Vancouver Canucks vs Calgary Flames Post Game Recap: Snap Back To Reality

The Rundown

After a truly magical opening night, many in the Vancouver Canucks’ fanbase were prepared for a bit of a comedown in Game 2. In fact, by the time Saturday rolled around, the optimism from earlier in the week seemed to have turned to outright dread—and not just due to the possibility of a difficult loss.


It didn’t take any scouting reports or advanced analytics to understand what the Calgary Flames were going for when they made the following roster move:

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Many fans had flashbacks to an infamous game between the two franchises in 2014, and the worries ranged from Erik Gudbranson having to “answer” for breaking Travis Hamonic’s face to super-rookie Elias Pettersson getting caught up in the retribution game. Of course, there were a few other, less-realistic concerns afloat, too.


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Fortunately for the faint of heart, the Flames ultimately decided not to dress Peluso, allowing him to provide intimidation from the pressbox instead. Dalton Prout, a heavyweight fighter in his own right, drew into the lineup to replace Hamonic, but the rosters remained otherwise unchanged—as revealed by Jeff Paterson on Twitter.


In any case, the table seemed to be set for the kind of high-intensity, old-time hockey that isn’t usually seen this early in the season. Heading into the Thanksgiving weekend, most Canuck fans would probably consider themselves thankful if the team just walked away from this one with all their young stars intact.


Having the guy that killed half the Marvel Cinematic Universe singing the national anthem didn’t lighten the mood any.

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1st Period

As it turns out, Vancouverites were right to fear the start of this game, but not because of the fisticuffs.


Elias Lindholm scored his first as a Flame with a nice tip-in just 12 seconds into the period. Brandon Sutter lost a defensive zone faceoff cleanly, and from there all it took was some crisp D-to-D passing and an unchallenged netfront presence for Calgary to open up the scoring.

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A handful of seconds later, Brock Boeser just missed getting away on a breakaway—an opportunity that would have allowed him to turn around the momentum AND bump his miniature slump in one fell swoop. Beyond this near-break, the vast majority of the action in the opening minutes took place in the Canucks end, with the defense looking slightly overwhelmed by the Flames’ energy level.


Despite some light line-juggling by coach Travis Green, the Canucks were unable to tilt the ice in the other direction, and they generated just two shots in the game’s first ten minutes, with shot attempts at 16-3 for Calgary.


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The normally effervescent Petterssons did not look impressed.


Vancouver’s first sustained pressure of the game came from the Motte-Sutter-Virtanen line with about seven minutes remaining in the first. The hardworking unit maintained pressure and generated chances through their entire shift and the subsequent line change, allowing the Elias Pettersson line to take the ice.


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Pettersson, Nikolay Goldobin, and Loui Eriksson all made it onto the ice without the puck leaving the Flames’ zone, and the ongoing pressure quickly resulted in multiple chances for Goldobin. The puck ended up in the corner, and after some terrific passing behind the net from Eriksson and Goldobin, Pettersson finished things off with a snipe from the slot. The Canucks were finally on the board with just their third shot of the game.


Pettersson became the sixth Canuck in team history to score in each of his first two NHL games, and the first since 1980.


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For the record, Dalton Prout was on the ice for the entire sequence.


Of course, this lifted the mood of two particular fans inside the Saddledome.


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Goldobin took a high-sticking penalty with just under five minutes remaining in the period, but that turned out to all be a part of the Canucks’ secret plan. After some clutch saves by Jacob Markstrom and a couple nice blocks by Chris Tanev, Sutter and Tyler Motte sprung themselves on a shorthanded two-on-one. Sutter kept it all the way and buried it on the blocker side, giving Vancouver the 2-1 lead on their fourth shot of the game. No assist was awarded.


Unfortunately, the flaws in the “take a penalty and score shorthanded” gameplan became apparent less than a minute later, with Mark Giordano coming way down from the point and wristing a fairly soft one past Markstrom.


This time around, Tanev’s propensity for blocking shots hurt more than it helped, with the puck ticking off his body before sneaking by Markstrom.


The remainder of the period was uneventful, with the only highlight being Jake Virtanen laying yet another solid hit on Dillon Dube behind the Canucks net and one more shot on net by Tanev.


Intermission Highlight

Brian Burke actually wearing a tie properly for once and speaking intelligently about the hot button issue of domestic abuse, to boot. What is this?!


2nd Period

On their first shift of the period, the Pettersson line got right back to work. After they entered the zone via a creative flip pass by Goldobin, the line put the Canucks on their first powerplay of the game when the notorious Dalton Prout needlessly interfered with Pettersson away from the play.


Elias stayed on the ice, joined by the rest of the first powerplay unit, and scored the third goal of his young NHL career a matter of moments later. Brock Boeser carried the puck into the zone, and after an attempted shot Bo Horvat got it back to Alex Edler, who sent a crisp pass across to Pettersson. Without missing a beat, Pettersson roofed the one-timer over Mike Smith—marking the first powerplay goal in both his career and the Canucks’ season.


