Photo Credit: Canucks / Twitter

Vancouver Canucks vs Dallas Stars Post Game Recap


After a tough shootout loss to an ailing, borderline-AHL team in New Jersey Friday night, despite a quality start from Jacob Markstrom, the Canucks look to rebound against a Dallas squad that finds themselves sitting in a wildcard spot just trying to hold on.

For what it’s worth I’m still drooling over that absurd Pettersson shootout goal:

The notable lineup story today was Goldobin getting a seat in the pressbox in exchange for Tim Schaller, who had yet to score for Vancouver after putting up a career high 12 goals last year for Boston.

1st Period:

Tim Schaller scored in the first minute after winning a puck battle behind the net. He circled around uncontested to the front of the net and flung the puck at former Bruins teammate Anton Khudobin where it trickled threw an open seam under the arm.

Vancouver went to PK at the 6:30 mark. The Stars top unit kept things mostly to the outside. While Markstrom looked sharp to start the game, the Canucks caught  an early break on the PK. In a broken play in front of the net with Markstrom scrambling in front, the puck kicked out of the crease and away from a wide open net because Jamie Benn threw it into the post from less than five feet away.

The Canucks were the recipient of more good fortune when, because of an errant pass, they got a change 1:05 into the PK. The second power play unit for Dallas was considerably less dangerous than the first until L’Esperance fanned on a one-timer with ten seconds to go and threw a point-blank shot off a rebound over the glass.

The teams continued to trade chances with one of the most notable occasions being when Jake Virtanen walked through the Dallas defense at the midway point of the first for a short breakaway, but fired high over both goaltender and crossbar.

Just a minute later Schaller potted his second of the night, burying a one-time feed off the stick of Elias Pettersson from the top of the left circle. Schaller’s shot just beat Khudobin’s leg pad to the inside of the far post.

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Continuing the one-and-done, end-to-end hockey that defined the first 10 minutes of play, Tyler Seguin fired a shot from the left circle just over Markstrom’s shoulder and the crossbar after he received a long stretch pass at the blue line and marched in without much pressure.

Similar to the sequence that led to the Canucks’ second goal, Boeser forced another turnover on the back check with six minutes to go in the first but fired the shot into the Dallas netminder’s leg pads. The hounding defensive play of the Pettersson lined was a hallmark of the first and is certainly the type of play you’d like to see from their energy lines as well.

There was a peculiar stoppage at 14:30 when Khudobin lost a skate blade and, because the referees either didn’t notice or didn’t care, he proceeded to push the net off its moorings. This should technically have led to a delay of game penalty as the only valid reason an equipment malfunction can lead to a stoppage of play without penalty is if the mask has come loose of its own accord.

The Hintz-Seguin-Benn line had been the main source of trouble for the Canucks in the first and it got worse with two minutes to go when the Dallas coach, desperate for some offense, swapped Hintz for Benn on the LW.

2nd Period:

We kicked off the second period on a snipe hunt, continuing our search for the elusive Tim Schaller hat-trick.

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Dallas had the only three shots on net in the first four minutes of the period, not including an in-close crossbar again for L’Esperance. The Stars modified second line – Hintz swapped for Benn – was circling Markstrom like s shiver of sharks.

With fifteen minutes to play in the second, Vancouver caught their first break of the game. Seguin blew a tire at blue line leading to an Elias Pettersson breakaway. As Pettersson dragged Klingberg, the trailing defender, down the ice he managed to make a nice feed to Sautner who was stopped with the blocker. Khudobin again got his own set of rules, however, as he threw his stick at the puck but received no penalty. In this case the reward should have been an automatic goal and a 3-0 lead, but instead the Canucks were left with an offensive zone faceoff.

Valeri Nichushkin, in the midst of the least remarkable season in NHL history, nearly got Dallas on the board at the half-way mark of the game as he threw a puck at the net that bounced dangerously off Brock Boeser, but ended up harmlessly in Markstrom’s glove.

The Canucks received their first Power Play opportunity of the night when Jamie Benn attempted to skate through Markstrom behind the Vancouver net. Markstrom didn’t leave a whole lot of room between himself and the boards for a man the size of Jamie Benn to get by.

Their first shot on the man advantage came forty second in and was a harmless lob from the blue line. That was followed by Boeser one-timer that stopped dead on the leg pad of Khudobin. The Canucks were unable to capitalize but, if we’re looking for positives, did a remarkable job of getting almost every shot attempt through traffic and on net, finishing with four total shots on goal.

