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Photo Credit: Vancouver Canucks / Twitter

CanucksArmy Postgame: Two Late

The Canucks lost a heartbreaker this afternoon in Buffalo. They got a solid performance from Jacob Markstrom and goals from Virtanen, Eriksson, and Gudbranson, but gave up two late tallies and failed to capitalize on two four-on-three powerplays as they fell to the Sabres 4-3 in the shootout.

HIGHLIGHTS

STATS

Courtesy of NaturalStatTrick.com

The Canucks controlled play for most of the game, and generally outplayed the Sabres by the eye test, too. Unfortunately, some sloppy play in the final minutes let the Sabres back into the game and the Canucks couldn’t get it done in OT. That’s just the way it goes sometimes, especially with a young team. Hopefully this is a learning experience for everyone involved.

GAME NOTES

  • Jacob Markstrom had a strong game tonight, making 34 saves on 37 shots for .919 save percentage on the night. He made a couple of impressive stops, including a sprawling save on Jeff Skinner. He’s a big part of the reason the Canucks came away with a point tonight. It’s unfortunate he couldn’t get the win, especially because he wasn’t the least bit at fault for either of the Sabres’ late goals.

  • Fans have been clamouring to see Jake Virtanen get an audition on the team’s de facto top line with Elias Pettersson and Nikolay Goldobin. Fans got their wish this afternoon, as he spent much of the game alongside the pair of European forwards. Jake had an impressive stat line today, registering six shots and a goal in over 20 minutes of ice time. I’m not convinced he has the hockey sense to stick on that line, which may be why Antoine Roussel ended up registering the lone assist on his goal, but he had himself a game today and he deserved to be rewarded for his strong play so far this season.
  • It’s no coincidence Jake’s goal came on a play where he carried the puck out from the defensive zone and drove hard to the net. It was a lucky bounce, but that’s when Jake is at his best. My biggest gripe with his game has been that he’s far too willing to shoot from low-percentage areas. In spite of his seven goals this season, that hasn’t really changed a lot. Here’s hoping this is the start of a trend.
  • Markus Granlund’s quietly had an excellent start to his season, scoring three goals and registering 6 assists thus far. He looked good tonight and put up the primary helper on Eriksson’s game-tying goal. Kudos to him for proving he deserves a spot on this team after many, including myself, had a labelled him as a possible waiver candidate in the preseason.
  • Speaking of Eriksson, it’s been great to see him have some success again scoring goals from the dirty areas. He’s struggled over the past few seasons, but he’s also been ridiculously snakebitten over the course of his time in Vancouver. Injuries have allowed for him to get a chance to play alongside Bo Horvat and he looked comfortable in that role today. Here’s hoping he can use the elevated role as a springboard to find some consistency.
  • Sure, the Canucks lost tonight, but how long has it been since the team has looked this fun? A 4-3 loss in the shootout certainly beats the plethora of offensively anemic performances we saw last season.
    • Locust

      Agreed. Veteran leadership is needed to kill the last five minutes and secure the win. Too bad.
      Enjoying Guddy’s strong play for a number of reasons, mostly because it infuriates the pocket protector crowd.
      Don’t know what Jackson is talking about in criticizing Jakes ‘hockey sense’. He needs to do four or five things well and that’s it. Let EP40 create and use Jake – it isn’t Jake using EP40. Just look back at all those great ‘hockey minds’ that played with Gretzky and scored 40….. what a shame….

      • DJ_44

        I agree with the sleight regarding Jake’s hockey sense. If anyone’s hockey sense (and general effort) can be questioned, it is Goldobin’s. I mean, the give away on the PP was just brutal, not to mention two or three other give-away’s at the offensive blueline.

        Did anyone else notice Pettersson gets a lot more ice when playing with two hard working wingers like Virtanen and Rousel. In my opinion, we still have not see the proper left winger with Elias. Maybe Eriksson, or a guy like MacEwen or Dahlen. Goldobin ain’t it.

        Very solid game by Gudbrason, and to a lesser extent Hutton (only because of a couple of poorly played rushes). That pairing has been excellent, and if Gubranson skates the puck more, it opens up opportunities. He will prove to be a bargin at $4M, and Hutton may earn himself a qualifying offer.

  • Defenceman Factory

    Good for Jake scoring again on a power move to the net.

