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Photo Credit: Canucks / Twitter

Vancouver Canucks vs Calgary Flames Post Game Recap: Re-Mark-Able Flameout

The Canucks came into their Saturday night show down looking to regain their footing after losing in overtime to a streaking Blackhawks squad. They looked to regain a place in the playoffs as they squared off for the fourth time this season with the West-leading Calgary Flames.

The Flames started arguably the best goalie in the league this year, David Rittich. The 26 year old Czech goaltender has taken over the starting role from Mike Smith in his third full season in North America. He faced off against Jacob Markstrom, who’d defend the net for Vancouver having lost four of his last five.

The Flames dropped their previous game to San Jose on Thursday night, where Rittich was pulled less than fifteen minutes into the game.

1st Period:

Against good teams, you always want to have a strong start. That’s exactly what Vancouver got when Bo Horvat potted his first goal in seven games and only his second in seventeen games going all the way back to December 20th against St. Louis. The Canucks had an offensive zone start at 0:40, which isn’t out of the ordinary, but it was fielded by a line of Goldobin-Horvat-Roussel, which certainly is. Roussel won the draw after Horvat was booted and slid the puck back to Tanev. The Canucks defenseman looked up to see Horvat making a beeline for the net and split traffic with the feed to the center on the doorstep. Horvat fired in his nineteenth goal of the season over the blocker to make things 1-0 early.

The Canucks are certainly looking for Horvat and the rest of their centers not named Elias Pettersson to get things going. This goal was only the fourth for a Vancouver center not on the first line since that December matchup against St. Louis. One for Sutter, Two for Horvat, and one for Beagle.

3:00 into the first Markstrom made one of the strangest saves we’ll see all year on Johnny Gaudreau. His shot was deflected in front  causing Markstrom to make a jumping save on the shot. The puck bounced off his glove and fell to the ice in front of Monahan, who fired it on net. Markstrom did what I can only imagine is the goaltender equivalent of a burpee, dropping down to make the kick save on the Calgary pivot.

In what would become a recurring theme this evening, the other team would answer back to the goal rather quickly. Calgary, possessing the puck on a delayed penalty, had six men on the ice as Sean Monhan made the controlled entry. He dropped the puck off to Gaudreau just over the blue line and used his body to create space for the winger off of Troy Stecher. When Johnny Hockey’s shot went wide, Monahan was in behind Hutton and Granlund to retrieve the puck and dish it between the two Canucks to Elias Lindholm in front.

Lindholm didn’t even take time to dust off the puck before firing it five hole on Jacob Markstrom. The goaltender had the gap closed, but misread the shot given the rolling puck and lifted his leg to prevent a rising shot from creeping in over his leg pad, allowing the puck on the ice into the net. Lindholm’s 24th of the year pulled Calgary even, 1-1, with over 13 minutes to play in the first.

Vancouver would pick up a power play roughly two minutes later when Elias Pettersson drew a neutral zone tripping call. The first unit generated a Pettersson one-timer and slot-shots for both Leivo and Boeser, which were all impressively saved by David Rittich. Those three were joined by Horvat and, for the first time, Troy Stecher, who has continued to impress since being paired with Hutton. Those shots would end up being the only shots on the power play for the home team.

With 8:15 remaining, Boeser and Roussel turned a 2-on-2 into a short breakaway with a bit of give-and-go action, but the backhand shot was right into the waiting glove of Rittich, who wouldn’t waste another opportunity to shake the leather a bit.

Goldobin had a fantastic sequence on the next shift, starting with a feed after a pump fake back to the point for a Pouliot one-timer. When the puck was recovered behind the net and fed around the boards, Goldobin worked his way into position to receive a pass at the high slot. He walked around a straight-legged Mikael Backlund, who half-heartedly swung his stick at the puck, and fired a well placed shot on net, but again Rittich made the save. Goldobin then beat a crouching Travis Hamonic to his own rebound and fired another hard wrist shot off the Calgary net-minder.

Vancouver would keep the pressure up for a third consecutive shift as the top line took the ice on an on-the-fly change. Josh Leivo scored five-hole as Brock Boeser slipped between Giordano and Brodie drawing attention away from the former Maple Leaf winger. He was able to use this distraction from Boeser, after making the controlled entry, to change the angle on his shot and fire the puck below the Calgary goaltender, putting the Canucks up 2-1.

