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Vancouver Canucks vs Tampa Bay Lightning Post Game Recap: Washing Away The Slumps

The Rundown

The Vancouver Canucks we’re looking for a spark after two straight disappointing outings in Calgary and Carolina. Their opponent tonight happened to be one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, the Tampa Bay Lightning. After another disappointing outing from Jakob Markstrom, head coach Travis Green gave Anders Nilsson his first start of the season. Brendan Leipsic was the forward in the press box for this evening’s game, and it would be Tyler Motte drawing back into the lineup, on the top line no less. There were no changes on defense in this contest, so Hutton would remain and Del Zotto would be scratched for the 2nd consecutive game. It’d take everything the Canucks could give to get a win in the confines of Amalie Arena.

 

1st Period

Another game that seemed to get off on the wrong foot for our boys down south, however it was only a minor penalty that’d be called against the team instead of an early deficit. Brock Boeser would slash an opposing Tampa player to give the Lightning an early power-play opportunity. The team would kill the penalty off, only to find Nikolay Goldobin in the sin bin immediately after Boeser’s minor would expire.

 

The Canucks would kill off the ensuing power-play and watch a rejuvenated Goldobin come out of the box, strip Mikhail Sergachev of the Lightning for a great chance, only to get robbed by Tampa starter Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Goldobin’s great chance on Vasilevskiy

A large majority of the 1st period would end up being Tampa pressing the Canucks, trying to break the wall in the Canucks net. It would take 17 minutes and 16 shots for the Lightning to finally get on the scoreboard. A mad scramble in front of the Canucks goal leads to Brayden Point picking up the 3rd chance opportunity and depositing the puck low glove side on Nilsson for the 1-0 lead.

 

The 1st period would end with 1 more save from Nilsson, who is the only reason this game was 1-0 heading into the 2nd period.

 

2nd Period

Right from the start of the period, the Canucks would take another penalty, this time it only took 24 seconds. Erik Gudbranson would get caught flat footed by the speed of another good rookie in Tampa forward Anthony Cirelli. Another Canucks penalty kill would keep Tampa off the score-sheet for the time being.

 

A couple minutes later, the young duo of Elias Pettersson and Goldobin would connect for a scoring chance only to be stopped by Vasilevskiy. Only a minute after the Canucks had their good scoring chance, the Lightning would see defenseman Victor Hedman come in on a breakaway after splitting the defense pairing of Troy Stecher and Derrick Pouliot. Stecher would take a minor penalty on the Hedman scoring chance, and for the fourth time in the game the Canucks would be short handed.

 

Again, the Canucks would kill off the penalty, and finally they’d get a power-play of their own. Tyler Motte would draw an interference minor behind the play to give the Canucks their best chance at tying up the game. The Canucks power-play would see a couple of good looks from Pettersson and Boeser, but ultimately no goal and the Canucks would still trail. Just like the previous half of the 2nd period there’d be another penalty right after, and it’d be Boeser heading back to the penalty box. Tampa would again fail to convert on the man advantage.

 

A few minutes later, Boeser would be taken down by defenseman Ryan McDonagh, but as he was falling would move the puck to Jay Beagle. Beagle would flip the puck over to Tim Schaller for a great chance, but alas he was stopped by the shoulder of Vasilevskiy. The Canucks would get their 2nd power-play opportunity of the period, and the top unit would get back to work.

 

With around 30 seconds remaining in the penalty, Markus Granlund would be held and taken down by Cirelli to put the Canucks on a 5 on 3, the best chance for either team in the period. Again, it was the penalty killers who would triumph, killing off both penalties and sending this game to the 3rd period with the Lightning still up 1-0. It’s worth mentioning that Anders Nilsson had to be fantastic through 2 periods, stopping 24 of 25 shots against up to this point in the game.