    Just like in the Detroit game the Canucks looked short of top 6 wingers to play with Pettersson. That line took 10 shots with Jake taking 6 and Pettersson 1. Five of Jake’s shots were of the possession surrendering low percentage variety. That won’t be the story line on the loss but a 3 or 4 goal lead going into the final 3 minutes turned out to be the difference needed.

    Except for the final few minutes a pretty good effort in a matinee road game.

    • Canuck4Life20

      Six shots and another goal from a player with no hockey sense? It doesn’t matter what Virtanen does, he will never be the player that Jackson and JD wanted at 6th overall so he will never be good enough. The whole hockey sense thing is just the latest lazy narrative. Players with Jake’s ability to take away the puck and gain the offensive zone have hockey sense. Players who put up 7 goals in 18 games have hockey sense. It’s ridiculous to keep claiming otherwise.

  • NeverWas

    Hard to get too down on a team that’s 4-0-2 in there last 6 considering all the injuries and road trip.

    They keep scoring goals and getting points sooooo….ummmm… that’s good right?

  • East Sooke Park

    First poor game from Petterssen today and he was only 40 per cent in the circle too. Meanwhile, thought Casey Middlestadt was a stud, 57 per cent on face offs and let’s be honest, that shootout winner was lights out.

    I was always concerned about the size difference between these two outstanding young players and on todays evidence Casey and Buffalo look like the clear long term winners here.

    The Sabres will make the playoffs this season, they have all the pieces in place and their farm team is also on fire – I wish i could say the same for us but alas – no.

    • Dissin' Terry

      Can’t say it’s a particularly intelligent take to suggest a team is “clear long term winners” based on “today(‘)s evidence.” How about this entire season’s evidence? Mittelstadt: 17 games, 6 points. Pettersson: 12 games, 17 points. Pettersson has nearly triple the points of Casey ‘I can’t do a single pull-up’ Mittelstadt in 5 less games. Your argument is an embarrassment, and a failure of an attempt at trolling.

      • Cageyvet

        Let’s face it, he’s never had an intelligent take, and has to keep hiding under new names to avoid having them pointed out, but this is one of the worst. Only a complete moron would troll by criticizing EP these days, but then again, it’s PQW so I’m not surprised.

  • Not a fan of the 10.00 AM start. I couldn’t really concentrate on the game with everything else going on. What I did see though, is a much more confident Jake Virtanen. Same with Loiu Eriksson. It’s good to see.

    I called for a line of Schaller – Pettersson – Virtanen. That combo will work, although Roussel also looks fine.

    Canucks let a single point get away, but that’s the way it goes.

    • Cageyvet

      Honestly, I don’t want Schaller anywhere near the top 6. He does all kinds of good things, but he doesn’t have the offensive creativity or hands to be on a line with EP. I think he has held back Horvat offensively as well.

      I know his deployment has been due to the injuries, but he’s a 3rd line player at best. I prefer to see these guys get shifts, not games, in positions that are clearly above their skill level. I like him, it’s not a slight against him personally, but free agent 4th liners don’t usually play in the top 6. He’s played 16 games, has zero goals and 3 assists, and I remember the game where he got 2 points. Not exactly screaming move me up the lineup…..

  • Kanuckhotep

    Disappointing result but the effort was again there. Officially the most injured club in the NHL the Canucks despite this are doing much better than expected. Buffalo are virtually mirror images of Vancouver as young teams on the rise. Futures look good for both 1970 clubs. Goldobin? Playing with Petey he should have lit up the lamp many times this year but hasn’t. Good games for Jake and Gudbranson.

    • Chalister Court Canuck

      Take off the blinkers man, we are not even close to the talent and depth Buffalo has. Rasmus Dahlin and Ristolainen are outstanding on D. Eichel and Skinner are elite and i won’t go into the supporting cast, it’s too depressing to compare with our plugs and chokers.

        • Matty T

          Agreed. The Sabres are a franchise transformed in a very short time by GM Jason Botterill. He has done more in two seasons than Benning has in five!

          Shame some here cannot see and accept the gulf in class and high end talent between the two expansion cousins. How do these deluded windowlickers sleep at night…

          • bobdaley44

            Sure doesn’t hurt having top draft picks the last ten years. How hard can it be turning the ship around with the roster Botterill inherited? With the scorched earth Gillis left I think Benning’s done pretty good. Even the Guddy deal’s turning out.