On his next shift, Pettersson almost made it a hattrick after blocking a shot, controlling the puck, and walking it down the ice for an open chance on Mike Smith, but his opportunity for even greater glory was stymied for the time being.


To be entirely fair to Prout, he did make his first impact of the game at the 14:30 mark, landing a crushing hit on Motte in the neutral zone. The ever-energetic Motte, of course, got right back on his feet.


Virtanen was the next to sit in the box after a call for interference on what looked like a solid—if slightly late—hit on Johnny Gaudreau. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the only aid the Flames would be receiving from the refs on this sequence.


After some early chances by the Calgary powerplay, Markus Granlund cleared the puck, only to have it hit the official on its way down the ice. The Flames returned it to the Canucks’ end and Matthew Tkachuk buried a rebound as Derek Ryan jammed Markstrom’s pad into the back of the net. The Vancouver coaching staff, however, used their Coach’s Challenge successfully, overturning the goal due to goaltender interference and offering the officials an opportunity for redemption in the eyes of Canuck fans.


A minute later, at the 9:31 mark of the period, it would all be for naught as Gaudreau buried a Sean Monahan rebound to officially tie up the game on an undisputable play where Markstrom had absolutely no chance to make a second save.


A key defensive play came moments later, with Troy Stecher making moves on an odd-man rush to prevent a total shift in momentum in the Flames’ favour.


The teams exchanged some more ineffective rush opportunities as the game began to open up in the second half of the period, but no real scoring chances occurred until Tkachuk set up Mikael Backlund with a cross-ice pass, but Markstrom shut the door.


Stecher continued to make a positive impact, drawing a tripping penalty on Giordano by keeping his feet moving behind the Canucks’ net. Vancouver embarked on their second powerplay of the game with 4:40 remaining in the second period. The man advantage was turned into a lengthy 5-on-3 thanks to the niftiest display of stickhandling from Pettersson yet, which resulted in both a scoring opportunity and a tripping penalty to Michael Stone.


Never one to leave a job half-finished, Pettersson picked up an Edler pass in the corner and wired a perfect play to Horvat on top of the crease, who buried the Canucks’ second powerplay goal of the game—with more than a minute-and-a-half remaining on Stone’s penalty. It was Pettersson’s fifth NHL point in just five NHL periods, vaulting him into a tie for the league’s scoring lead.



With just over a minute remaining in the period, the Flames failed to convert on yet another odd-man rush, but they managed to take the Canucks’ best player off the ice in the process with Pettersson picking up his first career penalty for tripping Noah Hanifin. Markstrom had to absorb a couple of shots and a couple of slashes from Tkachuk, leading to Markstrom retaliating with a chop of his own. Sutter got in there right away and horse-collared Tkachuk to the ice, but the frequently unpopular Tkachuk was the only player penalized, resulting in some four-on-four hockey to end the period.


As the second intermission began, the shots stood at 26-12 in favour of Calgary, which means the Canucks had converted at a rather impressive—if unsustainable—rate of 33%.


Intermission Highlight

Bo Horvat sounded extremely captain-esque in his interview and talking about “proving people wrong” this season.


Intermission Lowlight

The Sportsnet talking heads attempting to ignite the “Elias Pettersson’s icetime” controversy.


3rd Period

The Canucks started off the third period by killing off the remaining four-on-four time to gain a 40 second powerplay, but failed to generate a shot. Shortly after Tkachuk exited the penalty box, Gudbranson had a brief interaction with Prout in the corner of the Flames’ end on a rare offensive foray, but nothing came of the encounter.


Vancouver found themselves shorthanded once again when Sven Baertschi took a holding penalty on Giordano, and the penalty killing unit set out to maintain the one-goal lead. This time, they were up to the task, and the Flames failed to register a single shot or scoring chance on the vital opportunity. To make matters worse for Calgary, Michael Frolik followed up the flubbed powerplay with a lazy tripping penalty on Goldobin, giving the Canucks’ top unit another chance to gain a little breathing room.


Pettersson’s stickhandling wizardry was on full display before he set up Boeser for a wrister—the Canucks’ first shot in over ten minutes—and next he had to make a couple nice defensive plays on the backcheck to prevent a shorthanded goal against. Unfortunately, Boeser took a slashing penalty on the same odd-man rush, bringing the teams back to four-on-four hockey.


Once Frolik left the box, the Flames made the most of their shortened man advantage, with Gaudreau carrying the puck up the ice and then setting up Monahan for an easy goal with a picture-perfect cross-ice pass from the corner. Tie game.


Green wisely responded with the Pettersson line, and the unit once again generated some genuine chances, including a Goldobin wrister from the slot that Smith snagged with a showy glove save. It’s probably fair to note that, for the time being, Goldobin-Pettersson-Eriksson have taken over as the Canucks’ top line—despite what the icetime totals might say.


After another commercial break, the Flames’ offered some pushback of their own in the form of Matthew Tkachuk’s netfront presence, but Markstrom made another quality stop through the traffic. After that, the game settled down for a couple of lackluster minutes, setting the stage for an exciting finish.


