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Vancouver Canucks vs Edmonton Oilers Post Game Recap: The Opposite Of Bouncing Back

The Rundown

I came into this game hoping the Canucks would be able to create some sort of offense or keep pucks out of their own net after getting walloped in Salt Lake City yesterday. So, the Canucks flew to Edmonton for their game tonight and ultimately got blasted. The lineup for the Canucks is down below.

 

1st Period

Another game in which both teams felt their way through for the first 5 minutes, but then Erik Gudbranson, attempts a poor pinch leading to an Oilers 2 on 1. The Oilers wouldn’t be able to capitalize on their first opportunity, but a few minutes later and on the Gudbranson pair’s next shift. Ryan Nugent Hopkins draws in Michael Del Zotto before firing a pass to Ty Rattie, who quickly snaps a shot far side on Anders Nilsson who’s sitting deep in his net and can’t get his body in the way for a 1st period Oilers lead.

The Canucks would be given a power-play 3 minutes later, as the Oilers would take a too many men penalty and put the Canucks on the man advantage. However, right as the penalty expires Jesse Puljujarvi comes in on a breakaway and is stoned by Nilsson, but why the Canucks blue line can’t see him breaking from the box is ultimately foreshadowing the rest of the hockey game.

 

There’d be a couple of moments to bring a smile to a Canucks fan face as the 1st period wound down to a close. Gudbranson crushed Alex Chiasson behind the Vancouver goal, and Markus Granlund and Jake Virtanen almost scored on a pretty give and go play. That would be all for the first period, with Edmonton carrying their 1-0 lead into the first intermission.

 

2nd Period

The 2nd period quickly got off on the wrong foot for the boys in white, as they’d be forced to kill off an early penalty. They were successful, but right as the penalty expires Kailer Yamamoto is left alone in the slot as the puck bounced to him, and he rips a shot that Nilsson stops with the glove to keep it a 1 goal game.

 

The Canucks would have to gut their way through most of the period until around the 12-minute mark where they were finally able to get back on the power-play. With Pettersson having been on the ice the shift prior, it’d be the 2nd unit that would start off the man advantage, and a good showing from Leipsic and Goldobin leads to a couple of chances, but no answer for Cam Talbot. 

 

Jake Virtanen would later take a lazy slashing penalty nearing the end of the 2nd, and the Canucks penalty killers couldn’t bail him out. Ty Rattie would squeak a shot through Anders Nilsson for his 2nd of the game to give the Oilers a 2-0 lead. A lead they would hold onto heading into the 3rd period.

 

3rd Period

The 3rd period would start just as poorly as the other 2 periods had gone for the Canucks. Tobias Rieder barrelled down the middle of the ice forcing Chris Tanev to haul him down and put the Oilers back on the man advantage. On the man advantage, a play off the rush runs through Connor McDavid, who feeds Puljujarvi, who proceeds to deposit the puck off the crossbar and in for a sick snipe and a 3-0 lead for Edmonton.

 

A few minutes later, it’s Jesse Puljujarvi again shooting the puck past Anders Nilsson for his 2nd of the game, and a 4-0 lead…

 

The Canucks best chance of the night would follow right after, with Bo Horvat getting set up by Sven Baertschi for a breakaway, but Horvat is stopped on both his chances. Not even a minute later, Oscar Klefbom gets the puck up to Rattie who has a 2 on 1 opportunity with McDavid. A few passes later, it’s Rattie depositing the puck past Nilsson for the hat-trick, and the Oilers 5th goal of the game.

 

Finally, with under a minute to go in the hockey game. Milan Lucic picks up the puck after a bad Canucks line change, and shoots it on Anders Nilsson. Nilsson makes the first save, but Klefbom is there to put home the rebound to give the Oilers their 6th goal, and that would be the final score of the hockey game. The link is down below.

Klefbom making it 6-0 Oilers

 

Advanced Stats

Both photos courtesy of naturalstattrick.com

 

Wrap Up

This game was one to forget, even for a preseason game. Coming into tonight, the Canucks had been outscored 20-9 (excluding the shootout), and this game was an exclamation point. I want to remain optimistic and give fans something to cheer about, but there’s not much to cheer about right now. Gudbranson and Del Zotto together were horrific to watch, and Nilsson gave up a couple of goals that make you shake your head. Eriksson negated the offensive creativity provided by Baertschi and Horvat, and Boeser still hasn’t been able to find the back of the net, even with Pettersson on his line. Now, the Oilers showed up to play tonight, but for Canucks fans there’s little room for optimism. No skater performed incredibly well tonight, but Pettersson, Horvat, and Goldobin were the bright spots for me.