          • Cageyvet

            Lol, your many aliases continue to pop up and disappear. I’m only replying to point out to any who may be oblivious to your shtick that the same tired commentary comes from the same pathetic individual who tirelessly creates new accounts to attempt to portray some kind of support for these comments.

            Soon these names will be gone, your new ones will pop up, and the rest of us will continue to use our single username and actually be accountable for our opinions in the weeks and months that follow.

            How CA puts up with you is a mystery to me, by now I can spot you by your writing style every time. The slight changes you make to masquerade as a new or different user are as ineffective as CA’s ability to rein in their resident troll.

            Small wonder that many accuse you of being an actual staff member, as CA is the only nation board that can’t be bothered to take out the trash.

  • TheRealPB

    As a fully paid member of the Gudbranson Hate Brigade I have to say he has looked really solid for much of the past month. Not just because of the points but skating the puck out of the zone and some pretty decent offensive forays. Two years later he and Hutton are a pretty solid 2nd pairing.

    Goldobin was TERRIBLE on the PP all night (Markstrom bailed him out at least twice on PK opportunities). Markstrom was great though that was a seeing eye shot on the 2nd goal and he kicked out the rebound straight to Reinhart on the tying goal. Middlestadt’s goal was absolutely filthy.

    I don’t get the continued digs at Virtanen. He is now something like the fourth highest scorer (this year) in his draft class, ahead of Ehlers even. He is a different kind of player than Nylander and Ehlers but that doesn’t make him inherently bad.

    Pettersson did not have a great game, but you have to put the late game collapse on some of the defensive players (especially Roussel — what was he doing throwing the puck into the middle protecting the lead?)

    • LTFan

      Agree on Goldobin. He has talent but is so inconsistent. If, when, Dahlen gets called up, put him with Pettersson and then we can see if they have a connection that they had when in Sweden a couple of years ago.

    • As I’ve said before, inflate Goldobin’s stats with EP and then trade Goldobin at the trade deadline. He’s not an enigma, to use a tired hockey cliche, he’s simply not a well-rounded hockey player. He has good hands but a lack of defensive skills or intensity to compensate. Use his age and RFA status to the advantage in a trade, like when Marko Dano was the hot trade chip a few years ago.

    • Canuck4Life20

      You nailed it when it comes to Virtanen and Canucks Army. He wasn’t the player that they wanted, so no matter what he does it’s not going to be good enough. They would rather be right than enjoy his success like the rest of us are. The whole take that he lacks hockey sense looks worse with every game, but they keep pushing the narrative as the goals and shotguns pile up.

    • Cageyvet

      1st of the late goals – Roussel and then Tanev blunders. 2nd goal – Markstrom, I have no idea how Jackson found him blameless on that, he chose to kick that rebound out.

      None of that really bothers me, it was a mediocre game by both squads, and I’m not hating on any of the team these days. They are nearing the 20 game mark and are in sole possession of the division lead. Even winning their games in hand, no other team can catch them as of today.

      Does that mean they will make the playoffs? No. Does it mean that anybody who is critical of a team with this amount of injuries, young players and middling talent/depth is out to lunch? Yes.

      Kudos to the players, coaches and management, I’m being entertained and Canuck games are must-watch again. I’m a die-hard fan, so I watched anyway, but basically out of obligation and interest in a scant few players. Now I’m genuinely excited again, and I’m having a hard time reconciling my desire for another high draft pick with the joy I get from seeing them work their asses off, displaying some developing skill, and having some actual success.

  • Chalister Court Canuck

    Absolutely shocked and disgusted with this loss. We dominated the third, had a two goal lead with just a couple minutes left so i decided to take out my St Bernards, Hamish and Jordan, and upon returning the game was lost.

    Absolutely ridiculous that we couldn’t shut down a perrenial bottomfeeder like Buffalo or put the game out of site further with elite scorers brimming with confidence on the team like Goldobin, Bo, Jake and Elias Petterssen.

    Really fuming about this one boys, same old story, beat the elite teams, lose to the dross, injury bug takes its toll and we are out of the playoff picture by Xmas. Groundhog Day.

      • Beer Can Boyd

        Also, are Buffalo a “perennial bottom feeder”, or are we “not even close to the talent and depth Buffalo have”? Your contradictions are showing. Also, Mittlestadt was completely invisible until his shootout goal, which was a beauty. He also played 14 minutes, EP played 24. No comparison between the 2.