With 6:15 remaining on the clock, Goldobin took a lazy slashing penalty against Tkachuk in the neutral zone, presumably earning himself a serious talking-to from coach Green in the process. Goldobin’s chances of a benching increased significantly when Lindholm converted on a tic-tac-toe from Gaudreau and Tkachuk to put the Flames ahead 5-4 with just over five minutes left. Edler tried, and failed, to make a valiant kick save on the play.


Desperate for an equalizer, Boeser rang a hard backhander off the iron on the next shift, and Stecher almost banged in the rebound, but the puck stayed out of the net as the broadcast went for its final commercial break of the third period.


The next few minutes of the game featured some scrambly play and chances for both teams—including a shifty attempt by Brendan Leipsic—but it ultimately culminated with an Austin Czarnik empty-netter with 1:38 left on the clock.


The Canucks would finish the game on the powerplay after Hanifin crosschecked Baertschi from behind into the boards, but their attempts to get Pettersson his first career hattrick ended when Boeser gave the puck away at the blueline and Frolik notched a shorthanded empty net goal to finalize the score at 7-4.


Advanced Stats


Gameflow from Canucks vs. Flames October 6, 2018 (Courtesy of naturalstattrick.com)


Heatmap from Canucks vs. Flames October 6, 2018 (Courtesy of naturalstattrick.com)


Wrap Up

In the end, the Canucks lost, and they lost big. But this certainly wasn’t the depressing comedown that some fans were fearing. For one, there wasn’t even a hint of retribution from the Flames toward Gudbranson or any of the Canucks, and the game was relatively non-physical throughout its entirety.


As well, the kids are definitely still alright. Pettersson continued his all-out assault on the NHL scoring ranks, Horvat had a goal and an assist, and Goldobin made some brilliant moves (and a few braindead ones). The Canucks’ offense looked dangerous all night long while the defense remained “adventurous”—pretty much what the fanbase was expecting coming into the season.


In effect, this game was of the sort that most Canuck fans are entirely comfortable with enduring throughout the 2018/19 season. High-scoring losses help to juice the stats and foster the offensive development of young stars like Pettersson and Goldobin, and they also help the franchise move ever closer to a top ticket in the upcoming Jack Hughes lottery. A 7-4 loss shouldn’t be considered a disappointment at all—in fact, it’s difficult not to look at it as a relatively positive result.


Brock Boeser’s season thus far, summed up in a single image:



Top Performers

Elias Pettersson- Who else? After some early complaints about his icetime, Pettersson ended up tied for fourth-most among forwards, and notched two goals and one assist while he was out there. Pettersson did end up a minus-one, but don’t let that fool you—he continued to demonstrate some strong play away from the puck and has firmly established himself as the team’s best all-around player just two games into the season. He also went 60% on faceoffs, leading all Canuck centers.


Bo Horvat- Horvat is currently carrying the top line on his back, with Boeser and Baertschi off to relatively lackluster starts. Horvat put up a goal and an assist in this game, but he also generated chances with a few of his patented drives to the net. Horvat led the forwards in icetime with 20 minutes and 42 seconds, almost five minutes of which came on the powerplay. Other than Pettersson, Horvat was the only Canuck center to win the majority of his faceoffs.


Next Game

The Canucks continue a sizeable early season road trip with a game against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday, October 9, with a start-time of 4:00PM PST.

  • Kanuckhotep

    Every season like clockwork the zebras come out of the gate calling penalties on everyone and their grandmothers as instructed by the league. As the year goes on this happens less until the whistle goes right in their pocket come play off time. Maybe the Canucks took some bad penalties tonight but 15 to 3 PPs in 2 games? Who wants to pay $100 to watch some A#@hole blow a whistle?

    • TheRealRusty

      Is it any wonder that this league is a joke? What other major sports league changes how they enforce the rules over the course of a season compared to Bettman’s crappy league? The NFL starts calling roughing QB or receiver less during the post season? MLB allowing strike zones to expand? PGA allowing balls to be moved without penalty? #NHLisabushleague

      • truthseeker

        Where the NHL is really a joke is in player safety…(ie headshots). The PA is as much to blame as well. People will thumb me down for this but I don’t care….on the ice, NHL players are just about the most classless athletes of any of the major sports. Even soccer…as bad as it is…is mostly about acting and not about trying to hurt guys. Hockey players have virtually no respect for each other on the ice. It’s reflected in all the nonsense that slows the game down between whistles. One of the meatheads has to poke one of the other meatheads and then the response and then the scrum…wasting everyone’s time. All of them too stupid to be “intimidated” by any of the others.

        When’s the last time you ever saw a hockey player help an opponent up off the ice? Or do anything like that? Players are taught from a young age to hate their opponents. They’re the enemy. When they get to the NHL and join the PA, none of them fight for stiff fines and suspensions. And of course the NHL doesn’t care because they like the blood sport aspect, so they don’t really push for change. All of them to blame.

        Every hit now is responded to by some other meathead on the team because they were offended that their teammate got hit in the first place. Clean or not.

        Then morons like Brian Burke go on TV and talk about how Calgary should have dressed their tough guy and more morons talk about how Guddy should have to answer again for the hit, or how if “the canucks hit our young guy, then we should hit EP”…..type nonsense.

