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Vancouver Canucks vs Los Angeles Kings: A Royal Visit

The Rundown

3rd game in 3 nights for the Vancouver Canucks as the preseason is well underway across the NHL. Tonight, it was the preseason debuts for Brock Boeser and Jakob Markstrom, another outing from super rookie Elias Pettersson, and another chance for Sven Baertschi and Nikolay Goldobin to increase their stock heading into the season. The Los Angeles Kings were tonight’s opponent, looking to hand the Canucks their 3rd straight defeat.

 

1st Period

Tonight’s hockey game started off with a lot more passion than one would come to expect from a pre-season contest. Both teams exchanged massive hits all around the ice, with Michael Del Zotto laying down a blast, to Kale Clague bowling over Bo Horvat. This would eventually lead to a Canucks power-play, and the team’s first look of a top unit featuring both Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser.

 

Unfortunately, as you can tell by the lack of a twitter feed, nothing came during the man advantage. Play would continue on until the Canucks would break the score. A fantastic play started by Boeser as he carried the puck in during the last 30 seconds of another Vancouver power play. He fed the puck to Baertschi, who then sent the puck to super rookie Pettersson. Pettersson would proceed to pass the puck through his feet to Baertschi, who would feed Bo Horvat to finish off the play to give the Canucks a 1 goal lead to head into the intermission.

 

 

2nd Period

The 2nd period started off great… for the Kings. A bad outlet pass leads to a scramble in front of Jakob Markstrom, which would end with Adrian Kempe being the last King to touch the puck before Alex Biega accidentally puts it in his own net.

 

 

The Canucks would show some nice push-back, with Virtanen driving to the net and getting some shots on goal, followed by Jonathan Dahlen being sprung on a breakaway by Michael Del Zotto, only to be stopped by starter Jack Campbell. Ultimately, it would be the Kings who would strike again, with Tanner Pearson burying a nice play off the rush with a shot over the shoulder of an uncomfortable looking Markstrom.

 

 

The Canucks would try to answer back, but the Kings would net one last goal in the period on a redirection from former Canuck Emerson Etem. All in all, rough period for the Canucks…

 

 

3rd Period

After watching the Canucks for the past 3 days, it’s become apparent they’re a 3rd period team. In the first half of the 3rd, Tyler Motte (who was having another good game), hustled hard, and battled to get the puck to Bo Horvat for a 2 on 1 opportunity. Horvat elected to shoot, and rifled a shot blocker side on Peter Budaj who took over the reigns from Jack Campbell to start the 3rd.

 

 

As the period chugged along, Virtanen showed he wasn’t all talk when he said he wanted to become a player teams hated playing against, getting in the middle of 4 Kings players in their own end behind the play before being sent off for roughing. The Canucks would kill off the penalty, with help from the glove of Markstrom before getting another power-play opportunity later in the period. For the 2nd time of the hockey game the Canucks would score on the man advantage. This time, the Canucks would set it up and execute their plan perfectly. Pettersson, to Horvat, to Baertschi, to the back of the net.

 

 

The 3rd period would wind down with the Canucks laying some huge hits on their counterparts. Michael Del Zotto flattened Jonny Brodzinki along the boards, forcing Brodzinki to leave the game with an upper body injury. A couple minutes later it was Darren Archibald flattening Jake Muzzin after an offside whistle. Tempers would flare, but no fights would occur. After all the rough stuff was said and done, this game would head to overtime.

 

Overtime & Shootout

So, nothing happened during the overtime period really worth going over in detail. The Canucks had to kill a penalty after Goldobin took a hooking minor, and Boeser had a rush in the dying seconds, but no great chances for either side. So we’d go to a shootout. Shootout went as followed:

 

Boeser was stopped.

Kempe would score. 1-0 Kings in the shootout.

Pettersson would be stopped.

Etem would be stopped.

Horvat would have to score to keep the game alive, and he’d do just that! 1-1 going to the 3rd shooter for LA.

Pearson would be stopped.