There was significant lauding over the pass to Leivo from Pettersson in the neutral zone leading to the goal, check out the filthy backhander for yourself:

Continuing the trend tonight, the Flames answered back less than 45 seconds later on another floating puck. This goal can largely be attributed to a failure to exit the zone by Alex Biega. He (should have) received a pass from Leivo to make the controlled exit, but the puck ricocheted off his stick to the far boards. Instead of making a play on the puck (which he could have) he inexplicably only goes for the hit on Jankowski. The problem is, this was well after Jankowski pushed the puck forward to James Neal who through a fluttering puck at Jake Markstrom. Sam Bennett happened to be standing on the door step when Markstrom couldn’t quite knock it down and he batted the bobbling puck out of the air into the net, tying things up 2-2.

With 6:02 to go, Virtanen put a heavy hit on Johnny Gaudreau against the boards. The Flames took exception and so did the referees, citing Shotgun Jake for cross-checking. Calgary would fail to capitalize on the power play due to some great work from Markstrom and an interference penalty on Mark Giordano on Jay Beagle. The penalty taken by the Flames captain led to a minute of 4-on-4 play and a minute of Canucks power play. The top unit took 35 seconds to finally get set up, but weren’t able to generate any real chances in the 25 remaining seconds.

Repeat this minute-long sequence three more times in your head and then add a monster save from Jake Markstrom on a Johnny Gaudreau breakaway to get an idea of how the period ended.

2nd Period:

We started the second like the first, all knotted up, albeit, this time at 2. The Canucks and Flames traded chances for the first three minutes, culminating with a strong drive to the net for Derek Ryan. Markstrom was able to get it covered, but things seemed to be really coming apart for the Pouliot-Biega pairing.

Calgary would follow this sequence by rolling their top line. Gaudreau was able to get a Crosby-esque goal line shot off on Markstrom and made a slick feed to Lindholm who fired the puck on net uncontested from the lower left circle. Markstrom, again, was there with the glove to make a big stop for the Canucks.

Starting at the roughly 5:00 minute mark of the second, Calgary would make an exceptional push against the Canucks. First the Backlund line, followed by the Jankowski line, the Flames capitalized on four defensive or neutral zone turnovers from Vancouver. Both teams deployed their top lines that each were able to generate a legitimate scoring chance.

The Canucks registered their first shot of the period as the Horvat line was able to get the home team their first sustained zone time with 11:40 to go in the second. By the mid way point in the period, the Canucks were being outshot 27-12.

The broadcast gave a lot of credit to what is very apparently a talented Flames squad, but the Canucks made unforced error after unforced error to allow Calgary to dominate so heavily in the second. The shot tide to this point certainly highlights the lop-sided nature of the second.

shot tide courtesy hockeyviz.com

The Flames would break through the Markstrom Wall at 13:19. Biega and Pouliot failed to exit the zone at 12:25, turning the puck over at the blue line to Derek Ryan who shuffled the puck over to Mangiapane entering with speed. After the Flames outworked the Canucks on their shift for another 25 or so seconds, it looked like Biega was going to be able to exit, especially so since the Flames player bearing down on him had no stick. But, alas, he fired the puck, again, to Derek Ryan. Ryan, now with a 3-on-2 against gassed defenders, dropped it back to Hanifin at the top of the left circle who went cross-seam to Mangiapane for the kneeling one-timer. Markstrom made it across the crease, but the laser from the Flames second-year forward beat him high glove.

If that paragraph seems long, it reads faster than the amount of time the Flames had the Canucks third pairing in their own zone.

Again, the opposing team would counter quickly with the Canucks tying things up at 3 only 1:50 later. After a brief scuffle between the squads, the Canucks and Flames went 4-on-4. Troy Stecher broke up an entry from Johnny Gaudreau 1-on-1 and the Canucks countered with a controlled entry from Elias Pettersson. The center skated the puck past the Flames defense, behind the net. As he approached the top of the near circle he found Boeser with a cross-seam pass. Boeser loaded up a cannon of a wrist shot from the center of far circle past Rittich low glove.

Calgary took an interference penalty with 2:13 to go in the second as James Neal collided with Granlund in the neutral zone. The top unit in their first set generated a Pettersson one-timer, but Leivo in front wasn’t able to get a stick on the misfire. Stecher made a strong keep-in on the second wave for this unit, but the Canucks weren’t able to capitalize.

The power play ended as Virtanen took an offensive zone penalty with 47 seconds to go in the second. This continued the odd trend of goals after goals and penalties after penalties.

The period closed with the Flames (more than) doubling up the Canucks in shots on goal 33-16.