        And even when they hand out a decent suspension, like the one on Wilson, they STILL don’t get it right. A 10 to 20 game suspension should be for the 1st offense like that. This guy’s been suspended 4 times! And only now is getting 20 games? Ridiculous. If players and the NHL were really serious about player safety a guy like that would be gone for the season if he was a 4 time repeat offender.

        The “code” is BS. It’s never worked. Ever. Just go ask Cam Neely’s knees. Cheap shot artists have always been in the league. The 70’s and 80’s enforcers did nothing to “police” the game.

        Only taking their money will work. Look how much better Torres behaved when the very real threat that he might lose his career, stared him in the face. You watch this Wilson guy when he comes back…..bet he smartens that sh….up real quick.

        You’re very right that in so many ways the NHL really is bush league. Player safety, and PED’s being the two huge ones. 40 years behind all the other sports.

        • Beer Can Boyd

          Agreed. Fighting? Ejection and suspension. Knee on knee? Ejection and suspension. Head shot? Ejection and suspension. Watching the Worlds a few years ago from Sweden, played on the big ice and with none of the BS stuff was incredible. Ridiculously fast, free flowing, end to end creative play, hockey at its absolute finest.

          • truthseeker

            Yep. And it’s still possible to have a good physical game. Hockey is dangerous enough as it is. Hamonic’s jaw was totally unnecessary. Guddy’s hit was punished with the penalty and in an ideal NHL for a late hit not targeting the head like that there would be a mandatory 5 game minimum suspension. Let him lose some money and think about paying attention to his timing better.

            Then maybe someone like Hamonic wouldn’t have felt the need to do something he probably knew he wasn’t suited for. What did fighting get? Another player with another concussion. Yay. Way to go. “the code” really worked well there. We can all be happy that Hamonic “stuck up for his teammate”. Whoopty doo….

          • Fortitude00

            And what are the TV ratings for that hockey? How many people looking for streams to watch their favorite team play? The US funds hockey and saved the NHL and that is how Bettman sees it. He doesn’t care about your opinion he cares about making money. In order for the league to make money they have to sell it to Americans who don’t generally give a crap about hockey. So if Americans aren’t trying to watch those international games regularly or stream those games the league will not change. Owners have zero interest in expanding the ice and taking away their seats near the ice.

          • truthseeker

            The TV ratings for the NHL in America suck. Nobody cares about hockey outside of Canada. Sure a handful of Americans in the cities with teams care. But that handful doesn’t even represent a decent size of their own city’s population. Outside of that the rest of America thinks about hockey about as much as the average Canadian thinks about Cricket. Sweds and Finns like hockey, but they probably like soccer just as much. Plus there are barely any people there. Russians like hockey….but it’s not that important to them.

            So if it’s never been popular anywhere, and US expansion barely moved the needle, then obviously there is something about the NHL game that people aren’t interested in. Which lead the typical hockey fan (especially canadian) to say “well f….them…we don’t need those fans. hockey is fine the way it is”…..but in the next breath they’re slagging the NBA or NFL out of an inferiority complex. “Hockey’s the hardest sport”. “Stanley cup! toughest trophy to win!” “NBA players are wimps!” and on and on….showing they really do care that the NHL isn’t more popular.

            So the NHL doing nothing about aspects of the game itself, isn’t seeming to make much of a difference in popularity, maybe they should try cleaning it up a bit. What’s there to lose? Some moronic “traditional” hockey fans who don’t care that guys are becoming vegetables by their 50’s or killing themselves because they want to see fighting? Good riddance.

        • DogBreath

          Unfortunately, the code does (mostly) work. Admittedly, I do get drawn in during a fight, but know that its wrong. It has to be removed from the game. We know too much about the impacts of headshots and how these players leave the NHL, too often never to be heard from again, often left to their own to fight through depression.

          The solution requires radical thinking. Maybe the player doesn’t leave the box once a team gets scored on on a PP. Maybe penalties are extended to 3 minutes, er something like that.

          The game needs to evolve so that superstars can play without serious abuse. If this is solved, retribution won’t need to come from the players because it will be solved by the rules of the game.

          • truthseeker

            No…it really doesn’t. It’s never stopped a cheap shot artist from doing what they do. Not once. Ever. You think that garbage Tkachuk cares that Gudbranson is on the ice? Not in the least.

            Hey, I’m with you though….I can’t say I’m not entertained by a fight. I was stupidly hoping that Guddy would win that fight. Until he landed that one clean. Right away I knew it was concussion for sure.

            That’s exactly my point. The only way the players will ever feel like they are “getting justice” is if there is REAL punishment for cheap shots. But the players never demand it. The players are very selfish in the NHL and the highest profile ones don’t want to risk any of their salaries so the status quo is fine for them. So long as it’s “the other guy” getting hurt, they don’t really care.

          • TheRealRusty

            Easy solution. Just follow what the IIHL does when it comes to suspensions. Rubbish headshots, late hits and fights have gone the way of the dinosaur. Still lots of physical hockey with little to non of the cheap stuff. But then you will xenophobic idiots like Cherry crying foul.