 

3rd Period

The 3rd got off to a better start than the first 2 periods for Vancouver, mainly because they didn’t find themselves short handed in the first 2 minutes. Play would flow naturally, with Boeser getting a nice chance on one end, then a few minutes later it’d be Alex Killorn for the Lightning with one of his own. No real opportunities for either side to get a new tally on the scoreboard until the 6 minute mark of the period, when the Lightning got called for 2 face-off violations. The theme of the night would stand however, and the Canucks would see themselves go 0 for 4 on the man advantage.

 

Later in the 3rd, Anders Nilsson would again have to stand tall, as Mathieu Joseph would create a great scoring chance. This prompted yet another great save by a goaltender who had been doing all he could to give the Canucks a chance to tie this hockey game. 3 minutes later, his work would be rewarded. After Pettersson tried dangling his way through Tampa and almost burying one on the near side on Vasilevskiy, Pettersson would get the puck on the half wall and fire a beautiful pass across to Troy Stecher. Stecher would give Pouliot the puck, and Pouliot would attempt to fire a shot on goal. Pettersson would skate through the middle, have the puck deflect off of him and in for his 4th goal in his 4th NHL game, and push his point streak to start his career while tying the game up at 1.

 

A little over a minute later, all of Canuck nation would be able to breathe a sigh of relief. After a couple decent chances from the Horvat line, the puck would squirt to Boeser on the far side. Boeser wound up and clapped a shot right past Vasilevskiy to get the monkey off his back and give the Canucks a 2-1 lead in the 3rd

The Lightning would press for the equalizer but ultimately weren’t able to get it done. The Canucks would get 2 empty net goals in the last 2 minutes of this hockey game from Jake Virtanen and Markus Granlund to seal the deal.

Virtanen’s empty net goal

Granlund’s empty net goal

 

Coming into this one tonight, it was noted that every player would have to play a strong hockey game, and that’s just what happened tonight. In particular, there are a couple of notable performances to talk about.

 

Advanced Stats

Both photo’s courtesy of naturalstattrick.com

 

Wrap Up

After 2 tough games to start this road trip, the Canucks came out and played a hard nosed game. They had a real rough start, but were able to adjust in the 2nd period, and break through in the 3rd. I was hard on the boys after their game in Carolina, but tonight there were a few key factors in the Canucks grabbing a win in Southern Florida.

 

Anders Nilsson: Absolutely brilliant tonight. Not just above average or good, but a fantastic performance from a guy who only won 1 of his final 16 starts last year. He didn’t have a good preseason, but he came in tonight and put on a show. 16 saves on 17 shots in the 1st period kept the Canucks in it, and a handful of key saves late preserved the lead. After Jakob Markstrom’s 2 games to start the road trip, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Nilsson start again on Saturday.

 

Canucks Penalty Kill Units: There was a lot of flak about the Jay Beagle, Antoine Roussel, and Tim Schaller signings, and for good reason. However, games like tonight are the very reason Jim Benning went out and acquired these 3 bottom 6 forwards. Beagle, Schaller, and the rest of the Canucks penalty killers went 5 for 5 tonight in penalty kill opportunities. If you remove the one bad game in Calgary where they gave up 3 power-play goals, the team has been flawless on the penalty kill. No, I’m not going on record saying the Beagle or Roussel contracts are actually good contracts, however the Canucks penalty kill is a large reason why they’re 2-2 to start the year. Beagle and Schaller are a huge part of the penalty kill that played a huge part in the Canucks coming out with a win.

 

Boeser + Pettersson: The 2 most offensively gifted players on this team finally scored in the same game, and for Boeser the first time this season. Pettersson has come out of the gate scorching hot, with 4 goals and 7 points in his first 4 games. Pettersson also now holds the record among all Swedish forwards with his 7 points in 4 games. Now, if tonight is an indication that Boeser is getting out of his mini slump and will be the scoring threat he was last year; this team has the potential to score a boatload of goals. They may not win too many games this year but they’ll be scoring plenty of goals, and if I’m being honest, that might work out best for everyone involved.