3rd Period:

The third period started off tied 3-3, with the Flames on the power play. The good news for the home team is the best chance with the man advantage came for Tyler Motte on a short breakaway and tight angle shot.

The Canucks celebrated this penalty kill by taking another less than a minute later. Brock Boeser tripped up Derek Ryan in the offensive zone as the former Hurricane fell easily while they competed for a loose puck.

Markstrom made a number of good saves on this PK and essentially killed the thing off by himself. The first came on a Monahan-tipped Lindholm point shot. Then the Canucks goaltender swallowed up the rebound, taking it away from Tkachuk who was standing in the crease. Markstrom followed this up by saving a deflection in close when Lindholm made a one-time slap pass to Tkachuk on the doorstep off a cross-seam feed.

Biega made some adjustments to his earlier and was at least attempting to play the puck, but unfortunately ended up only playing James Neal’s face with his stick, earning him a trip to the dentist. This resulted in a four minute double minor assessed to Vancouver with 12:30 to play.

In truth, the four minute PK looked less threatening than the stretch in the second. Markstrom was nothing short of exceptional. He tracked the puck extremely well and moved quickly and confidently to challenge shooters. This was the best and perhaps only four minutes of defense the Canucks played against the Flames.

At 13:00, Antoine Roussel drew a holding call, sending the Canucks out on another power play. Their best chance was a Boeser one-timer from Ovi’s office on a feed from Stecher. Mikael Backlund had a breakaway for the dangerous Flames PK, but Markstrom challenged the shooter and mad yet another big save.

Shortly after the penalty was killed off, Derek Ryan, from the near wall, found Johnny Gaudreau moving through the high slot with speed. Markstrom slid over and got the glove up on a nearly invisible wrist shot. Gaudreau had moved the puck to Ryan in the neutral zone, but two Canucks followed him to the wall, leaving no one in the slot, save for Markstrom.

The Flames and Canucks exchanged chances for the last three minutes, with the Canucks chances being notably less terrifying than their opponents.

Regulation finished with a run of extended zone time for Calgary before the Canucks were able to clear the zone as time expired, The top team in the Western Conference had set a season high for shots on goal at this point, leading 47-24.

OT:

While Calgary absolutely dominated the second and third periods, Vancouver looked like they hit the reset button. They came out flying like they opened the game.

Horvat started things with and end-to-end sprint, but fired high.

Pettersson and Boeser generated a chance in close for Hutton who couldn’t convert.

Virtanen made a controlled entry with 3 minutes to play, but fanned on the shot.

Boeser beat Monhan 1-on-1 all the way to the net, but wasn’t able to get a shot off on the backhand.

Boeser and Pettersson had a 2-on-1 with 1:45 to go, but Pettersson had the puck hop over his stick on the one-timer.

Calgary countered with a Giordano break that hit the post. This led to a break for Boeser who drew a Giordano slash.

On the power play, Stecher worked the puck in to Horvat in front and he beat Rittich only to put the backhand shot off the post.

Things seemed to continue in Vancouver’s favor as they forced a shootout. They certainly had the hotter of the game’s goaltenders.

Elias Pettersson scored on a wrist shot high glove side in the first frame for Vancouver and Markstrom shut out all three Flames he faced to seal the win. What a beauty.

Recap:

The commentators called the Sutter line a “hard match” for Bill Peters against the Monahan line.

There were no hard matches for Vancouver against the Monahan line.

matchups courtesy hockeyviz.com

To be fair, I’m not sure there’s many hard matches for this line in the entire league. The Canucks also (clearly) struggled against Calgary’s top pair, but again, this has been the case for the majority of the league. Brodie has been exceptional and Giordano should probably be leading most Norris discussions.

On the one hand, it’s nice to see the team respond after giving up goals. On the other, you’d like to see them not give up those goals, preferably by preventing some of those shots or maybe just getting the puck out of their own zone every once in a while.

Some Canucks fans got what they wished when Pouliot-Gudbranson got split up. Unfortuately, we all now have to reap what they sowed and watch Pouliot-Biega. I’m not sure you can justify rolling this pairing over at least on of the guys in Utica while Edler is out.

Beyond being defensively challenged, the Canucks struggled mightily tonight making good decisions and crisp passes. It seemed like they often were trying to open up the game with low percentage plays. Furthermore, there was little support of the puck carrier both in the defensive zone and the neutral zone.

