Vancouver Canucks vs Washington Capitals Post Game Recap

The Rundown

The Vancouver Canucks came into the afternoon on the heels of a tough loss, and an even tougher injury. After Alex Edler took a brutal puck to the face last night, he wasn’t in the lineup as the boys played the 2nd of a back to back against the defending Stanley Cup champions. Michael DiPietro was also called up as an emergency backup to starter Jakob Markstrom, as Demko continued to battle an ailment he suffered Monday. Finally, Sven Baertschi had to see a doctor today as he continued to fight an illness, and was subsequently scratched. Markus Granlund took his place.

Before the game recap, it was Jay Beagle’s first game back in Washington since he won the cup with the Capitals last year, and I thought this video tribute was a classy gesture on the Capitals part.


1st Period

The Canucks started the game poorly, a theme for the team of late, and conceded the first goal just 3 minutes into the period. TJ Oshie stripped Chris Tanev, who was playing his off side tonight, and got back into the play as Alex Ovechkin took the puck down low. Ovechkin passed it to Nicklas Backstrom who ripped a shot at Markstrom. The rebound bounced right to Oshie who buried it to put the Capitals out in front.

39 seconds after the opening goal, the Canucks received their first power-play of the night after Evgeny Kuznetsov was called for a fairly weak hooking call. However, just like their opening few minutes of 5 on 5 action, the power-play was terrible and the team didn’t muster a shot.

The slow start continued all the way until the 11:30 minute mark of the period, when Ben Hutton fed Antoine Roussel for a partial breakaway, but Braden Holtby made a nice stop with his glove to preserve the early Washington lead.

30 seconds after the Roussel chance and the Canucks found themselves short-handed after Nikolay Goldobin was called for goaltender interference. The Capitals lethal power-play went to work but were stymied by Markstrom. The great goaltending was the main reason the Canucks killed off the penalty, and the game remained scoreless.

The final 6 minutes of the period looked like the previous 14; the Washington Capitals outplayed the Canucks. However, the period came to a close with the Canucks only down by a goal despite being out-shot 18-5. They needed to play MUCH better if they wanted any shot at a win.

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2nd Period

The start of the 2nd period was a polar opposite to the first, and the Canucks looked like the much better team. Their pressure turned into a power-play after Josh Leivo made a nifty move to dance his way around Michal Kempny, and Kempny decided to haul him down to the ice.

The Canucks 2nd power-play of the night looked vastly improved, just like their 5 on 5 play. A couple of nice chances were generated, but the Canucks couldn’t get one on the board and their power-play dropped to 0 for 2.

The next 5 minutes saw much of the same, as Vancouver played hard and cycled the puck fluently around the Capitals zone. Shots through the first half of the 2nd were 8-1 for Vancouver, and an equalizer seemed imminent

The Canucks pressure in the 2nd half of the period was immense, and it started with the 4th line. 10:30 minutes in, Tyler Motte received a great pass from Jay Beagle right in the crease, but Holtby made a nice stop sliding to his right to make the save. A few moments later he stoned his former teammate right on the doorstep.

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A minute later, a great rush by the Canucks ended when Hutton rang a wrist shot off the crossbar… Canucks just a few centimetres away from the tying goal.

A minute after Hutton’s shot hit the post, Bo Horvat pulled off a beautiful toe drag to get around Jonas Siegenthaler, and Siegenthaler was forced to hook Horvat down. Horvat was awarded a penalty shot, but Holtby was there to make a nice stop with his pad to deny Horvat of his 2nd over a 16 game stretch…

A minute after the Horvat penalty shot, Troy Stecher hit the post after the Canucks generated another off the rush scoring chance. Just one of those periods for Vancouver.

While the Canucks weren’t able to tie up the game, they were dominant all through the middle frame, and out-shot the Capitals 13-4. With the way the Canucks played in the 2nd, it felt like it was only a matter of time until they broke through.

3rd Period

While each team dominated one of the first 2 periods, the first 5 minutes of the final frame saw both teams come out with pace and energy.

6 minutes into the period we’d have the next goal, and it was the Capitals who extended their lead. After the Canucks got caught at the end of a long shift. Jakub Vrana and Kuznetsov made a couple of nifty moves each, before Brett Connolly banged home the insurance tally. Tough break for the Canucks, who had been much better since the first period.

2 minutes after the Capitals extended their lead, the Canucks put a dent into it. Roussel took the puck up the right wing, and fed a beautiful backhand pass to the front of the Capitals goal where Granlund tipped it under the bar and in to make it 2-1.

12 minutes into the period and disaster struck for the Canucks. After they lost the face-off, Vrana shot the puck off the net, and it bounced on the top of the goal, then off the back of Markstrom and in. The officials reviewed the goal to see if Kuznetsov touched it with a high stick (I’ll let you be the judge), but it was deemed a legal goal and the Capitals took a commanding 3-1 lead with under half a period to play.