Goldobin would come out as the 4th shooter for Vancouver, and he’d make no mistake to give the Canucks a 2-1 lead in the shootout!

Michael Amadio would be the Kings 4th shooter, and he’d be the last as he’s stopped. With the save, the Canucks earned their first win of the preseason!

 

Advanced Statistics

 

Both photos courtesy of naturalstattrick.com

 

Wrap Up

With the Canucks win, we’re going to keep things positive tonight! Make mention of a few Canucks players who impressed me throughout the game before making our way down to update the pre season position battles.

 

Bo Horvat: Dude was a force tonight. 2 goals and an assist while looking dangerous all over the playing surface. While there’s been a ton of attention on Brock Boeser and Elias Pettersson to provide some offense, don’t be surprised if Bo Horvat is able to eclipse 60 points this season. He’s been trending upwards every season he’s been in the NHL, and pre season results aside, he looks like he’s ready to truly breakout this year.

 

Elias Pettersson: 2 assists on the night, and another game where Pettersson shows us why he’s so highly touted. Offensive instincts aside, I want to make mention that Pettersson hasn’t be on the ice for a goal against in his 2 games in the pre season. For all the commotion around if he can be a defensively responsible center in the NHL, his defense has been one of his strong suits so far. Understanding it’s not the regular season yet, he’s passing all the tests the Canucks can throw at him.

 

Ben Hutton: After a pretty egregious error to end the Edmonton game, Hutton needed to come back with a strong performance and he did. He was confident with the puck, had a couple of good rushes out of his own end, and was winning puck battles down low. After an up and down showing in his first game, this was a good bounce back performance.

 

Tyler Motte: Both games he’s played in this pre season he’s been a perfect bottom 6 type player. Lots of speed, lots of heart, a little bit of flash, and was finally able to get on the score-sheet tonight with an assist on Bo’s 2nd goal. Probably the guy most affected by the signings of Beagle, Roussel, and Schaller. If anyone else goes down to an injury for an extended period of time this season. Motte right now would be my first call up in case of a long term injury, unless he’s going through a slump in Utica when the time comes.

Camp Battles

To wrap off the 3 game homestead, let’s take a look at how some of the camp battles could be unfolding.

 

Top 6 winger positions: Sven Baertschi, Nikolay Goldobin, Brendan Leipsic (Loui Eriksson is now injured).

 

With the injury to Eriksson being week to week, there is a possibility the Canucks aren’t going to have to expose anyone to waivers right at the beginning of the season. As far as the remaining 3 wingers are concerned, right now I see Baertschi being reunited on the top line with Bo and Brock, while Goldobin wins a spot on a line with Elias Pettersson. Leipsic had a great game versus a lineup consisting of Calgary’s AHL caliber players, but he’s going to have to show that again against veteran NHL players if he wants to earn that spot away from the young Russian.

 

Bottom pairing left defense-men: Ben Hutton, Michael Del Zotto, Olli Juolevi, Ashton Sautner, Derrick Pouliot.

 

A strong showing from Ben Hutton puts him at the forefront for a spot with Chris Tanev to begin the season, a pairing that historically has been surprisingly effective on some bad Canucks teams. Michael Del Zotto was on for 2 goals against, but brought energy with the physical play and was involved in a couple of plays in the offensive zone. Juolevi needs to show he can have a strong game versus NHL caliber players to be truly considered. Same can be said about Ashton Sautner, but he’s likely destined for Utica at this point. Derrick Pouliot will need to rebound after a poor showing if he wants to avoid the press box when October rolls around.

 

As always, thanks for the read through.

  • Kanuckhotep

    It’s great Ben Hutton had a good game tonight. I want him to succeed. LA didn’t really have too many guns in the holster tonight but the side the Canucks iced looked more like who they will go with in the reg season. Pettersson is a true joy to watch thus far and Green praised his bottom 6 Fs post game. Enjoyable to watch.

  • tyhee

    If one wants to be a cheerleader, then this is a great article.