Markstrom deserves both points for this win as the team failed to play anything resembling defense for the majority of the game. I mean the guy prevented between two and three expected goals for Vancouver in a case where the numbers and the eye test are very much aligned.

xG courtesy evolving-hockey.com

Anytime you take a point when you’re this thoroughly dominated it’s a good thing, but to get the second point in a game against a division rival? well, buy yourself a lotto ticket. The Canucks got away with one tonight.

Overall, I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed. This team can play better and you’d hope, a bit more consistently.

Most likely, though? The roller coaster games continue. Grab your Tums and Pepto, it’s going to be a fun spring.

Up Next:

Hopefully, some adjustments.

The Canucks take on a San Jose squad that’s every bit as talented as this Calgary group on Monday night in Vancouver.

The offensively gifted Sharks haven’t lost since before the All-Star break and should prove to be a formidable test for a currently defensively challenged group in Vancouver.

  • Gino's 3rd Cousin

    Hey Puck Viking, your score prediction for this particular game was more skewed than any of your hilarious trade scenarios. Better pickup a new hobby young fella.

  • TheRealPB

    It’s clear that the Flames were the better team and our goalie got us the two points. But we’ve been in enough situations like this in reverse that I think that’s ok — I actually think this was the worst of the past 5-6 games we played (and we still weren’t terrible) and some of those we simply ran into a hot goalie.

    I’m curious what if anything has changed in Benning and Green’s approach to the next few years given Markstrom’s development into a true #1 goalie. I’d actually think he’s a really good bargain at this price — between Demko’s injuries and inexperience at the NHL level and DiPietro being way too green — I wonder if they’re thinking about an extension to ease the transition to Demko in the short term.

  • Holly Wood

    Stecher was huge on the power play. Did a great job keeping pucks in. His shot is not gonna get through a lot of times but he added a different look on the pp

    • TheRealPB

      I agree and what I like best about Stecher on the PP is that he makes it much more dynamic. Same reason I like Leivo, he’s pretty active in either retrieving the puck or just moving around. As much as this sounds like heresy, I’d put EP on the first and Boeser on the second since both are essentially shooters on the PP and it ends up feeling like two of the five are pretty stationary during the play when they’re both on the same unit. Granlund and Sutter should never see the PP and really Edler too. If they do run the 4 forward set it should be Stecher and Hutton as the lone d.

      Pouliot should not be on the ice in any situation. On the third goal where Biega bobbled it again, I was sitting there looking at the position on the ice and thinking what exactly did Pouliot think he was covering since it wasn’t the pass, it wasn’t the shooter, it wasn’t the trailer, it wasn’t anyone other than the no-man’s land about five feet in front of the goal. He is occasionally good at getting a pass up the ice but mostly he seems to have zero awareness of the rest of the players. Couple that with Biega over his head (but giving a good effort) and Gudbranson who is now being propped up by Tanev and these are a long couple of weeks waiting for Edler to return. I agree with whoever said about bringing up one of the Utica forwards — there is no way Sautner or McEneny can be as incompetent as Pouliot or Gudbranson. I even think Biega is better than both.

    • Nuck16

      Yes, fantastic he’s finally getting his shot. A number of us were calling for that earlier in the season. He’s the only quarter back this season that’s been able to effectively set up both Brock and Petey for one timers. His quickness and deception prior to the pass makes it a challenge to defend. An Edler run powerplay is predictable and stale. Though I would like to see Edler back next season, just not on the PP.

  • Beer Can Boyd

    Proof as to why Biega is a 7-8 defenseman. Love his energy, but he was absolutely brutal last night. Markstrom was incredible though. Hopefully Benning is already negotiating an extension.

    • tyhee

      Markstrom’s contract doesn’t expire until the end of the 2019-20 season. The Canucks can’t legally sign him to an extension until this coming July 1 (CBA Artricle 50.5(f)(ii). I don’t see much point in starting the negotiations this far ahead of the time they can actually sign.

    • Nuck16

      Yes, wasn’t Biega’s night…but hey, I think previous game was his first in like 10 or 15 games, so he likely played on adrenaline and with that length of layoff not a surprise he’s rusty…I think with regular play he’d be just fine. Plus how many times have we seen Edler, Tanev, Guddy and Poulliot have brutal games this season?

    • Robson Street

      I don’t agree. One frost does not make a winter. For the sake of argument, what does a 6th defenseman look like in your mind? Who’s the last Canuck that was a true #6?

  • truthseeker

    Not pretty but take the two point tie and run.