 

Camp Battles

Top 6 winger spots: Sven Baertschi, Nikolay Goldobin, Sam Gagner, Brendan Leipsic, Loui Eriksson

 

If tonight is any indication, Sven Baertschi is proving he belongs to stay with Bo Horvat on the top line, and Nikolay Goldobin is the only winger I feel can play up to the level of Elias Pettersson. It’s been a recurring thought throughout the preseason, and nothing tonight changed my mind. Leipsic has been good, no doubt but I feel like he’s just a little behind Goldobin in the race for a spot on the top 6. Now, if the Canucks were gonna go truly young, I’d have no problem putting Goldobin on the right side of Pettersson, with Leipsic on the left, but that doesn’t look to be an option and I see Leipsic in the press box to begin the year. Eriksson has looked like nothing has changed from his last 2 seasons in Vancouver. Tough for me to expect any significant increase in production from him unless he figures out how to be an important part of the 2nd power-play unit.

 

Bottom 2 Left Defensemen: Ben Hutton, Michael Del Zotto, Derrick Pouliot

 

With it appearing likely Olli Juolevi is sent down at the conclusion of the preseason, we’re down to 3 defensemen for the final 2 spots on the left side. Ben Hutton, albeit with a couple of gaffes in this game, looked FAR better than Michael Del Zotto tonight. Hutton appears to have more confidence in his skating, and made better passes on the power-play with Edler sitting out. Del Zotto looks lost in the defensive zone, and probably only has a spot if Pouliot looks even worse. As it so happens, Pouliot actually looks worse. Look for Hutton and Del Zotto in the opening night lineup for the Canucks.

 

Backup Goalie: Anders Nilsson, Thatcher Demko

 

This battle appears locked up for Nilsson, even if he doesn’t deserve it. Beaten a couple times tonight by playing too far back in his net, and giving up a few goals he’d like to have back. Nilsson just hasn’t been good. However, his contract, along with the fact it doesn’t look like Demko has ironed out everything new goaltender coach Ian Clark has given him, leads me to believe it’ll be Demko being sent down and Nilsson holding down the backup job for the foreseeable future. Hopefully, Nilsson starts performing like he did at this year’s IIHF World Championships, or Markstrom is going to need to play 70 games if this team wants to pretend like they’re going for the playoffs.

 

Thanks again for the read. Hopefully, next time I get to do one of these post game recaps I can give all of you something more positive to read over.

 

  • arjay

    People are starting to notice that Boeser cannot make his full turns and has zero goals in pre-season etc…..

    While a back injury can be “healed” it may still be limiting and “flare-ups” (like spasms) can occur frequently.

    It is noticeable that he may still not be 100% with his back….AND, he has bulked up to the point that Bo Horvat called him “Brock Lesner” recently.

    Combining the possible still troublesome lower back injury (which limits pivoting and stop and go skating to a degree) plus the added weight and bulk….it appears Brock is headed for a much slower start to the season.

    Hope not, but he doesn’t look like the same skater or shooter this season so far.

  • Hockey Bunker

    when you have a bad team the one way to make it more successful out of the gate is to pick lines day one of camp, get them working as a unit and hope to surprise a few people for a month until reality catches up. Canucks had so many questions they couldn’t do it. And anyway it doesn’t turn you into a playoff team. So it could be an ugly start. What am I staying…..it WILL be an ugly start. Having said that Pettersson is really good, but good enough to save Benning’s job?
    As for Brock Boeser, he did little instinctive things last year like subtle shifts to change a shooting angle.
    He didn’t need much open ice. He’ll get it going.

  • TheRealPB

    Wow. It is depressing to be thinking about Jack Hughes this early…

    I have a lot of respect for Benning for building what looks to be one of the best prospect pools I’ve ever seen the Canucks had. But his inability to assess pro talent is truly remarkable. Gudbranson is not good. But I at least recognize there is a market for him and for Sutter and there was one for Eriksson when Benning signed him. How do you possibly pay Gagner 3.15 or Del Zotto 3? These are players who could be replaced with ease by an AHL player. We aren’t one of the higher salary teams in the league and yet we are still spending $23.5 million on a defense that has looked like absolute garbage. The young players at least have looked hungry. The lack of effort, finish and a modicum of talent apparent on the veterans is truly shocking. No matter the prospects, I cannot see Benning lasting if this season goes as poorly as the preseason suggests it will. Someone else will reap the benefits of that young talent; hopefully they will have a much better eye for pro talent.