  • Rodeobill

    TB dominated us most of this game and Nilsson stole it for us. Boeser looked rough and hopefully this goal is what he needs to get his game back. EP was the only person on the team that looked like he belonged on the same ice as TB for the first period or two (aside from Nilsson). Motte looked good too, and doesn’t take any shifts off. Man, Tampa is good. Also, Shotgun Jake!

  • Kanuckhotep

    They’re .500. They’re scoring 4 goals on average per game. Three of four goals tonight came from 1st round draft choices. Nilsson was marvellous and the PK did their jobs big time. Thought Pouliot played very well this evening. Isn’t it strange the Canucks play better against better teams? The Lightning had enough chances to bury us but didn’t. And again in the hunt going into the 3rd period where,this time, they won. Very entertaining.

  • The_Blueline

    not a native speaker, but how many “woulds” can you have in one article. Other than that, great stuff, keep it coming.

    As for the game, if they keep scoring 4 goals a game, this might be fun season to watch the team. Won’t have a goalie to steal this kind of game every time, which will – as the author correctly said – work out great for everyone.

    • truthseeker

      yeah that was mentioned by a poster in the last recap. Simple past tense is much better. Not sure why this guy writes like this. You don’t need to be a native speaker to find would + verb very distracting when it’s used constantly like this.

      For example this paragraph is……pretty bad…

      “A large majority of the 1st period would end up being Tampa pressing the Canucks, trying to break the wall in the Canucks net. It would take 17 minutes and 16 shots for the Lightning to finally get on the scoreboard. A mad scramble in front of the Canucks goal leads to Brayden Point picking up the 3rd chance opportunity and depositing the puck low glove side on Nilsson for the 1-0 lead.”

      The way it jumps from past tense to suddenly a present tense talking about the future.

      “Tampa pressed the Canucks for a large majority of….” “It took 17 minutes for the Lightning…” and “A mad scramble….led to….”

      Is really all you need.

      I get this is “just a blog” and most of the people writing here are not going to be English majors, and my grammar is pretty awful too, but yikes….this just makes me want to know if the writer passed grade 12 English. Sorry dude…

      Aside from that though, the info given in these recaps is excellent and this writer definitely presents it in a more neutral way which is much appreciated.

          • NeverWas

            Indeed, what a life we live in when grammar, in a free sports blog, is a point of contention… as you said, the content was good and you cant write worth a crap so get off the couch and write something for this blog or stop complaining and trying to give out English lessons.

          • truthseeker

            The guy wants to be a writer.

            You’re like one of those parents that tells their children how great they are at singing. Then they go and sing for someone and their terrible but they’re surprised because nobody has ever been critical with them.

            You’re one of those “everyone gets a trophy” types.

            Basically, your argument is nobody is allowed to be critical unless they do the thing their being critical of. What stupid logic.

            And I did just write on this blog. See? Right here. Go ahead, critique my grammar.

          • Defenceman Factory

            I don’t really care about the grammer but the reason you don’t see writers getting criticized for incorrect verb tense is because writers don’t do it.

            Cole is doing a great job summarizing the game. He can choose to ignore advice on improving his writing if he wants to but as they say “something worth doing….”

      • Wanda Fuca

        Truthseeker, I see that you are catching some negative flak for your comments on grammar, so I want to throw in a note of support. I thought your observations were valid and helpful, although perhaps a little harsh. Nevertheless, constructive criticism is always useful to a new writer, especially if that writer has professional aspirations, and I suspect Cole is willing to pay attention to good advice. I had trouble with all the “woulds”, too; writing is about clear communication, rhythm, flow, pacing, and leading the reader smoothly from point to point. Simple past tense would indeed do it. Like you, I appreciate Cole’s contribution and his balanced reporting. If he can tweak and improve his writing style he will also improve his chances of success as a writer.

    • DJ

      Regarding the “would”s, I tend to agree. However, in Cole’s defence, if you read his writing aloud, it would sound as if a sportscaster were reading it in voiceover while the replays were playing, and that may be how he’s writing it (or how he hears it in his head as he’s writing it). I personally don’t have a problem with it (having watched way too many sportscasts), but I can see where people might take issue.