    There were some good things though. I thought Sutter looked really good. Made some excellent defensive plays. Bo was good. Goldy looked pretty on it as well. Skating hard. Made an excellent back check, in the third I think?

    And they battled hard over all. Puck seemed to be bouncing all over the place all game long.

    PP looked a little better towards the end of the game but was pretty brutal over all. The stupid penalties seem to be coming back a bit as well. And geezus…just clear the f……zone.

    That’s a good looking team Calgary’s got though. It’s amazing how a deep D really stabilizes a team’s structure.

      • Freud

        Sutter was not matched against the top line. Played the most against Frolik – who was a healthy scratch earlier this year. He ended up 40% possession and 25% scoring chance differential.

        But the sensitive whiners want us to know they are smarter than the writers here and Sutter was really really good!

        We won’t even mention Sutter has fewer assists this season than 10 goalies. That would totally kill the whiners buzz and make them even more sensitive.

        • Alex Gable

          As you can see from the pretty picture with lots of squares. The squares in Sutter’s row are largest when they line up with CGY’s first line. That means his line had the matchup against their top line.

        • truthseeker

          OH NO! *gasp*….he LOST the scoring CHANCE differential! Oh my cockroach…what are we going to DO!

          How about actual scoring? Was he on the ice when Calgary scored any of their goals?

          And then you red herring with a stupid comment about his scoring this year which has nothing to do with the point I made about defensive plays. Dumb cockroach. How stupid do you have to be to write such a blatantly obvious red herring and not know you’re doing it? Are you really that stupid? Here,

          https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/150/Red-Herring

          Study up and learn how to communicate. Maybe try to be a little less stupid in the future.

        • truthseeker

          Does your analysis take into account plays he broke up? Plays where he positioned an offensive player into a low danger area even if he didn’t have possession?

  • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

    Markstoms first ever legit “stealing” of a game for the Canucks in his entire time here!!!!!

    It had to come at some point…..way to go Marky! Clap clap clap

    • tyhee

      Dumpster just watched his first ever Canucks’ game! Let’s give him a hand!

      Of course, if he’d been watching Canucks games, he’d be aware that Markstrom has been stealing games for the Canucks since 2015, though it does seem he’s doing it more frequently this season.

      In his first appearance of the 2015-16 season after returning from injury Nov 10 Markstrom stopped 42 of 45 shots as the Canucks, despite being outshot 45-30, beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-3.

      On Dec 22, 2015 the Markstrom stopped 26 of 27 shots as the Canucks, outshot 27-19, beat Tampa Bay 2-1.

      On Dec 26, 2015 Markstrom stopped 32 of 33 as the Canucks, outshot 33-24, beat the Oilers 2-1.

      On Jan 1, 2016 Markstrom stopped 27 of 28 shots plus all 3 shootout attempts to beat the Ducks 2-1 in a shootout.

      On January 15, 2016 Markstrom stopped 38 of 40 as the Canucks, outshot 40-22, beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2.

      Etc etc etc.

  • canuckfan

    Great game to watch except for the second period where Markstrom was just fantastic. If we are going to be fighting for a spot in the playoffs we will need to win 6 out of the last 9 games in Feb. Out of those games they cannot lose to the Ducks, Kings, Avalanche or Coyotes teams who they will bbe competing against for a play off spot.
    March does not get any easier but at least the trade deadline will have gone by and we will head into March with a lineup that will learn from the pressure of trying to win each game to be able to keep in the hunt for a spot in post season.
    For me Goldobin was okay against Calgary, not great just okay. I think he is probably squeezing his stick and is thinking the game too much rather than just playing hard doing the things that need to be done naturally. If Goldobin can not get a complete game together it is time to bring up MacEwen and see how he looks playing on one of the top two lines imagine him playing with Jake and Bo if they all played the body, or have him playing with Brock and Petey as an enforcer who can skate and score.
    But the Comets will also be fighting to make the play offs in the AHL and to get past the first round where all the prospects will be able to show their compete level and grow as a team.
    Training camp is going to be fun with more than a few spots on the line and players competing for a spot.

  • Blind Side

    I agree that Goldobin looked better in this game, and much better this season overall. But, I think he has a huge wall to climb if he wants to become a long-term NHLer. His offence is often crippled by his low comfort level in tight quarters.

    There were several times in this game where I thought he had an opportunity to go to the net and dig for the puck or be ready to pounce on a loose puck. Instead he pealed off away from the net. He also tends at times to stick handle himself into a box and get stripped of the puck. There’s a sense of panic in his game when he does this.

