supporter and have campaigned for him to see more ice. But efforts like that are why NHL coaches are hesitant to play him; it’s a risk-averse business. Unless you’re undeniable offensively and piling up the points, exp: Boeser, finding a regular spot in the lineup is tough with these types of efforts.

With Nilsson on the bench, the Canucks pressed to tie the game up late. Leipsic was front and centre once again, as he had a pair of chances late to tie it up.

With 47 seconds left, it was Leipsic again finding Brock Boeser with another pass through the middle of the ice. Boeser then made a great move to pull the puck around the defender and fire short side for his second of the night, sending the game to overtime.

OT

The Canucks had their opportunities in overtime, with you guessed it, Leipsic and Boeser front and centre. Unable to finish the Rangers got their chance going the other way.

Ryan Spooner, another player, playing for a new team post-deadline, skated the puck the length of the ice. Just as he appeared to be taking the puck behind the net, he chipped it across the front of the net. Finding defencemen John Gilmour, who one-timed a band angle shot high short side before Nilsson could come across.

6-5 Rangers, final score.

The Numbers

  • 5-on-5 the Canucks had 56.51% of the expected goals
  • The Canucks controlled 63% of 5v5 shot attempts
  • Leipsic and Boeser led the way with 8 and nine shot attempts each. Leipsic also had a game-high seven shots on goal
  • The Canucks unload a whopping 16 high danger shots on Henrik Lundqvist, who despite giving up five goals outperformed his expected save percentage and GSAA

Quick Hits

  • With the trade deadline in the rearview mirror, we saw a seemingly more relaxed and confident Ben Hutton. It’s been a tough season for the young defenseman facing the first adversity of this pro career. With trade talk now tabled at least for now, hopefully, Hutton can find the form that had so many excited about his upside.
  • Newly acquired Brendan Leipsic was a standout from the time the puck dropped in this one. The shift forward used his speed well and was creating chances nearly everytime he stepped on the ice. The tenacity and hustle he plays with is refreshing, and something certain other young Canucks could learn from.
  • Daniel Sedin continues his renaissance as of late, scoring his 20th goal of the season tonight, after topping out at 15 last year. If this is the swan song for the Twins, it’s great to see them playing their best hockey of the last two years down the stretch.
  • The Canucks had a season-high 55 shots on goal against the Rangers. The team record is 62, set back in 1991 against these same New York Rangers.
  • Kneedroptalbot

    Looks like another good trade by Jim Benning. Brendan Leipsic lead the team with 7 shots on goal tonight and fit in really well with Horvat and Boeser. He’s a good skater too.

  • Rodeobill

    After the first 10, this was a fun game to watch, and almost a best case scenario.
    We stay in a good spot for the draft while seeing some fun stuff from the next gen.
    Both Mott and Leipsic really made a good impression, Leipsic really played like he wants to make a home here. If we had decent goal tending tonight, this is an easy win, and that is what was provided for the Rangers, even though it was a gutted and tanking Rangers. If every game here out is as exciting as this and we still draft high and well, i’m happy.

    Funny thing, if you get the puck on net enough the numbers come too, maybe they should go with more of that.

    • tyhee

      There was a lot of expectation about a draft pick for Vanek (and Gudbranson before his extension) but Leipsic was obtained for Philip Holm and I don’t think anybody expected a 3rd round draft pick for him. Actually, I doubt anybody expected he’d be traded at all or that he’d bring a return as good as Leipsic, who was highly regarded the last few years as a prospect of the Predators and then the Leafs.

  • defenceman factory

    Well that was an entertaining game. Did Lundquist steal a couple points or did Markstrom give one away? Green has to be happy with the compete level of the new guys. Goldobin better take notice.

  • canuckfan

    Goldobin can be a good NHL’er if he only put his head into the game. We will see what he is made of these last few games. How he showed up to training camp tells us how much effort he put in off the ice. His compete level is barely even registering. He has natural talent which gets him here, but without some try and extra effort he won’t be able to stick. I sure hope he gets going and plays his heart out by getting some emotion into his game. Otherwise he will just be another player in the KHL and will not be because Canucks don’t know how to asset manage as the team is giving him every opportunity he just isn’t taking control of his own destiny unless he wants to play in Russia. If he can’t make the Canucks no other team will even give a 9th round pick for him.

    • TD

      Couldn’t agree more. So glad they gave Leipsic a the spot on that wing instead of Goldobin, who didn’t show much during the previous couple of games. I hope he figures it out, but right now he appears to falling down the depth charts and that’s without any of the other prospects showing up.