      That being said, as long as the content continues to be this good and the grammar isn’t heinous (like it is with some CA writers sometimes…), I’m happy with it.

  • Braindead Benning

    Otherwise another entertaining game, IMO given that it was the lightnings second game I didnt think that Tampa was as dangerous as the hurricanes and the flames…or the Canucks just were more focused positionally including a stellar performance from Nilsson.

  • Winning is such a pleasure!

    What a difference great goaltending makes. Both our goalies have it in them, it’s just to get it consistently, but it was there tonight.

    Canucks seem to be spending a lot of time in the penalty box.

    Beagle is quietly going about his business and doing his job. When I look at our center position, this could be an area of strength. Pettersson, Horvat, Sutter, Beagle, with Gaudette on the way. That looks good to me.

    With Roussel making his debut soon, I see him starting with Sutter and Virtanen. Hard to play against third line.

    What the hell am I doing up at 5.00 AM.

  • wjohn1925

    Great write-up again. Write as you “would” and don’t let the style gestapo trouble you. It’s your blog after all. Great game. Really impressed with the effort all around. The structure was sound, and the forwards and D seemed to be on the same page for the most part. I think I saw that Edler had 8 blocked shots or something. All you need to win is a couple of sharp-shooters, a stand-out goalie and a couple of shut-down lines. Will we lose again?

    • truthseeker

      yeah…cause heaven forbid anyone should ever be critical of anything. Everything is perfect and we should all accept that and praise everything. Great job with your post! It makes so much sense! You’re so logical.

      • NeverWas

        Dude, it’s a sports analytics blog… not an academic thesis.. Stop the #fakeOutrage and take a pill.

        If anything, I would complain about the like of data and analytics lately… could care less about spelling and punctuation… show me the numbers!!!

        • DJ_44

          It is simple constructive criticism. Albeit it can be delivered in a softer tone. Most commenter (hence readers) agree we like Cole’s content. The way to get better at anything is to “do”, learn perhaps more effective ways to do it, and do again. I assume he likes and wants to write; nothing wrong with improving his craft through solid advice.

          Without, you are left with five word, one sentence paragraphs. ***cough****botchford***cough.

          • truthseeker

            lol…yep.

            Never was is like a parent that coddles his child and tells them everything is always perfect and they’re “great” at everything they do. Then they get into the real world and they aren’t great, and they don’t know how to deal with it.

            Everyone gets a trophy in his world.

            I like how he implies there is some kind of “outrage” in my post….lol. Projection at it’s finest right there.

      • wjohn1925

        Cory’s write-ups have been a marked improvement over last year’s fiasco (a bit of hyperbole here). The point was made in his last blog, but he has chosen to disregard that and continue using the verb “would” in his own fashion. Point was made. Let it go.

  • Defenceman Factory

    Great job by Nilsson but an inconsistent effort by much of the team. Outplayed, out shot, too many penalties and some bad habits creeping in. I noticed Eriksson and Virtanen take some shifts off. Both those guys are playing pretty sound games but it looks like their effort level wanes some times.

    Nice to see Boeser get one. A lone highlight in an otherwise dismal performance. He took a couple penalties and that Horvat line continues to get buried by opposition top lines. The goal was off a slapper, just not seeing that deadly wrist shot from last year and not seeing him set up in the left face off circle for the shot on the powerplay.

    Edler and Tanev are working hard and blocking lots of shots but that is often because they fail to clear the zone. These guys are both good Dmen but that pairing struggled to clear the zone last year and it continues.

    Great to get a win against a good team on a tough road trip. Some key saves, a couple bounces and the Canucks win but this game very easily could have gone the other way.

    Green has a tough job this year. He is leaning hard on Tanev and Edler but overall I like the job Green is doing. The up tempo play is entertaining to watch.