    I think the Canucks should stick with him for the coming season. But, they should also be drafting left wingers and investing time in the youngsters they have in the system. There’s no way they can assume Goldobin will be a long term solution.

    With the issues surrounding Baerschi, left wing is fast becoming a big issue for the team. Maybe not quite as big as right defence, but close. That Leivo trade is looking like a very good move, at least in the short term.

    • DJ_44

      The observations on Goldobin are accurate. I thought, aside from two good shifts in the first, his “old” habits creep in noticeable in the second and third. He blew a coverage when he was coming back where he decided to put very weak back pressure on the puck carrier who Tanev had easily, that led directly to a grade A open shot in the slot that Markstrom saved (Gaudreau I think). Most worrying, however, is his lack of effort in the offensive zone on pressure and puck recovery.

      Wake up Nicki, you bought yourself one poor game and quickly spent that currency.

      • Beer Can Boyd

        Goldobin gets zero slack for any perceived mistakes, but on the 3rd Calgary goal, when Biega was still beside his own net struggling to get the puck out, Boeser was already at the Calgary blue line. Of course, he has the talent to overcome such tendencies, but come the time when the Canucks are in the playoffs for real, that kind of play will not endear him to Green or the fans.

        • bobdaley44

          Agree about Boeser. His tendency to hold the puck too long and have the plays run through him will hurt them eventually. He’s no dangler. His defence and puck decisions need improving. The problem with Goldy is his lack of will and compete. Very rarely does he win puck battles or play with any edge. He needs to learn from Roussel.

        • NeverWas

          I think the difference there is that Boeser scored and had a great game (tons of chances and super noticable) and I barely even remember seeing goldy play last night

  • Kanuckhotep

    This contest had some positive takeaways for sure. 1) The 2nd period seemed like a 20 min PP for CAL and Marky help steal this one. 2) The Josh Leivo trade looks better all the time, on #17 and on Benning. 3) Canucks show far more character playing against their own Div/Conf where games have far more meaning than playing eastern teams particularly in far off time zones. Lastly shoot outs are great ONLY if you win them. 3 on 3 incredibly exciting where shoot out is lame but we’ll take this one. And Petey and Brock? Great chemistry.

  • Holly Wood

    Just noticed that U of Michigan has won both of their weekend games and are right back in the playoff mix in the Big Ten Conference. This may delay the arrival of Quinn Hughes.

  • Larionov18

    Biega was awful. He should never play another game in the NHL unless it is for the Oilers. Jake was almost as bad. Petey and Markstrom came to play though.

  • Steampuck

    Serious question: is Markstrom simply riding a hot hand or has his game evolved into what many projected/hoped it might become when he was branded a blue chip prospect? Since the beginning of December, he’s kept the Canucks in a number of games they didn’t deserve to get much out of. Or, put the question another way: when does a trend stop being a trend? Since the beginning of December, he’s been riding a .922 sv%. That remains a small sample, but there’s no denying the eye-test that he looks bigger and squarer and more confident or the data that says he’s put up 14 >.920 games in that run of 22 games.

    Also: has anybody else noticed the team’s recent history/penchant for riding goalies into the ground? How many games did Lack have to play after Luongo left? And this isn’t the first stint of Markstrom taking on not a lion’s share but the total load. I’m not saying you throw DiPietro into the furnace, but this habit of the third-string guy being a (very) fresh prospect is getting a little old. Surely there’s a Biega-type guy with pads who provide a little bit of spot duty on the cheap at every summer FA frenzy? Markstrom tends to play better when he’s playing more, but at some point the psychological boost of regular playing time runs up against the physical breakdown of overuse…

      • Steampuck

        What do I know? But I don’t think DiPietro plays against anybody unless Markstrom gets hurt in-game. Can you imagine what last night’s game would have looked like with an OHL goalie between the pipes? Can you imagine what that would have done to his confidence? For better or worse, Markstrom is likely playing out the next week or two before Demko is back and can spell him against softer opposition—ideally against Phoenix (21 Feb or 28 Feb). That’s not a knock against Demko, but rather a knock against the D. When he’s back, it will have been roughly a month since Demko last played.

    • tyhee

      I think December was a hot streak. I think what we’re seeing now is what Markstrom is, which is a capable #1 goalie, with his stats hurt by the number of scoring chances the Canucks have been giving up.