    Otoh, if the writer is determined not to tell us about any mistakes made by any players (even when mentioning a bad outlet pass apparently nobody was responsible for making that pass) and decides to completely “keep things positive” how is one supposed to be able to judge how players are really doing?

    When cuts are made are fans going to be complaining about the stupid coach because the coach has seen mistakes the fans haven’t been told about?

    This isn’t journalism, isn’t analysis, it is just cheerleading. I know, some of the readers on here want that.

    I’d like to know what’s happening. There’s nothing in this article that tells me that.

    Flame away.

    • TheRealPB

      What a remarkably ungenerous response. This is far from an uncritical or cheerleading article. He acknowledged that Markstrom wasn’t set on the 2nd goal and that Pouliot has played poorly. So he didn’t mention who made the bad pass (Biega). You’re being needlessly picky. Would you rather a recap full of snark from someone who didn’t even bother watching the game as has happened in the past?

      • wjohn1925

        Well put. Last game Cole gave us the good, the average, and the bad. This time he skipped the bad, and sometimes that’s okay. On the whole the team played much better against the Kings than against the Flames and it all looked a little more organized. These post-game write-ups are a major improvement over last year’s efforts (or sometimes lack-thereof).

        • Defenceman Factory

          I agree Cole is doing a great job on these game summaries. I really like his take on the Camp Battles. No reason to put much focus on mistakes in preseason. You can’t ignore poor effort and bad habits but those weren’t particularly evident in this game.

    • Dirty30

      If this site has been guilty of anything it has been unwarranted snark, gripes, specious arguments, trolls, potshots at management, readers and clouds rolling by.

      Cole presents what we have asked for — a timely, fair and reasonably comprehensive review of the game by someone who actually watched it.

      He has delivered all of that and more.

      That puts him far above what some other contributors have contributed in the past.

      Keep up the good work Cole!

  • TheRealPB

    That was a pretty good game — yes, it’s still against a split squad of the Kings, but plenty to be happy about. The top two lines looked dangerous most of the night and I was pleasantly surprised by the play of some of the veterans — Gudbranson, Schaller and Beagle in particular. Motte to me has been more consistent than Leipsic. Goldobin looked good again, though a little less noticeable than previous games. Baertschi looks like he’s come to play and has showed really well. One of the things I’ve been most impressed with about Pettersson is that for all the concerns about his size he hasn’t just avoided hits or been pushed off the puck, he’s been engaged and hasn’t looked at all overmatched. Hutton has been great (conversely Tanev looks like he’s lost a step or two, though still good). Markstrom was generally good. Biega made the bad pass, swept the puck into his own net and got outmuscled by Imama for the screen on the third goal. He’s a gamer but still should be in the AHL.

    • TD

      Motte has played hard and may have earned a bottom 6 spot, although probably not because of his waiver situation. Leipsic is competing for a top 6 spot and I think he has been good. His goal the other day was very nice and he has shown a fair amount of creativity in both the games he played. I hope they don’t expose Leipsic to waivers cause I doubt he would get through. I’d like to see the top six start as follows:

      Leipsic Horvat Boeser
      Baertschi Pettersson Goldobin

      • Cageyvet

        I accidently trashed you as well as cheered, sorry. I’m with you, but also feel that Leipsic can make this team as a third liner (more so than Goldobin who I think should be with high skill players if we want to see his best hockey). You can’t just go from skill to nothing as you hit the third line, when injuries hit good teams have that next guy who can almost justify in the top six ready to move up and fill the spot capably.

  • Captain Video

    Nice that Hutton bounced back. Goldobin did himself no favours by taking no shots in the game. Biega had a night to forget. The biggest development from my point of view was Green adding another centre to Pettersson’s line – as the kid was getting killed on faceoffs. I suspect that’s what we’ll see for the regular season, until Malholtra’s had time to work with Elias. Zone entry and exit stats are always appreciated.