With the Dallas fans heading for the concession stands during the final minute of play, a botched dump-in by Tyler Motte led to a quick counter for Valeri Nichushkin and Jamie Benn.  The Canucks technically had an extra man on what was technically a 2-on-3 rush, but was essentially a 2-on-2, when Benn snapped a wrist shot past the blocker of Markstrom while using Edler as a screen.

3rd Period:

Like the second, =the Stars came out pressing again in the third. Nichushkin nearly scored on the rush, but then drew a trip from Stecher at the 1:15 mark of the third.

The power play was a firing squad from Dallas’ top and second tier shooters on Markstrom. They ran their Power Play from behind the net and were making cross-seam passes at will. The Vancouver goaltender looked like his bubble-hockey equivalent, sliding quickly from post-to-post, hoping to just get in front of the one-time shots from each circle.

The Canucks were again able to keep the Dallas special teams unit off the board and hold on to their 2-1 lead thanks in large part to the play of their goaltender.

Loui Eriksson, who at this point you might not have realized was playing, much less in a top-6 role, broke up a dangerous scoring chance for Dallas with a stick lift on the back check in his defensive zone with 12 minutes left to go in the game.

The pressure from the home team continued to build as made evident by the increase in shot attempts for as well as turnovers and icings forced. Outside the Canucks top unit, there was little answer for the increased load the Stars placed on the Canucks defense. In the last thirteen minutes I counted two sequences of sustained zone time for the Pettersson line and one for the Horvat line.

Finally and unavoidably, on their thirty-eighth shot on net, Dallas broke through.

Taylor Fedun received a puck at the top of the left circle with enough time to tee it up before shooting. He waited until the Stars were able to park both Edler and Schaller in addition to Hintz and Radulov in front of Markstrom. While Markstrom was able to get a piece of the shot, it managed to trickle through to tie things up with four minutes to play.


The Canucks were able to hang on to their goaltender for dear life and draw things out into overtime.

Pettersson drew a trip from Jamie Benn a minute into the period. Benn inexplicably stopped playing upon committing the penalty which left Stecher wide open at the top of the slot with the puck. Khudobin made what might have been his best save of the night when he flashed the glove on the high wrist shot from the defenseman.

Vancouver’s best opportunity on the power play was a one timer on a cross-slot pass that Pettersson fired into the side of the net. The had at least three other quality chances, one each from Edler and Stecher sliding down the weak side for the one timer, and one from Boeser as he stepped stepped into a shot just above the hash marks.

Upon Benn’s return Markstrom made consecutive impressive saves on Benn, Hintz, and finally on Seguin with 1.9 seconds remaining.


The hockey gods smiled on Vancouver today as Markstrom carried them to a shootout. He proceeded to stop Seguin, Radulov, Benn, and Hintz in quick order.

For Vancouver, Pettersson fired his attempt off the crossbar and Boeser fired high over the crossbar. Tanner Pearson at least manage to hit the target, but fired the puck into Khudobin’s glove.

Leivo finally picked up the win for Markstrom firing the puck high blocker past the Stars’ backup goaltender.


There’s not a lot to say about this one. We’ve heard the story over and over this year, thankfully, Markstrom got a ‘W’ for his efforts, but Vancouver nearly let another sensational game from their goaltender slip away. On a positive note, we had two more Pettersson penalty shot/shoot out attempts and a multi-goal game from an energy guy.

Even Strength Expected Goals courtesy @evolving-hockey

The cumulative expected goals chart really tells the story tonight. The Canucks let their foot off the gas after the second Schaller goal and let Dallas take over the game. They had no answer for the home team’s top two lines who went through Vancouver’s top defensive unit like a revolving door. The matchup chart below makes this abundantly clear.

Matchups courtesy @hockeyviz

What’s also startling that we see here, is that every Vancouver forward unit besides the Pettersson line got rolled by their peers on Dallas. So while we can see distinct tiers in matchups from Travis Green, it appears as though none of them were at all favorable. Is this a result of poor roster construction and lack of depth? Or maybe is it a result of poor utilization? When you compared minutes played between the Vancouver and Dallas second and third lines, they’re nearly identical, so why the big difference in results?