    • truthseeker

      Well…if they wouldn’t stop doing it then eventually the players will get the message and stop doing stupid little hooks and grabs. It’s not the refs, it’s the players. Who wants to pay 100 dollars to watch your superstar (or any other player for that matter) get slowed down, spun around, or hauled down every single time they have a step on someone? Clutch, grab and hook is one of the worst things about hockey. Makes the game totally boring in my opinion. No better than trapping dead puck era stuff.

      • Defenceman Factory

        While I agree the league is right to get the clutch and grab out of the game and the Canucks took some undisciplined penalties I don’t agree with some of the calls over these two games.

        There have been 2 or 3 slashing or hooking calls for some stick on stick check attempts that should not and never have been penalties. I also didn’t like the interference call on Virtanen. That call was more about Johnny being a feather weight than the lateness of the hit. Very lop sided penalty calling with lots of opportunities to call soft penalties on the flames let go. No one watches hockey to see the refs perform or influence results.

        Despite concerns about the officiating the Flames deserved the win. They buried their chances and worked hard all game.

        • North Van Halen

          That hit MAY have been a touch late but there is no way thats a penalty in the playoffs. No way. Those kind of hits are commonplace in the playoffs. I guess they don’t want guys trying hard and finishing their checks this early.

      • Whatthe...

        No problem with calling them all but at least call it consistently so players know what constitutes a penalty. Tkachuk flops at a key point in the game and gets a call (at center ice!), yet moments earlier Bo doesn’t flop and is clearly grabbed twice and doesn’t get a call (on his way to the net! i.e. a scoring chance).

      • Fred-65

        Seems like there’s a league edict about slashing and some of the call IMO were marginal if not incorrect. Makes you wonder if the zebras get bonuses for certain calls LOL and joking aside, why I say that is other more meaningful penalties go uncalled. I saw two slew foots ( which im my book are v. serious penalties ) go uncalled but a minor or dreamed up call gets a trip to the box all the time …. I wonder ??

  • wjohn1925

    Thanks for the great and comprehensive write-up. I have mixed feelings about the game. On the one hand, it upsets me to see careless and unnecessary penalties and poor reads by forwards and defensemen alike. Goldobin and JV still struggle to keep mentally focused during an entire shift or game and hopefully this will improve over the course of the season. There’s not much hope for our current D corps, although Pouliot has been better than in pre-season. That being said, the other hand is the key one. Despite all the amazing moves and play of EP40, the reality is that we absolutely need at least one more lottery pick. We simply do not have enough high end talent. We need to lose, as Stephen Roget mentioned. So…in the end, maybe this was the perfect game!

    • TD

      Not one more lottery pick, they finally need to get their first lottery pick. A lottery win would be huge, followed by one more year where they challenge but don’t make the playoffs is my hope.

  • Chris the Curmudgeon

    I thought that second penalty against Goldobin was a straight up sell job by Tkachuk, as it looked to me like Nikolay hit all stick with his “slash”.

  • Rodeobill

    EP has about 5-10 moments a game so far where you go “I can’t believe he did that!” and half are defensive moments. I shudder to consider what this year’s games would look like without him. He might just play us out of the lottery, also if Brock has a rough year maybe we can get him to sign cheap! Silver linings and whatnot.

  • DogBreath

    We’re only two games into this season, so sample size is ridiculously small. However, include me in the list who initially wanted the Canucks to draft Cody Glass over Elias Pettersson. Wrong. Include me in the list of those who thought he could/should centre in the AHL or start by playing wing in the NHL. Wrong.

    Wow, what a start to his career after two games. Hands-up …. who thought he’d be leading tied for the league in NHL scoring with 5 pts after 2 games?

    • North Van Halen

      Sorry to use you as an example but this is the stuff that drives me nuts. People want to make instant analysis of things there is no way of knowing in the moment. Pettersson vs Glass. How the heck would any of us really know who’s a better pick without watching both players 20 times each. I’ll guarantee few people making that conclusion viewed Pettersson pre-draft even once.
      People went ballistic about Shinkaruk vs Granlund, how did that work out?

  • truthseeker

    The lack of discipline in the first two games has really been irritating. Way too many lazy penalties (none of which were undeserved), which in this game snatched a defeat from the jaws of victory. It’s a shame too, because they are playing with good effort and that’s a great thing. They can’t afford to waste potential points like this.

    I really hope the NHL keeps going with calling all the clutch and grab and mini hooks from behind (or because of lack of position) as they can, because it’s the best way to improve the game. If it means teams take 10 penalties in a game then so be it. Can’t stand all the grabs and hooks.

  • Blind Side

    Well I don’t know about the rose-tinted glasses, but I thoroughly enjoyed the game. I’ll take losing an active game like this any time, over the drudge we have endured in the last couple of seasons.

    We are clearly starting to see an offence coming together. Once Boeser works his way out of his funk, there will be two legitimate scoring lines. That’s the light at the end of the tunnel. This could get even better once one of the young AHL players raises their game and dislodges Baertschi. Amp up the Horvat line and this team will be plenty fun to watch.