    • Cageyvet

      Thankfully I haven’t heard any real suggestion that Patterson’s lack of success in the faceoff circle should in any way suggest he can’t become a great center. I’m just a little surprised there isn’t more commentary on the obvious fact that he played the wing almost exclusively all last season. It’s a timing thing as much as anything, and he’s bound to be rusty even if he was aces before. If that’s the weakest part of his center ice play I’m ecstatic.

  • PQW

    VERY concerning again guys. Canucks A-listers held to ransom by a Kings z-list ensemble following heavy defeats from the two Alberta teams scrubs.

    With roster spots wide open, NO ONE is stepping up like you armchair fools would to an all-you-can-eat-buffet! – fellas every pre-season game should be like a playoff game for these players… and the onus is squarely on the year five draft guru Benning who told us last pre-season “I like our goaltending, I like our defence now and I like our centre ice. I can’t wait until the season starts.”

    It’s a goddamn disgrace and you freeloaders know it… don’t you?

    • Killer Marmot

      If anyone else goes down to an injury for an extended period of time this season. Motte right now would be my first call up in case of a long term injury, unless he’s going through a slump in Utica when the time comes.

      Motte is sound defensively and useful on the penalty kill. Even if he goes into an offensive slump in Utica (quite possible, given the depth of prospects in Utica who will have first dibs on the power play), he should be a solid call-up. It’s not necessary for a call-up to win games for the team. You just don’t them to lose games for them.

    • Green Bastard

      What a come from behind gut out victory hey GUYS. That was almost like a playoff game. I LOVED the way Archibald and Virtanen tossed kings players around like PQW fantasizes about Jim roughing him up. AWESOME come back win…. and how about #40’s thru the leg pass to set up that goal! Outstanding!!!

  • Defenceman Factory

    This game looked like I expect the season to go; on nights with some saves, favourable bounces and the powerplay scoring Canucks eek out a win. Without those things happening the team will lose.

    I hope peoples expectations of the prospects are becoming more realistic through this preseason. Pettersson is an elite talent and clearly belongs in the NHL and we can look forward to watching him develop into a real star. Gaudette and Juolevi are close and I hope they get their chances sooner rather than later this season but they will have their struggles as they continue to grow into NHL players. Dahlen is a great offensive talent but needs to mature his game. A top 6 call-up later in the year looks about right. Lind is a year away from being able to tell if he is a year away.

    Tanev and Hutton looked pretty good but they don’t look as good as the top pairing on contending teams. Acquiring high end defence prospects remains the highest priority in building this team.

    • TD

      This camp has been enlightening on the prospects. I agree that most would benefit from time in the AHL. Pettersson makes the team because his skill level demands it. But Pettersson will improve a lot over the next couple years when his strength starts to catch up to his skill. It was noticeable how often he ended being knocked down. He will only get better. Hopefully the Canucks make a ton of trades at the deadline to make room for Gaudette, Juolevi and others.

    • I agree we will need at least 2 more high skill defencemen, I’d say another top pair and another top 4. Hughes, Joleuvi & 2 more top 4. Maybe it’s Woo. Also though we still need another high end top line forward such as Jack Hughes 😜 imagine a top six with Jack Hughes, Elias Pettersson, Brock Boesser, Bo Horvat, and one of either Dahlen, Gaudette, or maybe Baertschi.

  • KMA

    Unable to watch the entire game, but here are a couple of observations. Is it my imagination or did Brisebois have a decent game? The drop-back pass on the power play is so lame, hope it is not the go-to move during the season.

    • TheRealPB

      A good point. He definitely didn’t look out of place, decent size, good skater, seems to be able to make quicker decisions. I have to say overall the D is getting rid of the puck faster, including Gudbranson.

    • LTFan

      KMA – I thought Brisebois looked decent but wasn’t on the ice that much. Looked up his TOI and it was under 10 minutes so someone in the coaching staff wasn’t too high on him. It was announced earlier this morning that he has been sent back to Utica.

      • Cageyvet

        Which is no shame, it’s where you’d expect him to be at this stage, and based on what we’ve seen, where he should be. That’s not a criticism of his play, however, I thought he showed well and looks like he is developing nicely.