    • canuckfan

      Tampa has one of the best offenses in the league most defenders have problems clearing the zone when playing the Lightning. Nilsson was the difference in the game made saves when he had to and most important made saves that most people didn’t think he was capable of. The having Petetie score you could see the confidence lift in the team and then Brock scoring the team is riding high. If they get good goaltending the team has the confidence that one of their difference makers will put the puck in the net. Awesome to see Jake settling into a new role and doing well and having the coach put him out in the last couple minutes you know Jake is feeling good about himself.
      Tampa is a great team and with a little luck we were able to play them before they really get their legs under them. Good defense with an offensive flair and forward lines that are scary.

      • Beer Can Boyd

        I thought Virtanen had a good game overall, and a great 3rd period. Boy, he’s fun to watch when he gets a head of steam up, and those reverse hits, like the one on McDonagh are inspirational for his teammates. I agree with the guy who said Roussel on that line will make them very unpleasant to play against. Although Motte has done everything that has been asked of him. Leipsic is wildly inconsistent, which is probably why he’s on his 4th team, despite being only 24. Send him down, no one is taking him.

  • Ser Jaime Lannister

    Lets hope TG doesnt eff this up like last year and rides the hot hand…stick with Nilsson for Saturdays game!

    Surprised to see JV out protecting a lead with under 3 min left. He made a good read/check and got rewarded with an empty net goal, TG will be happy with that.

  • TheRealPB

    I thought TB clearly dominated the first, the second was more even and all the PP really took both teams out of any rhythm and I thought the Canucks were a clearly superior team in the third. I think I enjoyed most the fact that even with the lead late the Canucks didn’t really sit back or seem nearly as fragile as they have in the last few years. Maybe it’s because expectations are so low for them or maybe it’s because less of the team are sitting around and waiting for the Sedins to do something. This is especially apparent on power plays where there is more urgency, far better puck movement and an ability to actually gain the zone. The Edler-Tanev combination was pretty stellar I thought and it was kind of the way you want a road game to go, sticking around (and yes Nilsson was great) and bringing it in the third. I think you’re underselling Beagle and Schaller. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by them, not only not he PK but they’ve also been a pretty effective fourth line beyond that. I think Granlund has shown himself to be a more consistent bottom six player than either Leipsic or Motte. When Roussel returns I think it will be Motte and Leipsic in the press box along with MDZ and Biega down to the AHL. Hutton, Pouliot and Stetcher all had good moments (though having Hedman walk right between two of them wasn’t one of them). Gudbranson remains wildly inconsistent. Loved the celebration after Boeser’s goal. They all wanted that one.

    • DogOnABoneHorvat

      Ernest Hemmingway is known for very simple, run-on sentences. I don’t think he is the correct person to emulate if you have writing aspirations in our modern world.

  • RobG

    The most concerning trend I have seen in the 4 games so far this year is the Canucks inability to prevent shot attempts and scoring attempts inside home plate. Each game so far this year, the opposition has been allowed into home plate with impunity. It doesn’t matter how good a teams goaltender, when they are facing as many high quality scoring chances from that close, they are bound to fail. Its going to take exceptional goaltending like we saw last night to win games. The Canucks have to be better at pushing play to the outside and protecting their home plate. The narrative that gudbranson is tough to play against down low and in front of the net is no longer holding water and the team sent down Gaunce, their best center at suppressing shots inside home plate. The kid took a lot of flack for not scoring, but the kid could defend and the Canucks could use a little more of that right now.

    • canuckfan

      Gaunce will not be coming back into the Canucks line up this year. He is the odd man out with Beagle and Sutter doing what they do on the penalty kill Gaunce is done as a Canuck as Gaudette will be brought up before him.

      • RobG

        I don’t think gaunce is done as a Canuck. Injuries will happen and he is a very serviceable 4th line center. He definitely doesn’t fit on the team right now, and it’s likely gaudette will get the first look but I wouldn’t rule out a return down the road. I’m just saying the Canucks need more of what he brought to the ice which was a reliable shut down presence who kept pucks away from the front of the net.