    They won’t make the playoffs this year, and probably not next year, either. That defence is truly horrible. Even Edler and Tanev look slow. Age and injuries may be taking their toll. This is where I start hitting the panic button. We desperately need more young defenders in the pipeline. Perhaps we need to draft a defenceman like Broberg, Vlasic or York in 2019, more than win the Hughes lottery.

    The other bright spot in the first two games is the play of Markstrom. If he continues to play like this, he and Demko can share the load in the years ahead. There should be no need to force Demko into carrying the team until he is ready to do so.

    • DogBreath

      As much as I’d like Hughes, if Pettersson and Gaudette work out, maybe we already have the top 3 centres we need (EP, BH, AG in that order). In this case, does the top positional need become another top tier defenceman? 2-3 years down the road a top four of Hughes, Stetcher, Joulevi and 2019 1st rounder be the beginnings of a good core D.

      • Defenceman Factory

        The top positional need is already a Dman. As much as I like Bo if the Canucks win the lottery and get Hughes Bo gets traded. He brings a top 4 Dman and an early pick in return.

        • Fortitude00

          I agree but if Canucks get third next year they can draft D in B. Bowen. I would have liked to see Benning get creative and trade his first this year for Bouchard. That would have given them a RHD with top 2 upside. May have also given the Oilers Jack Hughes thus why it wasn’t done. On the face of it doesn’t look like the Canucks will be able to draft a RHD next year. So center it will be and Horvat on the move for a RHD.

      • TD

        The problem this year is that all the top d are left do, which is not what the Canucks need. One more top centre that could be played on the wing, but could move over during inevitable injuries would be good.

    • canuckfan

      I think Baertschi is a good candidate to be traded. Move Goldobin up to Bo’s line and the bring up Dahlin from Utica and watch some real chemistry Eriksson is able to play both wings so he could switch wings Goldobin is a good play maker so can add to Bo and Brock and create more chances.
      Eriksson’s career will get a good positive boost this year and will be playing with a lot more enthusiasm this year and next then we can trade him or leave him unprotected during expansion.

  • Chuck-ey

    Way too much rose-tinted on this one in order to appease the whining pompom wavers. There is nothing positive about seven goals against ffs. it won’t get you playoff hockey in todays NHL and it’s an absolute disgrace in any game to get blown out like this, let alone against the Flames!

    Sure we can wax lyrical about ‘early days’ Pettersen but as Connor McDavid will tell you, one player won’t get you to the promised land. The bar is being set very low in Canuck-rara-land right now and I for one will not buy into the EP over-hype above the *team* performance. We never did this with Bure!

    Have to say though…one player owned this game and his name is Matty ‘the beast’ Tkachuk – four points in the game and five in two this season already! This kid is a spark plug, game changer, entertainer, leader, agitator and future Hall of Famer like his dad and I am still absolutey fuming that he is not on our team in favour of the bust Juolevi. Burrows, Kesler, Bert, Scotty Walker… Matty is in the same mould and we needed him like Benning needs a lifetime hairclub for men membership… know it, believe it and accept it.

    • NeverWas

      2 goals were empty netters, 2 goals were markies fault. Maybe pump the breaks a bit on the doom and gloom and take that s%*# back to Oilers nation.

      Kids looked great. Penalties and goaltending… not so much.

      I’m happy. Entertaining game which is about all you can ask for from a rebuilding team.

      • DeL

        We didn’t do it with Bure because one, he was pretty much an unknown quantity unlike EP and two, Bure was joining a much better team with a much better management. ie: Pat Quinn
        You are right with the McDavid/Oiler comparison but to early to call Juolevi a bust. Lets give him a year on the farm with maybe a late season call up before we start throwing ourselves off the cliff with the Tkachuk comparisons. Lets face it with the D we have now he’d have to be a total bust not to be a top four and that’s including Hughes! So for the time being let’s keep the rose coloured specs on, there’ll be plenty of time to throw them in the trash

        • Chuck-ey

          There is no comparison with Matty T guy – he is already a star in the show and this is his third season at just 20! Juolevi chosen at 5 is still not able to grab a spot on this dreadful D corp (worst in the legue since he was drafted) so *yes* he is a bust.

          Let’s remember we were promised an elite D at the draft ”who can jump in and contribute right away” by Benning.. a Nic Lidstrom he said – more like a Nic-ole Kidman. I’ll take Matt Tkachuk over this bum thanks, the kid is awesome and will just keep getting better!

          • Defenceman Factory

            Tkachuk is a defective human being just like his father. He has already peaked and although a reasonable second line winger a complete douch.

            Tkachuk is the kind of player who drags the NHL down. He is a diving, cheap shot artist who will evetually wear thin on his coach and teammates. Within a year or two Juolevi will be routinely knocking him over and taking the puck away. I’m sure you will come up with a new persona and another ridiculous spin on things. Maybe you can go back to ranting about what a great GM Gillis was too daft to realize his inept management burnt this franchise to the ground.