The Canucks looked to have lost a bit of steam after the odd bounce, but with 3 minutes left in the game, they pulled Markstrom, their last-ditch effort to claw themselves back into the game.

While they weren’t able to tie the game up, Elias Pettersson was able to add to his rookie-leading goal total as he shot the puck into a wide-open net for his 24th of the year with 6 seconds to go. Horvat was shoved into Holtby on the play, which is why there was no goaltender interference.

The final score in Washington was 3-2 for the Capitals. If the Canucks played the 1st period like they played the final 2, maybe a different outcome for the road team.


Advanced Stats

Both photos courtesy of naturalstattrick.com

Wrap Up

This game looked like it’d be a blowout early on, when the Canucks looked like garbage for the entirety of the first period. Whatever head coach Travis Green said in the intermission sparked this group, but ultimately they fell short. A lot of great chances in the final few frames for Vancouver, and the reality is this game could’ve gone either way. There were a number of positives I took throughout the night, even during the Canucks horrendous first period.

Jakob Markstrom played another strong game, and was the only reason Vancouver had a chance after the first 20 minutes. None of the 3 goals scored on him were his fault tonight, and he made a number of key saves throughout. He was the true standout player for me tonight. 

While the Canucks weren’t able to come away with 2 points, and only had 1 goal for 59:54 minutes of the game, the offence looked strong after the first. I thought the boys mustered some quality scoring chances, and really took the game to the Capitals at times. Horvat’s slump reared its ugly head tonight, and both Hutton and Stecher were inches away from the equalizer in the 2nd. Pettersson, Goldobin, and Boeser all had a few chances of their own, but couldn’t beat the all-star netminder for the Capitals. 

All in all, a poor start, and a couple of missed chances were ultimately their downfall. Let’s hope the team figures out how to start games with more energy soon.

  • Bud Poile

    Top d-man and LW both out with Hutton playing 28:35 minutes and Markstrom playing in his 40th game and yet the club battled hard and the game was close.
    Three games in four nights on the road playing against the Stanley Cup champs and the team worked hard enough to make this fan proud.

  • Beefus

    Good recap but I thought you should have mentioned the standout game that Hutton had. It may have been his best as a Canuck.

    Also a minor correction in that Edler was not injured by a puck but hit his face on the ice.

  • DJ_44

    Really tough first period. After that I was pretty happy with the effort. Another solid effort all around by Goldobin.

    I guess the guys in Toronto had to be somewhere; they could not have viewed the overhead replay. That’s two pretty obvious calls (puck kicked in) they have missed. Both were pretty obvious. You know when the opposing broadcasters are bracing their audience for the overturned the call is pretty clear cut.

  • Defenceman Factory

    As best as I can figure the ruling on the Caps third goal is this;

    The puck was clearly touched with a high stick by the Caps but it was not directed into the goal. The Canucks were next to touch the puck when it hit Markstrom’s back so there is no whistle on the high stick. The puck then bounced into the Canuck net. I think a good goal was the right call.

    • Me

      But if the puck goes into the net off a high stick, it’s a high-stick, no-goal!
      Only way this would have been an okay goal is if it hit a Canuck, then another Cap, then went in. If it goes in off the goalie it’s the same as going straight in off the high stick.

    • DJ_44

      Then it should have been Kuzneztov’s goal. The referee, speaking with Kuzneztov at center ice told him that if he touched it was a high stick.

      This is not the rule. First, it was not touched by a Canuck prior to entering the net (pucks hitting the goaltender do not constitute a touch — just like if the puck was kicked, hit the goalie in the pads and goes in the net). The puck was clearly redirected by a high stick (just like being tipped in with a high stick – which in fact is what happened).

      It was another very costly blown call.

      • DJ_44

        I watched the replay again (and again, and again).

        I may have to admit I am wrong. The call may in fact be correct in that Kuznetsov did not touch the puck. I think the “redirection” we see is actually the puck hitting hitting the top of the net and not his stick. It is an optical illusion of sorts in the overhead, in the the stick is above the puck, not below.

        Breathe, breathe ……

  • Me

    In the overhead view you could clearly see the puck change trajectory as the stick hit it.

    Refs are blind, biased, or fundamentally lacking in basic physics knowledge.

    • Robby-D

      As DJ_44 says above, I think that redirect may have been the puck bouncing off the top of the net. It definitely does, and in that overhead view that seems damning, there’s only one time it changes direction. If it was touched by a high stick, it would’ve changed direction/spin twice.

      I too was infuriated by this seeming non-call but I think the refs may have gotten this one right

  • Kootenaydude

    Good effort. I never thought I would say this, but Markstrom has turned into one heck of a goalie. No more soft goal a game like he used to do. I’m a little confused why Boeser is in front of the net on the powerplay. Wouldn’t it make more sense to have him shooting from the “Ovy” spot? Seems like we’re not utilizing Boesers shot on the powerplay. Sure hope Horvat can start getting some puck luck. Plays a great game. Works hard to get lots of opportunities, but can’t seem to bury the puck. Really enjoying the Canucks play this season. They really feel like a team of guys that enjoy and play hard for each other.