      Teams do tend to ride their #1 goalies and the Canucks rode Lack into the ground in early 2014, played Miller until he was tired and eventually hurt on several occasions and right now are doing the same with Markstrom. I think they should sign someone for the rest of this season, someone they don’t mind actually getting into a game, and let Markstrom get the odd night off. If they think Leighton is coming along then they can sign him for this season and add another pto to back up Kulbakov (or share net with him) until Demko gets back into the Canucks’ lineup.

      Treading water with only 1 healthy goalie in the system who is signed to an NHL contract, other than the junior emergency recall, is pushing it too far for my liking. Of course, if they’re confident that DiPietro can do the job and that trying won’t hurt his confidence they could play him a couple of games, but it is a huge leap from junior to the NHL and it strikes me as an unnecessary risk to take with a 19 year old who is expected to develop as a pro in the AHL next season. (Cue all the trashes by those who want to see the kids, ready or not.)

      • Holly Wood

        Demko should be back soon to take some of the load. DiPietro can soak up the experience and be all the better for it. Markstrom is a horse and capable of the workload for the next while. Unless of course he is injured

        • Doodly Doot

          Well said. Injuries are always the issue somehow, but even if Demko takes a bit longer to get back to playing, DiPietro can play if need be. I actually hope he gets a game. Even if it doesn’t go well it’s excellent experience. I doubt Green will do it though. The way Markstrom is playing, Travis has to go with him. No doubt Benning and his team are working on a solution.

    • DJ_44

      They are riding Markstrom because of Demko’s injury. It is a risk.

      They had what they thought was that guy in Bachman (whose play this year has been abysmal prior to injury). The goaltending is in transition. Next year will be fine with Demko as backup and DiPietro starting in Utica.

      Frankly, for all the “sky is falling” nonsense about not having another goalie on a NHL contract, I think having DiPietro coming in on an emergency callup is not a bad thing.

  • Kootenaydude

    Rittich arguably the best goalie in the NHL?!?! Come on now. Does he lead the league in wins? Goals against? Save percentage? He’s an average goalie on a hot team with a very good defence. No more. No less.

    • pheenster01

      Yes Fred, Horvat was indeed a steal. Besides Bo, Benning also hit a home run trading for Markstrom. The big Swede has really panned out for us. Great asset management. Good shout fred.

        • Bud Poile

          Banned PQW (pheenster01) is trolling you guys.It’s part of his Gillis love/Benning hate disorder.
          Bo has been a very good player for the Canucks but would be a #2 on a contender.
          NJ used Schneider as their #1 tender for 4.5 years,until he was injured.
          Luongo has been Florida’s #1 tender for 4.5 years.
          Markstrom emerged as a possible #1 just last year but has proven his ranking this year.
          The pundits here complained about the term and salaries of both Markstrom and Nilsson but Marky’s contract looks great here with Demko having arrived and Nilsson moved on.
          Markstrom cap hit: $3.67m thru 2020
          Luongo cap hit: $5.33m thru 2022
          Schneider cap hit: $6m thru 2022

      • Fred-65

        Gillis pulled off both of those trades. Sorry to say that Schneider is having problems this season but has played well for NJ and Luongo dspite a long career me thinks is coming close to it’s conclussion

        • pheenster01

          Yes, you are correct Fred – I am amazed, the GMMG legacy lives on…

          So let’s see

          Markstrom – starting number one goalie – Gillis
          Tanev – 1st pairing D – Gillis
          Hutton – 2nd pairing D – Gillis
          Edler – 1st pairing D – Nonis
          Horvat – 1C and future Captain – Gillis
          Pettersson – scouted by Thomas Gradin and recc’ed by Judd Brackett – hired by Pat Quinn and Gillis respectively.

          meanwhile…

          “Sutter and Gudbranson are foundational players” – Benning
          “Eriksson is an elite scorer and playmaker.” – Benning

          Makes you wonder why and how Benning still has a job don’t it!…

          • pheenster01

            Remind yourself that you are the same clueless clown who told us the likes of Pedan, Tryamkin, Boucher, Leipsic, Holm, Del Zotto and Poulliot are ALL going to be great for the Canucks!!!!!!!

            You are a complete joke who actually THINKS he knows hockey with utter nonsense like this…

            “I also shake my head regarding the lack of respect Loui receives. If you watch the game, he is easily a top six on any team in league.” DJ_44

            “Poulliot is an NHL defenseman. Hutton is not.” – DJ_44

            The list of your recorded embarrassments here is as endless as your narcissm. Go DJ Go…. AWAY!