          • Cageyvet

            Who cares, you use 20 different names and latch on to something negative and beat it like a dead horse. Quick, go figure out who Benning should have drafted instead of EP……yeah, exactly. Quit clogging up this space with your inane comments and get some professional help.

          • Chuck-ey

            Umm how did it go again Dud…

            “and whatever high end player they pick up this draft – either Tkachuk or my preference Nylander”. – Bud Poile

            “Last year Marner, Tkachuk, Matthews, Nylander, Laine,etc. jumped straight from the draft table into making an impact at the highest level”. – Bud Poile

            ” The Canucks need players that can contribute out of the gate, particularly on D. I would take Liljegren or Heiskanen. Glass or Vilardi if they go for the future. Hopefully it’s a player that is close to NHL ready come September” – Dud

            Woops… too easy – now run along Dud tail between legs.

            Keep sucking on those sour grapes turkeys – Matty T drafted 6… NHL killer! Juolevi drafted 5… AHL filler!

      • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

        ….and? I must say I agree, comment on the article, or agree/disagree with an opinion. You just rah rah cheerleading pointing out how people ise different aliases contributes nothing.

        Kids played hard, got some EXP, team lost. Win-Win for supporters of the youth movement and team tank.

    • DogBreath

      Very few think this is a team that has legitimate playoff aspirations this year. This is a good thing. Its all about seeing what we got in the young guys and developing them throughout the organization so that the next wave is successful (or as successful as they can be). Don’t use the playoff bar this year. Next year, probably. The year after they should definitely set up as a young team whose measure of success is the playoffs. 2018-19 is about player development.

      • East van canuck

        FFS Wake up and get with the programme Forti…

        “The bottom line is our goal is win games and to be competitive to make the playoffs. That’s what we’re here for.” Jim Benning Feb 14th 2018

    • Defenceman Factory

      There have been so many penalties against Pettersson’s ice time might look too small in hind sight but I think it is being managed very well. Obviously Green can’t know in advance there would be 7 or 8 penalties against. If Pettersson’s line keeps outperforming Horvat’s his ice time will keep going up.

      Perhaps we will see Pettersson and Ericksson get some PK shifts before too long.

  • Kanuckhotep

    Why panic? It’s only 2 games out of 82 played thus far. This has been considerably more exciting to watch than the snooze fests of the last few seasons already. After all there IS Petey, as his teammates call him, and isn’t he worth being hopeful about? Just be realistic about your Canuck expectations this season. EP has really raised everyone’s I’d say.

  • Beer Can Boyd

    Leipsic looked much better on the Horvat line than Baertschi. Demotion to the 4th line for him, and press box soon if he doesn’t pick it up. Roussel and Schaller are waiting their turn.

    • Beer Can Boyd

      Also, Canucks need to hire a real coach for the defensemen. Baumgartner is a disaster. Bring in Ohlund, or Salo, or someone who actually knows what it takes to play defense in the NHL, not a guy who managed 143 total NHL games in 17 years, most of them as a #6 guy. He’s been a coach in their system since 2012, and can anyone honestly day that the Canucks have developed any top 4 defensemen prospects since then? Time to do something about that. As in right away.

      • Dirk22

        Whether Baumgartner is a good coach or not, who knows, but this is the least of their worries on defence. I don’t think he’s coaching Gudbranson to pass the puck down the ice to the other team’s goal line every time he has it.

        Also, to equate number of games played or even caliber of player with being an effective coach is just plain dumb. Sometimes they are, sometimes they’re not. There’s zero correlation between the two.

        • Beer Can Boyd

          With head coaches, I might agree with that statement. With positional coaches I would disagree. Baumgartner was a big guy, first round pick. All the physical tools, so why did he never stick in the NHL? Same with Gudbranson and Pouliot. First round picks who look lost out there. And you’re telling me that advice from Ohlund or Larry Robinson wouldn’t get taken more seriously that from Baumgartner?

          • Dirk22

            I think you’re oversimplifying coaching to players listening because ‘this guy was good before.’ Not saying that can’t be a factor – just that there is so much more to being a good coach than having been a star player once.

      • The issue with the Canucks’ D is on the players, not on the coaching. Management hasn’t drafted enough quality D, hasn’t traded for a quality D, hasn’t signed quality D in free agency. You can’t put that on Baumgartner.

      • Fortitude00

        Besides Juolevi what D have they drafted high? Most are late late round projects. With that said, I think they do need a better defensive coach. Salo was a very good sharp player and so was Ohlund. Ohlund however has eye issues he might not be able to coach effectively.

    • Ser Jaime Lannister

      Agree on Leipsic, try him out for a few games and let Baertschi play on the fourth line. Id like to see Granlund sit in the press box and give Schaller a shot until Roussel is ready. Granlund doesnt do enough on that fourth line to be effective, he plays a soft perimeter European game..we need someone whos going to win board battles and be aggressive on the foreccheck. I think Roussel is going to be a fan favourite and am excited to see him play, but in the meantime give Schaller a shot and see what he brings.

  • The Canucks weren’t great, but at least this was an entertaining game. Pettersson and Goldobin and Horvat all looked great, and Boeser looked like he was finally getting his legs under him after a slow first. The rest of the team was garbage, but at least it was fun.