It’s also interesting to note that the bottom two defensive units from the visiting team were much more balanced in their shot shares against Dallas’ forward corps. This is an odd result given the lopsided performance of the forwards. There’s really only one way this could have happened and it’s easy enough to verify:


Boeser Player Summary courtesy @hockeyviz

It’s clear here that Boeser played a majority of his ice time with Sautner and Schenn. Let’s check Pettersson for good measure:

Petterson Player Summary courtesy @hockeyviz

It’s even more dramatic here, look how little time this unit spent against Dallas’ top forward unit, which also meant away from Edler and Biega. For comparison, I’ve tweeted the player summaries for Edler and Biega here:

Now this isn’t a rag-on-Edler-and-Biega thread, but more so an observation of how matchups can lead to counter productive results. If you know your best forward unit is going to bring up your bottom defenders, once you have a two goal lead, why not play them against the other teams’ top forward lines with your top defenders? I didn’t think either of the bottom two pairings played poorly enough to warrant such drastic splits, again, especially with a two goal lead.

I think Travis Green might have over-leveraged his top defensive unit unnecessarily tonight and got away with it. Thanks, of course, to the stellar play of Markstrom. Besides Frederick Anderson in Toronto, and Gibson in Anaheim, I’m not sure there’s another goaltender who has compensated more for his team’s lack-luster defensive play. And only Gibson has less to show for his efforts than Markstrom, whose stellar play has surely been a bright spot for Vancouver fans this year.

Up Next:

Vancouver has an early start tomorrow in Chicago against the team with the highest points percentage in the league since 1/20. Chicago has been on a tear largely due to the emergence of Dylan Strome who was reunited with junior linemate Alex DeBrincat after his acquisition in exchange for Nick Schmaltz.

Chicago also welcomed back Corey Crawford, who recently posted a shutout against Montreal on the 16th with a career high 48 saves. I’d lean towards Crawford getting the start tomorrow, but would certainly welcome an appearance from Cam Ward.

  • Kanuckhotep

    Pearson and Leivo continue to look like good additions to the Canucks and give them a full camp next year and I think they’ll be a better team for it. Marky continues to shine and Petey and Brock looking more like a Dynamic Duo of the future. Now get a left winger to fit in with them permanently and next year look out.

  • Braindead Benning

    Markstrom is clearly the MVP of this team… I would argue that EP40 should be hands down however, when he went on his slump Markstrom has carried this team… If not for him, the team will be in Ottawa and LA for the best lottery odds

  • Bud Poile

    Markstrom has been awesome and all winning clubs have great tenders.
    Markstrom’s winning record has been overshadowed by the backups losing records.
    If those twelve losses were cut in half the Canucks would be tied with St. Louis.

    • SeattleSockeye

      Pathetic. You have been throwing Markstrom under the bus for years just because he is a GILLIS signing… now he is ‘awesome’ and ‘great’!?… ffs move on to CDC or PITB with the other unwanted clowns. Your trolling and backstabbing are not appreciated here by real canucks fans who are consistently downvoting your trolling nonsense…

      Bud Poile
      2 years ago
      TRASH IT! 9
      CHEERS 1

      Markstrom is not doing the job and nobody is going to line up to take him and his salary so I hope they expose him and pray Vegas takes him.

      Bud Poile
      2 years ago
      TRASH IT! 11
      CHEERS 2

      Markstrom is not an NHL starter and the team should move on without him. Expose him and hope he gets taken by Vegas.

      You simply could not make it up guys (links available if required)

      • Bud Poile

        Gillis’ gel boy,I threw him under the bus because he was the patented Markstrom ‘softie’.
        This is his first year since 2013 that he’s excelled and shown he’s capable of carrying the team.
        Five losing years as a Canuck and now he’s a winning goaltender.

      • PotKettleBlack

        Wow unbelievable hatchet job there.

        He is just the same about Hutton and Horvat. Bud’s act is as boring and stale as Don Cherry. Time to move on old goat, the game, like life, has passed you by bro.

          • PotKettleBlack

            Are you bi-polar or is there more than one person using your account bro? Your rhetoric changes with every post, it’s beyond weird and tbh very concerning…

            Evidence 1 (posted YESTERDAY)
            “Canucks aren’t going anywhere without a succession of draft picks /prospects that will lay a basis for future success.” Bud Poile

            preceeded by…

            Evidence 2
            “The team is rebuilt and competitive within just two down years. From talent waster/franchise destroyer to rebuilt,exciting hockey squad in record time. Ungrateful morons” – Bud Poile

            WTF i mean c’mon… explain yourself to the group and then go get help. Seriously.