  • TheRealRusty

    This season shows that although we can compete for a playoff spot, does the nucks are at least 2 elite scoring forwards and 2 solid defencemen short of being a real cup contender.

  • TheRealPB

    Pretty accurate recap. Two unfortunate results this weekend and some brutal injuries but outside of the first period yesterday I’m pretty proud of the effort in each game. Sometimes you run into a hot goalie and don’t get puck luck. Hopefully we can end the road trip at .500.

  • Rodeobill

    Sneaky Pete should have been reunited with his normal linemates. Beagle was one of the best players tonight too, he played with heart, you can see why the fans loved him there, great team guy and good role model. I think they were trying to play more offense and less defense, so you saw a lot of Stetch, Hutton, and even Guddy playing deep in the Ozone, decent coaching gamble I would say. Also, IMac said Edler’s injury was the ugliest looking one on the Canucks since Malhotra’s puck to the face: did he not watch the game where Hamuis took a slapshot in the smoocher!? That was traumatizing. I guess that is one part of what makes this game so electric, there is always the ever-present possibility of ugly and debilitating danger. Being close to that edge amplifies the war-like nature, brotherhood, and passion in the game and for its viewers, but it really is nasty on the occasion it actually happens. I hate to see it, but you still have to watch it, like driving past a gruesome accident, you are compelled to watch and traumatize yourself with the impression it leaves on your brain. Strange creatures are we. Anyway good to hear Edler’s injury wasn’t as bad as it looked. In spite of the fact that you could really feel his absence on the blue line and on the PP, our D exceeded my expectations in trying to fill that hole. EP made some great defensive plays tonight too.
    Also, If we edge up the draft ladder due to bad luck, hitting the posts all night, and crap reffing/ video reviews, instead of bad coaching, disorganization, lack of effort and dumbness, I am ultimately OK with that, even though it frustrates me in the moment. (I mean, how many times did cheech and shorty say “woah, too many men, or looks like they got away with another one there,” even the edited video flashback from last game was about how “fate/reffing” went the Caps way then too). Whatever. Granlund may be better than Schaller, but aside from the one moment he got his stick down at the right time and angle to tip it over Hotby, I thought he was vacant most the night. I don’t see him in the future plans for this team, and I might have not said that a few years ago. Rousell, however, I am liking more and more every game, maaaaybe not on EP’s wing, but definitely am ok with his signing, and Beagle’s too.

  • Holmes

    Gawd was Goldy soft. Honestly can’t see why he gets so much rope from this forum. Even super-skilled soft players draw the ire of teammates, and sorry fan boys, Goldy is not super skilled. Soft as a pillow, OK hands, OK skater, poor reads more often than not, nine times out of 10, he’s not coming out of the corner with the puck, disinterested in back checking. See ya

    • 51Geezer

      IMHO the coaching staff deserve a lot of the credit for the dramatic improvement in the play of Markstrom and Hutton. Maybe they will have similar success with Goldobin.

  • East van canuck

    The Canucks are 1-4 in their last five road games and have been outscored 13-8.

    The St Louis Blues are 7-2 in there last nine and are one point out of the eighth and final playoff spot with three games in hand over Vancouver. The smart money is on the Blues.

    That will be no playoff hockey in Vancouver for four straight seasons. I am not a proud fan of this team. Playoff hockey rules.

    • Rodeobill

      It aint easy being a nucks fan since the sedin glory years, I get it. This year has been a lot different, though. Regardless if we make the POs or not, this team has turned a page. I think the main thing is coaching and how all the players are starting to buy into the team and their roles. Add in a little flash from good drafts, some Ian Clark Goalie whispering, and there is a stark difference to the team with the slowly rotting core hail mary UFA signings and putting all our chips gambling on reclaimation projects. At the beginning of this season I thought we beat the best teams because they called it in, but now when they beat us, I kind of think they got lucky, or it was pretty close. I can count on one hand this season games lost in a really lopsided fashion. I cant say that about the last 4 or 5 years before, you’d need a lot of hands, and feet for those seasons. I used to be scared we were going to be stuck in endless rebuild mode, it certainly seemed like a timeless hockey purgatory in those seasons, but now I almost feel scared we might finish the rebuild too fast. We got some of those key pieces, of which I am confident, but still lacking a few that are needed to be that heavyweight perennial contender for the next generation.

  • Fred-65

    Pro scouts around the league must surely have picked up on how well Hutton is playing. I’d think teams will be sniffing around this summer. Against the Cap he looked great

  • Beer Can Boyd

    When a writer on a Canucks site opens his article with such an egregious error as “After Alex Edler took a brutal puck to the face last night”, it makes you wonder if he is even watching the games. C’mon dude, you can do better than that.