    • Dirk22

      Hey PB – long time.

      Can you explain to me where Benning has gone above and beyond with putting together one of the “best prospect pools I’ve ever seen the Canucks have” because for every ‘hit’ (Boeser, Pettersson) I see some big ‘whiffs’ (Juolevi, Virtanen) on some tap-in selections. I loved the Hughes pick but certainly not giving any credit for making that selection when anyone with a connection to the internet could.

      • I tried pasting a bunch of links but CA won’t accept the comment. But if you google terms like “NHL prospect pools 2018”, you’ll find independent sources like TSN, Pronman, Button, Dobbers, and other major sites putting Canucks in the Top 5 prospect pools. In individual prospect rankings, Pettersson is usually the top player with guys like Hughes, Demko, Juolevi, Dahlen, and Gaudette also listed.

        • Dirk22

          Again I’m not disputing they have a great prospect pool but a squirrel could have assembled that with the picks they’ve had. As I’ve said numerous times, no one is giving praise to the Buffalo GM’s for their selections since 2014 because it’s obviously a reflection of their draft position.

          Only Edmonton, Carolina and Buffalo have had a higher averaged first round selection than the Canucks since 2014.

          • I have to vehemently disagree. Benning has demonstrated an ability to find talent at a higher rate than other GM’s. Picking Boeser at #23, Pettersson over Glass, and finding Gaudette in the 5th round are perfect examples. What kind of squirrel would have made those predictions?

            Moreover, Benning hasn’t failed with any of his 1st round picks. Virtanen has been a disappointment for sure but Dal Colle is a bust and he was ahead of him. Juolevi hasn’t played a game yet but that doesn’t mean that he won’t, it’s too early to declare him a bust. So what if MacAvoy, Chychrun and Sergechev are regulars? So that means Bean, Fabbro, and Stanley are busts too?

            Maybe Buffalo isn’t getting praise for their drafting because it’s not that good to start. Outside of Eichel and Dahlin, there isn’t much to showcase their scouting prowess. Reinhart is underperforming given his draft position and Mittelstadt (like Hughes) fell to them. Nylander hasn’t proven himself and there are question marks (as both Nylanders are softer than jello).

            Although Benning traded away some players, when you look at who he drafted (especially in the later rounds), he’s far more successful than more GM’s going back to 1998. I know, I ran pivot tables on Eliteprospects draft results to prove it this summer.

          • Challister Court Canuck

            This is a joke post right? Benning has missed big time with multiple first rounders. Virtanen, McCann and Juolevi were terrible choices over Larkin, Sergachev, Tkachuk, McAvoy, Ehlers and Nylander for starters. All of these players are making an instant impact in the NHL and have all made the playoffs already.

            As for Buffalo, I would take Ristolainen, Eichel, Middlestadt and Reinhart, who has scored 23 and 25 goals in two of his first three seasons, over any comparible Canucks first rounders! I like Petterssen, but i like Middlestadt more.

            Bottom line is Benning is not a great drafter and i believe Buffalo will leap above vancouver this season, which will ultimately show who is the better team with the better drafting.

      • liqueur des fenetres

        It’s an example of “damning with faint praise,” as the better part of the prospect pool was in tough against the prospect laden lineups in the opening 3 games of the preseason. ESPN recently ranked each team by strength of D, and 4 of the top 10 are in Vancouver’s division, that’s quite an obstacle that will need to be overcome for the team to make a visit to the post season.