  • apr

    I don’t think that Brock will catch Barzal point wise; but he should win the Calder if he pots 40. Wrist is healed; its ankle breaking time again. If I were a playoff team, I’d tell my D just to give him the shot. Gaunce is done; Motte does everything he can at a way faster pace. Granlund is gone too if Motte can show some offence. Draft picks are coming.

  • LiborPolasek

    Hockey is one of the sports were a goalies’ performance will always matter. The game last night was highly entertaintening and the goalie performance from both ends was the real difference.

  • Beer Can Boyd

    Canucks need to change goalie coaches. Markstromm and Nilsson simply are not mentally prepared most nights, hence the bad goals. Sorry, but this is on Cloutier.And the team cannot let the same thing happen to Demko. Also, as I’ve said before, why not bring in Ohlund or Salo to coach the D? Surely they have more wisdom to impart than Baumgartner, who played a grand total of 143 NHL games. Hutton and Gudbrandson seem to have taken steps backward this year, while Stecher has stood still.

    • TD

      Cloutier may not be the best coach, but Markstrom and Nilsson are adults on pro hockey contracts. Cloutier needs to get them working on form and structure, they need to come ready to play. Either way, the Canucks aren’t going anywhere until they get more consistent performances in goal. Way too many bad goals from both of them.

      • defenceman factory

        I agree with you but just couldn’t help but chuckle a bit when you mentioned Cloutier and form and structure in the same sentence. Cloutier will be really valuable if goalie fights are ever a thing again.

        Trevor really needs to stay away from hiring his old buddies

    • Dirty30

      Every time Loui is mentioned I hear the soundtrack and narrative from that cheesy Six Million Dollar Man series …

      “Loui Eriksson… hockey player … his career barely alive … we can rebuild him … make him stronger, faster … we can make him “The Six Million Dollar Man!!!”

      Lee Majors real claim to fame was being married to Farrah Fawcet … whose claim to fame was poster girl, inventing phone sex on Charlie’s Angels and passing away the same day as Michael Jackson.

      I think I just had a ‘70’s flashback aneurism!

  • Kootenaydude

    After watching this team skate and the compete level last night. It’s pretty obvious that Eriksson has to go. Our newest Canuck Leipsic showed Goldobin and our other young guys how you have to compete if you want to stay in the NHL. Hopefully his work ethic continues. I may be getting a little ahead of myself, but Sven, Granlund and Virtanen seen rather expendable now.

    • I’ve been enjoying watching Virtanen over the last few weeks. He’s starting to show brief instances of his physical game and scoring ability. He needs to build up his confidence and start making the opposition cater to his game rather than him trying to keep up with the pace of the game. More hits and more shots and we’ll start seeing what Benning saw at the draft.

    • I am Ted

      All this after one game against a team that just sent away some key players? Yes, maybe a lot ahead of yourself. It was 1 game and we did see promise and upside from the new guys.

      I wonder what happens when Gaunce, Granlund, Erikkson and the rest are all healthy.

      • TD

        Leipsic’s reputation is that he is high energy and doesn’t stop. The team will obviously have a harder time against better teams and not put up 55 shots. Be interesting to see how they play against Nashville. That will be a test against a real contender.

  • NeverWas

    Fire Benning, crucify Linden… worst trades ever!! WHERE ARE THE DRAFT PICKS!! AHHHHHHH We dont need these plugs!!! TERRIBLE MANAGEMENT!!!

    **insert leipsic and Motte***

    -Wow, ok… maybe it wasnt that bad?!??! Maybe we dont know everything?!?!? Leipsic looks like he could be a difference maker in the top six plus hes still pretty young. Motte might be a pretty good ultility type player… maybe like Hansen/Burrows-esk

    Add in Petersen, Oli, Dalhen… plus Baer, Boeser, Polliot, Gaudette, Lind… Binning might not be as stupid as ya’ll think.

    Who cares about the loss… that was one of the best games I have watched all season.

  • wojohowitz

    Leipsic looked good but I have to wonder why he didn`t play like that in Toronto or Vegas.

    Motte looked out of shape and he should get better.

    Goldobin is putting together a highlight package of giveaways and mistakes that could sink his NHL career but keep playing him as potential is obvious.

    • crofton

      Did you see him play in either of those places? I did not, so I have no answer, just a suggestion….maybe usage? Reportedly he was playing on the 4th line for VGK. It’s always tough for a good player to shine on a 4th line. Last night he was playing alongside skill.

    • DJ_44

      He was not really given a chance in Toronto. Pre-Matthews, he was buried on the fourth line.

      He was also on the fourth line in Vegas, who speed and skill (Karlsson, Marchessault) or big body (Neal) in their top six.

      Being an energy, banging type guy is not his strength. Speed, skill, playmaking.