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Photo Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski - USA TODAY Sports

CanucksArmy Post-Game: Blackhawks Down

The Rundown

The Chicago Blackhawks hosting the Vancouver Canucks in late March without any playoff implications for either side — it’s been a while!

No Brock Boeser, no Jonathan Toews or Corey Crawford, and not a lot of happiness on either bench. However, there’s still some meaning in these games for young players and journeymen who are auditioning for jobs next season, including Nikolay Goldobin, Brendan Leipsic, Darren Archibald Tyler Motte and Derrick Pouliot. Let’s take a look and see how this game went down.

First Period

Chris Tanev got the play started in the defensive zone with a takeaway and pass to Leipsic all in one motion for the quick, controlled zone exit, Leipsic led the rush, gained the zone and made a sweet dish to Alex Edler who made no mistake, going against the grain for the nice finish. 1-0 Canucks.

Less than a minute later, the Chicago Blackhawks tied the game at one when Nick Schmaltz scored his 21st goal of the year.

A shade under ten minutes later, Henrik Sedin scored a goal! It was his first in 56 games and his third of the season.

Selfishly, I hope it’s not the twins last season in the NHL; they’ve combined to create some of my favourite hockey moments in my life with their Sedinery magic. I’m not sure I’m ready for a world without the Sedins in the NHL. The way things have gone this season, and next season not looking much better, I wonder if they even want to come back?

Troy Stecher had a tough first 20 minutes, had as many giveaways as controlled exits which led to a 31.25% shot share while he was on the ice.

That was nothing compared to the Nic Dowd, Darren Archibald, and Tyler Motte trio who got absolutely demolished at even strength. The Canucks had precisely zero shot attempts when they were on the ice through 20 — yikes.

Second Period

Seven minutes into the second period, Stecher makes a great stretch pass to Goldobin who draws his checker to the boards, spins and hits Bo Horvat in stride who flies into the zone and goes five-hole on J.F. Berube. Bo Horvat’s 20th goal of the season in his 56th game.  3-1, Canucks.

Alex Edler gets his second of the game, throwing it at the net, getting a fortunate bounce off of a Chicago defender. Primary assist to Horvat, secondary apple to Goldobin, both good for their second points of the game. 4-1 Canucks.

Third Period

The third period was kicked off by Brandon Sutter who earned his eighth goal of the season the hard way, as Michael Del Zotto’s point shot banked off his ankle and into the net to put the Canucks up 5-1.

Matthew Highmore would score his second of the season and the Blackhawks second of the game to make 5-2 with 3:30 remaining and that’s how this one would end!

The third period was ugly, Travis Green and the Canucks sat back and were outshot 27-9. It’s tough to blame them; a four-goal lead looks extra precious when you haven’t won a game since March 5th. The Canucks finally ended their ugly seven-game losing streak which saw them score only seven goals in that span.

The Numbers

Quick Hits

  •  I really liked Goldobin’s effort tonight. He had some shining moments with the puck, but was noticeably putting in just as much effort without the biscuit tonight. If he can maintain this consistent compete level for the remainder of the season, while continuing to setup teammates for scoring opportunities, I like his chances of earning on a spot on the roster for next season. I mean, Goldy’s shot assists/60 is second only to Henrik Sedin, there could be a player there if continues to battle!
  • Sam Gagner had a strong game with the Sedin’s tonight, leading the team in primary shot contributions with seven and was the only player to finish with a 50% shot share or better. He’s been wanting to play with the twins all year and finally got his chance and made the most of it. Unfortunately for Gagner, there’s just not that much hockey left this season for him turn his numbers around.
  • Jacob Markstrom had a strong game, stopping 39 of 41 shots, he was the primary reason the game wasn’t a barn burner tonight.
  • Tanev and Edler got buried in the defensive zone tonight, starting nearly 90% of their shifts in the defensive zone. This definitely didn’t help their shot share tonight, both finishing under 40%, Edler at 37.93%, and Tanev, a team low, 24.14%
  • TD

    I may get lots of bad comments for this, but Jokinen did something in the second period which showed why he’s had a fairly long career. With around 11:30 left in the second, Chicago was on a 2 on 2. Jokinen was the first forward back and was close to catching the 2 Chicago forwards as they entered the Canucks’ zone. Instead of continuing to pursue, Jokinen turned and looked for his check. He also directed one of the other Canucks to who they should check. It was not a big deal, but how many times have we seen some of the younger Canucks blow their d zone coverages while puck watching. It was a nothing play, but showed the small details in Jokinen’s game that has kept him playing at 34 years of age. Hopefully some of the kids witnessed it and can understand what it takes to be a pro.

    • Jokinen’s been weirdly good since coming to the Canucks. Not a world-beater, but he looks like someone who still belongs in the NHL, which didn’t seem to be the case earlier this year.

    • Tedchinook

      That’s a great observation, and you’re right. Have to hope the young guys see things like that and learn from them. Turns out he’s a smart veteran who still has something to contribute.

  • Rayman

    Do you remember a few yrs back, when we were so close to the top pick then, for some stupid reason, we won 3 straight games and miss the top pick?

    please, for once, take one for the fans/ team and tank properly….

    We may not be this bad next year, so please, just TANK this year and get that NHL ready defenceman for next season!!

    • argoleas

      I wouldn’t worry about that. Chicago is a dungpile. None of the teams left in Canucks’ schedule are that. Even Arizona and Edmonton who overall have been bad have been playing very well recently, and I have to say that the timing could not be better. So I expect no more wins. IN fact, even Buffalo’s schedule is better than ours, although I fear there’s nothing we can do to catch them.