        • crofton

          Yeah, Buffalo, the “perennial bottom feeder” is currently sitting in 4th place in the Eastern Conference. And it’s not like Canucks had their 2 shut down centres playing to close it out. The dross LMFAO!

  • 51Geezer

    ” (Markstrom) wasn’t the least bit at fault for either of the Sabres’ late goals.”
    Really? He sure surprised his defence when he barfed out that rebound to Reinhart.

  • Freud

    Sutter goes down and the team goes on an extended streak of winning possession and getting results.

    As was clear to those who look at the evidence, Sutter is an endless drag on this team and is not only easily replaced by the likes of Granlund and Gaunce, but the team becomes better.

    • TheRealPB

      This makes little sense. Sutter may not be ‘foundational’ but he certainly isn’t replaced by Granlund or Gaudette, and certainly not by Gaunce. Horvat has been a beast but he and his line would be even more lethal if he wasn’t called on to take every single face-off with Beagle and Sutter out of the lineup and to play in all situations as he has. Granlund has performed admirably but it is simply incorrect to make your assertion with little actual evidence that the Canucks success is somehow tied to Sutter’s absence.

  • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

    Props to Guddy from a serious hater of his game for a long time. 5 game point streak?!?!?!? Shockingly impressive ?clap clap clap #funcanucks!

    • Matty T

      No I missed it, he had his invisible man cape on all game.

      Petterssen must still be suffering from post concussion symptons, he has been that bad last few games. Either that or the blowhards here are over-hyping the kid just like they did Bowser last season – you know, he’d already won the Calder in November! You just couldn’t make it up lol. #ep_overhype #deludedfanboys #jumpinthegun

        • truthseeker

          No doubt. What’s even more pathetic is how easy it was to bait him out. What’s it been? 3 or 4 threads of floating the cockroach thing before he couldn’t stand it anymore and cracked? Haha…too easy. Although, he actually lasted slightly longer than with that, than with his ability to disguise himself longer than one single posting under a new user name…lol. Excuse me a second…

          Hey cockroach! You really are a stupid human being. No jokes here. No reverse trolling. All seriousness. You’re not a very intelligent person. You’re very slow. Your trolls are boring and simplistic. And that’s not you “trying” to be boring and simplistic. That’s really how you are. And I think you know it. When you do engage and try to make a point, you’re always playing checkers when this is chess. You can’t see a single move beyond what you’re typing at the time. A definite sign of a slow intellect. Predictable and slow. It’s what leads someone like you to default to the “say it to my face” type macho posturing comments. Exactly the point where I know someone has been so intellectually beaten down, that they have absolutely nothing left.

          Maybe you should take a break. Read a few books. Surf some sites about critical thinking and the art of debate. I don’t know. Do something so you can at least make it a little bit interesting and not so much “shooting fish in a barrel” when dealing with you. As I said…sharpen that intellectual sword cause I’m sure this affects you in your real life too. Nothing will change until you make a change in yourself. You can do it cockroach. You can improve yourself.

      • truthseeker

        so you finally admit you’re a cockroach. Great that we have finally established that you know that’s what you are.

        The next step is recognizing and seeking help for your cockroach behavior. (again…I’m insulting actual cockroaches by doing this, but whatever…)

        You’re a cockroach. There….I just said it to your face. Sharpen that intellectual sword a little bit and maybe one day you may provide me with a little bit of a challenge. You’re on the internet cockroach. Here you need your wits, which clearly you don’t have.

        I know it’s frustrating for you to be so thoroughly dominated intellectually by me and that’s why you stopped responding to any of my posts, but taking it out on me by constantly logging in under twenty different names just so each of them can give me a “thumbs down”…lol…doesn’t really fool anyone. Least of which me. I actually enjoy seeing them. Knowing you can’t stand them, but not having the intelligence to counter any of the points I make. Pretty much just adds to how pathetic you are. What have you got? Multiple monitor set up? Twenty different windows open at the same time that you jump back and forth between? Hahaha…

        Yeah…I’m laughing at you cockroach. What are you going to do about it?

  • Kanuckhotep

    Let us take a moment to honour today the 100th anniversary of the 1918 Armistice of World War One. We get to enjoy hockey the way we do because of people who have made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our society and heritage. And we see the greatest players from Europe in the NHL because of this. I have no use for war or politicians but one must honour the brave soldier eternally.