    Honestly, that’s all we can ask for this year with this assembly of talent – fun garbage.

  • speering major

    It truly is impressive to see a NHL team with a cap budget field a D group this bad. I hope they give Hutton a shot soon, he looked decent pre season.

    The Canucks need to move Tanev while he’s healthy but I just can’t imagine shipping him out for another AHL caliber D-man this early in the season. I would be happy to see only Edler and Stetcher return next season. Gudbransons contract will probably keep him here for next season as well. The rest need to go. What’s interesting is how fast this D group could turn around if they just manage to ship out Tanev for futures and acquire a younger/healthy version

    In 2019-2020 Adding Hughes, Juolevi, and Chatfield + and solid top 4 RHD would be a night and day difference. The Canucks basically have 3 useful D and nobody to be happy with. It’s painful to watch. I also hope that Benning can capitalize on an expansion lottery next year. Teams should be willing to sell a RHD they will likely lose in an expansion draft. Maybe they wait til the deadline but the deals should be out there

    Boeser is just out of sync. I think he finds his rhythm and gets in a groove soon enough. He’s never been the guy who takes over a game, he’s an opportunist and a finisher. I think he’ll find his way but it would still be a disappointment if he didn’t match last seasons performance

    • Nuck16

      No point trading Tanev unless we can get a very good return for him (which is a possibility if he stays healthy through to the deadline)…otherwise he’s very valuable to have around especially when it comes to mentoring our D prospects when they make the leap…and he’s still got 5 good years left in him.

      • speering major

        I agree. From Bennings comments it seems the Tryamkin move back to Russia made him hold on to Tanev. That stings twice hard now. I think Tanev’s value is plummeting from injury, age, and also a move towards more offensively minded D. Tanev still has value and they should still move him imo, but the return isn’t going to be what it used to.

        I don’t think about the return for Tanev as any way to help this D group in the foreseeable future. If Hughes pans out as a first pairing PP D then you don’t really need something special with him. You just need someone that can give you quality minutes and compliment them. One player I would love to see in a Canucks uni next season is Josh Manson. A player like that is the perfect compliment to a D core that has speed and skill

  • LiborPolasek

    Markstrom performed above avg for this game meaning more than one soft goals…. playing nervous. Still enjoyed the game but a couple of stops would had sealed the game for the Canucks.

  • Captain Video

    Too many unnecessary penalties. Goldobin in particular really seems to want to wind up in the press box. And pairing Guddy and MDZ in the last ten minutes of a tied game? Is Green on team tank or LSD?

    • DogBreath

      Probably down a good young asset or two for only one year of his service. There’s no way that one of the best (if not, best) defencemen in the league is signing here long term at this stage of the Canucks rebuild. Would have been a stupid trade, IMO.

      • crofton

        the total cost they paid for Karlsson would have bankrupted Vancouver’s prospect pipeline for about 3 years. Would Karlsson have that much of a difference to Vancouver’s chances? Not likely. Would they have been able to sign him to an extension even? Again, maybe, but not likely

        • DeL

          I agree and if the young guys make it look like the Canucks have turned the corner the chances of signing someone like Karlsson would increase. Players of that caliber want to win that’s what it’s all about, you’ve got to be a team where someone elite can see that if they sign with you they are going to be a difference maker.


    This game is what to expect from the Canucks this season. Half the roster is young and fast and the other half is dump and chase. The first goal was actually set up by an unnecessary icing by Edler. The defense is just not good and Marky will let in soft goals.
    Last year Brock was the reason to watch, this year EP and next year Hughes!

  • Rodeobill

    I wonder if they try Edler and Stetch, Tanev and Hutton, Guddy and Pouliot how that would play out.
    Tanev is looking better this year so far imo, he really frustrates the efforts of teams and they know that, his PK work in that first game saved it a few times. If he keeps playing like this his value will go up and we can move him or not, I like having him on our team, he makes those crucial saves for us sometimes make all this difference.

  • Kootenaydude

    Looks like Boesers injury could be career ending. He’s a shell of what he used to be. Canucks really don’t seem to manage their young players in the off season.

    • B_Rad77

      Ive seen a couple comments that Boeser wrist is wrapped, so that may be this issue along with his muscle gain may be responsible for his slow start. Imo, last night he did look like hes getting closer to breaking out

    • jaybird43

      Your comment makes no sense. He’s been cleared to played, played in Da Beauty league in the summer.

      And when players go home in the summer is management entitled to send a babysitter with them? Huh?

      • Kootenaydude

        In previous years we have had both Juolevi and Virtanen show up in bad shape at camp. Yes the team should be helping their players in the off season. Offering them training and eating regiments. Teams that have success with their young guys help them develop. It’s not always about who drafts first. Just look at the Oilers and Buffalo. So yes I think we do have to babysit our young players.


    Elias Pettersson looks so good. Del Zaster and Gudbrandson look so bad. Will Olli ever make this team ? I am sure we have the worst D-men in the past 30 years of watching the Canucks.