  • Puck movement on the PP was great. This was the kind of dynamic puck movement that we didn’t have when Henrik was leading the PP. I wish Baertschi was right handed to add another shooting option from the slot. This PP will be lethal when Hughes gets on the team.

  • Nuck16

    Well, those first 2 power plays sure were a disappointment…with only one shot. Newell Brown needs to study the tape of the power plays of the top teams in the league…teams that have top end snipers and look where they score all there goals from…and with a lot of frequency it’s about 5 feet high of the goal line basically in line with the bottom of face-off circle, if you follow. Having both Brock and Petty so high and stationary made it so easy to defend, and even if they could get a shot off, it’s not from a dangerous area. They need to be far more dynamic and at least one of them at all times needs to be very low ready to fire a one timer on the cross ice pass…very hard to defend and if they try to take that option away it opens up a lane for the other guy.

    • canuckfan

      Looks like they try to create distance between the two and then move the puck to the the otherside of ice where one of them are either Brock will snap it in or EP will set the play up either through shooting himself or setting someone up

    • Defenceman Factory

      I agree those aren’t the spots you want to take the shot from. The higher positioning opens up the slot as defenders have to shift up and outward. Two goals from the slot. You can’t slide down below the face-off dot until you catch the defender cheating to the middle. Spread the defenders out, move the puck around and in 30 to 45 seconds cardio and lactic acid make them cheat. Just need the patience to resist taking that lower percentage shot too early.

      • speering major

        Horvat had a good game and cashed on the PP but he really does need to work on his PP decisions. He constantly forces low probability plays as if it’s even strength. He does it on zone entries and with the puck down low. Yes he had a good game and it’s pre season but he’s done it his whole career. He needs to switch out of that even strength mind set on the PP.

    • Killer Marmot

      It sounds like Green read the riot act to at least some of the players, along the lines of “Either show up to camp in top condition or don’t show up at all.”

    • liqueur des fenetres

      Don’t you think that one of the best prospect pools in the league should be doing better when up against the prospects of other teams? It may have only been three coin flips so far, but the quality of the opposition will also be improving as opening night approaches.

        • truthseeker

          And even the best players in the world don’t “dominate” like the best players of old did. The gap between the top and the good average player has closed. Everyone trains the same now. Everyone has developed skills since they were little.

          When viewed at the single game level or even short stretch, it really takes a lot for a player to look “way better” than everyone else. It’s just not that easy anymore.

          Funnily enough…in my opinion, it’s what makes Gretzky’s accomplishments back in the day all the more impressive. When Crosby or McDavid win a scoring title it’s not by much over the next few guys. At a time when it was easier to score, all those great players back then…who were facing the same “bad goalies” as 99 was…were like 50 points behind him…lol.

      • Cageyvet

        They killed it in the actual prospects games. These are mixed squads and players who aren’t familiar with each other. The results are meaningless but it is fair to watch their individual abilities and decision making, and not all of them are shining, it’s true. There’s enough there to like, and no surprise at all that some of them still need some time at the AHL level. If every great player realized his potential immediately there would be a lot fewer trades and less GM’s getting fired. This stuff isn’t that simple.

        • liqueur des fenetres

          But these mixed squads contain the better prospects plus a selection of established players, and for the most part their opponents iced fewer high profile / salary vets — you’d still expect the Canucks to do better. Maybe quality of coaching accounted for the superior performance of Calgary and Edmonton or the shortcomings of Vancouver.

          • Defenceman Factory

            Quality of coaching? It’s the preseason. It’s about putting players and player combinations into situations to evaluate how they do. It’s not about coaching to win these games. The rest of the Kings played at the same time and lost 7-2.

  • Rodeobill

    I thought this is the first time I saw Brisboise look like he belonged, also Archie made himself a good case this game too, I hope he doesn’t get picked up on waivers. MDZ had on of his best games I’ve seen him play, and aside from one gaffe, Guddy looks ready to play this year. They probably wont win most games this year, but they played hard and I hope that is what I see from them this year.