  • Locust

    1) Brock must read CA because he doesn’t even try to win the faceoff. When up against a quicker, stronger more experienced player, you try and scrub the draw and tie up to avoid a clean possession. Hockey 101
    2) Goaltending clinic by Nillson. Post to post, no openings on the ice, angles, positioning perfect. If he plays close to this level and a contending team has their number one go down just before the trade deadline, the Canucks could get a ton for him.
    3) This team would be lost without Sutter. Another great game. So sorry that those of you that “know” hockey from playing table hockey with your older brother cant see it – too bad. FA signings were great – doing exactly what they were intended to do, right CA……
    4) Huge lack of toughness and grit. Guddy is needed for that alone. He was born twenty years too late.
    5) Goldy has NHL talent but not an NHL mind. If he doesn’t pick that up this year – he is toast for next year.
    6) Team is coming together. Great seeing a long early season road trip. Makes a huge difference. I know some of you don’t get that, hard to learn at band camp.
    7) Forwards visibly making extra effort to help out the D – they know it is bad back there. Great teamwork, good coaching.

    • Beer Can Boyd

      But Guddy doesn’t play with toughness and grit. That has turned out to be an urban myth. Biega plays with 5x the grit, and also knows how to get the puck out of his own zone without icing it. The stats on Guddy are inarguable, and I’m not sure why so many people keep waiting for the appearance of a player who clearly doesn’t exist. Also, agreed about Sutter, disagree about Goldobin. He does space out occasionally, but for the most part he’s been good this season.

      • Cageyvet

        Agreed, Goldy is going to be fine and Sutter does his job. Gulbranson is exactly as you have described, is I gave up last year as he has major flaws in his game. I had high hopes when we acquired him, and kept the faith for a long time, but he doesn’t play the physical game well enough to offset his shortcomings. He gets beaten with speed too often, and can’t move the puck under any kind of pressure. I understood signing him to not lose an asset, but we can flip him for something else pretty much any time. If he wants to change my mind even slightly, he needs to challenge Jake for the hit lead and try using his size in front of the net, not just along the boards.

    • Chris the Curmudgeon

      Goldy has been really good so far this year. Far better on the back checks, and legitimately improves his linemates, yes even EP. Goldy’s playmaking really is superb: how many times do you see him make a laser cross ice pass right onto EP’s tape? I want to see Nikolay get more ice time, not less.

  • Nuck16

    Well, Nilsson sure seems to be benefiting from the road video game ban. I see the Jets got shutout last night. Laine, the first step is admitting you have a problem.

  • wojohowitz

    I was very impressed with Virtanen. He is not throwing the big hits anymore but he is winning puck battles and controlling the boards. With his speed he is built for hockey as his lower body strength (stability) and upper body strength (puck battles) are superior to many of his opponents.

    Also impressed with Beagle. Not sure what is going on there but he demands and receives respect from opponents. Maybe it`s his years of experience or familiarity with his style. He skated into a scrum and everyone backed away and gave him room like they didn`t want to mess with him.

    Edler and Tanev; 20-25 minutes each – this is not going to end well.

  • Kootenaydude

    The Canucks have a tough schedule and it’s great to see them steal a game. What can you say about the Canucks PK?! Nothing, except great job!! I’m liking the Tanev / Edler pairing. Hopefully the big minutes don’t equal injuries. Nilsson definitely the first star of the game. Now just imagine having Bobrovsky in net?!?! Wonder how our cap space would be.

    • Kneedroptalbot

      I am pleased with the way Jake Virtanen is playing, he skates so well and is very effective back-checking. Good deployment by TG. Motte and Nilsson were rock solid. Nice to see that World Championship gold medal form in a Canucks uniform. If these 3 players can continue with their solid play, it will only make things easier for the top 2 lines.
      I know this season is a development year, so far I’m very pleased. Hopefully mid-season Gaudette and Joullevi will get their opportunties.