      • TheRealPB

        Dirk22, I don’t think I said that he’s been the best drafter of first rounders, it’s that he’s put together one of the best prospect pools that I’ve seen in the years I’ve been watching the Canucks. I’m not really sure how that’s debatable – now this may be because the Canucks have such a terrible track record of drafting overall – but the overall body of work of Benning in THIS area is absolutely solid. Yeah there are misses — and in the cases of a Virtanen and potentially Juolevi, significant misses (and also in the later rounds). But in looking at what the young talent on the Canucks looks like, it is far more promising than at almost any time that I’ve been watching them. Just because you have high draft picks it doesn’t guarantee anything, and we don’t just have to look at the Oilers (who didn’t just screw up all those first overall picks but all the other high selections in other rounds too) but at the Canucks draft history. On a different thread about bad Canucks trades in history the Neely deal was brought up and it’s true it was terrible but it was compounded by the fact that we spent the next few years drafting Sandlak, Daigneault, Woodley, Murphy, etc with our top picks. The WCE era and arguably even the Sedin era was built as much on trades as they were on drafts since we missed SO many selections. For years we’ve had as our top prospects the Yann Sauves and Brendan Gaunces; to have a real crop of potential players — not just Hughes and EP but Gaudette, Demko, DiPietro, Lind, Gadjovich, Palmu, Woo, etc — this is a really different situation than I’ve normally seen for the Canucks. He’s even added solid young players like Stetcher, MacEwan and Chatfield through free agency too. Maybe I’m just comparing it to how crappy our prospect pools have been in the past but this is qualitatively different and better. If it was so easy to create a great prospect pool others would have done it just based on their poor results. That isn’t always the case.

        • Dirk22

          Creating a great prospect pool based on poor results is inevitable. Even the lowly Oil had a great prospect pool with all their high picks. It was all their other management woes that have sustained their place at the bottom – this is exactly my point. I’m not saying the prospects aren’t good – I’m saying any GM could have built a pool just as strong. Without the other acumen though this pool will be a waste.

          • TheRealPB

            Again I have to disagree. To start with I wasn’t comparing our current prospect pool with other prospect pools; I don’t know how you can argue with the proposition that this is the best prospect pool WE have had. The only comparable one I can think of is when we had the Sedins in the NHL and Kesler, Schneider, Burrows and Bieksa in the minors and even there it wasn’t necessarily a lot of blue chip players beyond the Sedins; arguably Bieksa and Kesler became much better in the NHL than as prospects. And beyond them there wasn’t much; almost all of the rest of the ‘core’ of that powerhouse team was acquired through trades or free agency. I think you overstate how easy it is to create a good prospect pool on the basis of a high draft position. Yes the Oilers were a disaster in every way but them missing on so many other picks beyond #1 overall shows this.

          • Dirk22

            The prospect pool is great because of Pettersson and Hughes. Not to say there won’t be other NHL’ers to come out of it but those are the guys that distinguish it as one of the best in the league. They are a direct result of being bad.

            Prospects such as Demko, Lind, Gaudette are good but you can find those types on every single NHL team’s prospect list.

        • TheRealPB

          Again, Dirk22, I am not saying that the Canucks have the best prospect pool in the league — though others certainly rate it high. My original statement (which I stand by) was that the Canucks have the best prospect pool I have seen THEM have. If you put Lind, Demko and Gaudette on almost any other group of Canucks young players in the past, they’d probably top it (outside of the Sedins, Linden and Bure). It is not a small accomplishment to go from having Gaunce and Sauve as your top prospects to the ones we have now. As I’ve said before there is a lot to be disappointed with about Benning, but building a prospect pool and farm system isn’t one of them.

    • LTFan

      The Real PB – Rating Benning’s selections and trades. Without a doubt Louie Eriksson has been the worst by far. Solidly in 2nd place is Gudbranson..Eriksson I put on Benning as he was in Boston when Eriksson came in the Seguin trade. I would suspect it was the pro scouts who were involved in the Gudbranson deal. Probably Gagner and Del Zotto as well. Pouliet I put on Green as Pouliet played for Green in Portland. On the plus side Granlund for Shinkaruk and Baertschi for a 2nd round pick has turned out well for the Canucks. I agree the team has to play better once they play for real on October 3rd. In particular the goalies cannot let in those “softies” which all of them have done in pre-season. One pre-season game to go, hopefully better than what we have seen so far.

  • Kevlar73

    I think this season is setting up like the pros predicted. We will have another bottom 5 finish which hopefully will net us a top four right side defencemen which is sorely needed. Juolevi Dahlen and Gaudette will get a solid year of development in Utica with the other 5-6 possible future core players. This year should allow Leipsic Goldobin and other tweeners to establish whether they are part of the future or not. Finally we will all hopefully be surprised by Benning moving 2-3 vets for picks before the TDL. Can’t wait to watch some nice highlight power play goals this year and not much else

  • East van canuck

    this is like rearranging deckchairs on the titanic, the future really isnt that bright dudes. see the marlies or wilkes baby pens for how to really build great prospects from the minors.