    • DogBreath

      I want Dahlin as much as the next person. However, the way Bettman has set up the lottery system leaves no incentive to tank. It erodes your identity (which is taking a beating), perpetuates a loser mentality, only to end up further disappointed when you drop to the bottom and still lose out. Come 31st and there’s an 82% chance you’re not getting Dahlin. What’s the point?

    • DJ_44

      We did not miss the top pick because of three game; we missed the pick because we did not win the lottery.

      Applying your flawed logic, we would have had a better pick last year had we won a few more games.

      It don’t works like that.

  • canuckfan

    I missed the game but glad to hear Goldobin had a good game nice to hear him giving it his all. I think he can be a NHL regular with success but needs to play 120%

  • Ryles

    Yah it sucks for #teamtank that the Canucks won tonight but they weren’t gonna lose out the rest of the year, especially against an AHL goaltender like tonight. Got some tough opponents coming up so hopefully the boys can get back on track and start up a new losing streak.

  • Rodeobill

    Sedins woke up for tonight’s game, I wonder if the team was in agreement to “get this last one for the twins.” At least they played like it anyway. If we had to rally for one game the rest of this year I’m glad it was squashing the hawks. I watched the Buf/ARZ game and I don’t get it with buffalo, the got Eichel, okposo, and some other good forwards, how is it they can lick so much pouch? Anyway, the Hawks didn’t look much better tonight either.

    • canuckfan

      I think that the Sedins got themselves up for the game against the Hawks they remember how much they hate them and just wanted to spank them while they are down.

    • DogBreath

      Yes, agreed, why does Buffalo lose so much when they’ve got those players. The team has sucked, drafted those players and doesn’t know how to win. They have a losing mentality that they can’t seem to shake. You don’t just turn on a winning mentality. It’s putting the necessary ingredients together to make a team – not a collection of high draft picks (we’re looking at you Edmonton!)

    • Mbossy22

      I think that Buffalo, like Edmonton, has that loser culture after their years of tanking. This is one of the reasons that I have joined Team Tank with a very heavy heart…the result could either be Dahlin, or if not, we’ll remain stuck down there.

      • argoleas

        I do not see anything in this team that smacks of not wanting to win, or wanting to tank. They are tanking as a consequence of being a bad team overall and injuries, not because they have given up, at least not some of the key guys like Horvat.

        People point to Buffalo and Edmonton as having a losing culture, and we can debate that, but look at Colorado. They felt absolutely embarrassed by last year, and look at them now. And that’s with jettisoning most of their vets.

  • Holmes

    Think the Hawks have to dismantle the team asap. Not sure what the asking price would be on Toews and Kane. But if Bowman called Benning and said, `I’ll trade either player to you for Virtanen and Stecher’….would Benning do it? Don’t sign the Sedins, use that money to absorb the salary for Toews or Kane, and there is our prime time number 1 centre.

    • DogBreath

      I think time will show that having a couple of $13-14 million players on your team will be too prohibitive to build a cup. By taking these salaries, Toews and Kane (and Seabrook) have essentially killed the Hawks chance at future cups. The team will be dismantled and they will lose for awhile. Interested to see what happens with Toronto and Edmonton. If Matthews / Marner / Nylander aren’t greedy then Leafs can create a team to challenge for the cup, If Matthews goes for McJesus $$ and sets that bar for the others, then the Leafs are done.

      Crosby, arguably the best player on the planet, earns $10.9 million, leaving his team (just) enough room to squeeze together contender each year.

      • When Crosby and Malkin signed their contracts they took up a much higher percentage of the cap than they do now. 8.7 million takes up more of a 60 million cap than 10 million does on a 73 million cap.

        Signing your best players to expensive contracts isn’t what kills you. It’s signing the aging second-tier players (like Brent Seabrook) to expensive contracts that kills you.

        • argoleas

          Completely agree. Toews and Kane are still viable 1st line engines for this team, and as bad as the Seabbrook and Keith deals are, the Hawks will still have close to $45M for the rest of the team. Ugly as hell, but with good drafting and cycling in ELCs, college UFAs, and good trades, it can be managed. And there’s always the cap elevator.

          But this cap elevation uncertainty is what cost them Panarin (what a disastrous trade), and may cost them future stars.

          Seems to me that Chicago has a major decision to make. And that is to do a major and immediate rebuild. Treat Toews and Kane as your core. Jettison everything else that is not part for the future, and explore every means possible of trading one or both of Seabrook and Keith. These two may not be 1st pair D anymore, but on a playoff team, they can contribute. Retain 50% of their salary, do a 3-way deal that allows 2 salary retentions per deal. Accept that next 3 years will be about sucking, and draft like hell. Maybe Toews and Kane will want to leave then too. Fine. No choice.

          • wojohowitz

            Bowman has done a fantastic job of juggling his lineup over the years to remain competitive but it finally caught up to him. Solid veterans like Bufuglien, Ladd, Brouwer, Hjamersstrom and Sharp all helped. Canuck fans can only dream that Bowman and Quenville become available and Aquilini hires them both.

      • Holmes

        Both guys are a $10.5 cap hit until they are 33. They are 29 now. I think an argument against trading for them is reasonable from a pure hockey standpoint. Then again, having Kane (or Toews), Peterson and Horvat down the middle is pretty tantalizing. Also, from a business standpoint, the team has to sell tickets, deal with TV and radio rights and sell gear. If we suck on the ice and at the gate, not good. I think Kane or Toews can help everything. It just depends on the acquisition cost.