  • Freud

    The bottom 6 last night had their doors blown off and have Benning’s fingerprints all over them. They were brought in to win in the playoffs, compete, bring a winning environment, mentor the young guys and shut other teams down? All direct quotes from the team. They are doing the opposite. This is not an opinion, the evidence is all there.

    Since December 1st, this team has been on the short end of the scoring chance differential in 22 of 27 games. Mostly due to the black hole the bottom six create. The young guys should be mentoring the bottom six.

    How can this management team be trusted with any decisions going forward? We can’t ignore or wish this stuff away simply because the team got lucky on some draft picks.

    Here’s the average scoring chance differential for the bottom six last night. God help us.

    Beagle/Eriksson/Motte – 0/9, 0/8, 0/9 – 0%

    Sutter/Grandlund/Virtanen – 4/8, 3/5, 6/9 – 37%

    As a comparison, the Jankowski and Ryan lines were mostly matched against Pettersson. Somehow they end up at 70% and 67% scoring chance diff.

    Good teams pay their bottom six half of what Vancouver does and get three times the performance.

    But we suspect Benning will remain loyal to his bottom six at the trade deadline. He’s mistaken standings for performance in the past and will do it again.

    The idiot owner has also shown no ability to understand the evidence and will continue to direct and support the failing decision making processes of Benning.

  • Doodly Doot

    Extreme Makeover!

    It’s time right now to trade Goldy, Granny, Guddy and Pouliot for picks, prospects and pucks. Addition by subtraction. Swap in Boucher (Goldy), MacEwen (Granny), Chatfield (Guddy) and Sautner (Pouliot). Each one of those guys is an upgrade in spirit and/or skill. Done. One more thing. I think Boucher on a line with Pete and Boeser could be very very good. Worst case scenario, he’s a place holder until Baertschi gets back to full health.

    In the mean time… why isn’t Pouliot with Tanev? Then Biega and Guddy can both play the right side together. How can that possibly be worse then it already is? Let Pettersson patrol the left side (and the right side too) while scoring goals.

    Watching Roussel on After Hours I’m now of the belief that not only is his contract not too long (or overpriced), but he might be a major piece of the future playoff success coming in a few years. I hadn’t realize that Burrows had such a significant impact on him or that he’s the #1 guy Green wanted in the off season. He also stated that he sort of scouted Vancouver and chose them because loves the emerging young team and wants to be part of it. Nice work management team!

  • Bud Poile

    Canucks in Dec.:
    8 wins 6 losses
    One was an OTL
    Three games were one goal losses
    17 points out of a maximum 28 points
    61% winning record

    Canucks in Jan.:
    4 wins 5 losses
    One OTL. One S/O loss
    10 points out of a maximum 18 points
    55% winning record

    Canucks in Feb.:
    2 wins 3 losses
    One OTL
    Three games were one goal losses
    5 points out of a maximum 10 points
    50% winning record

    Canucks record since January:
    14 wins 10 losses 4 OTL

    The Bottom Line:

    32 points out of a maximum 56 points
    57% winning record

    No #1 d-man
    No #1 LW
    No back-up goaltender

    • Bud Poile

      Should read:

      Canucks record since December (not January):
      14 wins 10 losses 4 OTL
      The Bottom Line:
      32 points out of a maximum 56 points
      57% winning record

    • Freud

      Wow Bud. Some fine excuse making and cheerleading.

      It’s 2019. If you still can’t understand results often don’t match performance, you should be over at canucks.com with the other casual fans.

      Since Dec 1. Outchanced in 22 of 27 games.

      Since Oct 1. 30th in the league in scoring chance differential.

  • Rodeobill

    That second period was like watching Sisyphus push a boulder up a mountain to watch to roll down again over and over. Calgary has really developed and this was one of our hardest matches this year, Marky pulled it out for us for sure. It shows you the difference a solid D core has one zone time, games like this one should help JB and co. realize where we need to keep rebuilding. I thought this was one of Goldy’s better games this year, his effort was there and so was his creativity. They should get Guddy to do sponsorship ads for Safeway score and win giveaways, because that is the thing we can always rely on him to do each time he has the puck. I feel like we are almost there in the rebuild. Forwards are there, with some still coming in the system, our goaltending has become one of our greatest strengths, and both those will even improve with a better top 4 D. That’s it, and, a little depth here and there. We need a couple more D with Quinn and OJ, and then we can fill in extra pieces with FA and the like.