          • Braindead Benning

            You have been asked many times about if you were a true “FAN” during the 09/10/11/12 Canucks dominance But all you do is refelct all questions and continue with being high on JB jock strap

      • Kootenaydude

        If you watched Markstrom play over the years. You would know he “SUCKED”! Every game he let in a guaranteed soft goal. This is his first good year as a goalie. This year he deserves praise for his play. Other years not so much.

    • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

      Pretty sure the Hawks first of three cups was won in spite of Anti Niemis play. By no means a “great tinder”.

      Sharks great teams of the last decade all had Nabokov in net. Far from a “great tinder”.

      Tampa Bay’s great teams of a few yrs ago all had Ben Bishop in net. Far from a “great tinder”.

      Even the Canucks team in the early 90s had Captain Kirk in net, far from a “great tinder”.

  • Killer Marmot

    The thrown goalie stick was one of the most blatantly blown calls I’ve seen in some time. Keep in mind that that the rule does not require the act to be intentional. What were the zebras thinking?

        • Bud Poile

          Yes,and in real time Petey thought it wasn’t thrown.
          The ref was behind the goal line and Green never contested it.
          Would have liked to have seen the call go for Petey,but as he also said, “We won the game.”

          • Killer Marmot

            Since when is what the victimized player the one to make the call?

            Further, Petersson was in the worst position to judge whether the stick was thrown. After he passed the goalie, Pettersson was intent on not running into the boards, not checking to see if the goalie stick was sliding down the ice. The officials, on the other hand, had the side view. They could clearly see that the goalie stick had left the goalie’s hands and was sliding towards the other end.

            Watch the replay. It’s blatant.

          • Gino's 3rd Cousin

            You could read Green’s lips as he was talking to the ref. He said “He threw his stick” or something close to that. Did he contest it enough? Hard to say, but he did let them know.

      • canuckfan

        It does not matter whether it was intentional or not the stick definitely left his grip and the stick hit the target or what anyone thought happened. Just as a high stick that wasn’t intentional is a penalty players are responsible for their sticks goalie included.

        • Killer Marmot

          25.4 Infractions – During the Course of a Penalty Shot – A goal will be
          awarded when a goalkeeper attempts to stop a penalty shot by
          throwing his stick or any other object at the player taking the shot or
          by dislodging the goal (either deliberately or accidentally)

          Thus it says explicitly in the rules that intent doesn’t matter.

          • Me

            Actually, much as I think the stick was thrown, and the refs owed us a goal, the rule does not say accidentally throwing the stick is an auto-goal.

            The rule has 2 parts, 1) If the goaltender attempts to stop a penalty shot by throwing his stick or any other object at the player taking the shot…
            “attempts” implies intent. So if he’s throwing something at the player without the intent of stopping the penalty shot, he’s in the clear.
            2) or by dislodging the goal (either deliberately or accidentally)
            Here intent doesn’t matter.

            It’s not written as clearly as it should be, but I think that’s the way it’s meant to read. Still, I think it was pretty clearly intentional, as Petey was still too far away for a poke check.

            Will we see a rash of “accidentally” thrown sticks on penalty shots now? I sure hope so. It would serve the NHL right to have to sort this mess out.

          • Killer Marmot

            That’s not a bad point, actually. It does use the word “attempt”. But then does the word “attempt” also apply to dislodging the goal (as it seems to)? If so then it’s not meant to suggest intent.

            The NHL has some rewriting to do.

          • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

            Unfortunately it also says “throwing his stick”. Therefore this leaves the room needed for referees to ‘interpret’ the rule as they see fit.

            Hence the stupidity present within the rule.

    • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

      Was anyone honestly surprised that the situation room in Toronto was closed on a Sunday? Wonder how they would have acted had that occured in a Leafs game.

  • Burnabybob

    I don’t mean to be Debbie Downer, but these wins are kind of meaningless at this point, and will only result in a lower draft pick for the Canucks. In the words of Mickey from Rockey, “stay down!”

  • DJ_44

    Why is Stecher out in overtime? The last person you want shoting the puck, yet the player that always shots the puck. Put out …… Biega ….. at least he can shot.

    • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

      Agreed wholeheartedly. I watched Stretcher take a ‘hard slapper’ from the point in the game vs NJ the other day and you can literally watch the puck as it travels to the net it’s so slow.

      I wonder if he can even top 80mph?

  • canuckfan

    I do not think points in these last games are going to change the draft position that much except for maybe the one against the Ducks could put us either ahead (which we are at this point now) or just behind the Ducks. The lottery selection will have more of an influence on drafting order more likely than the standings.
    I agree with the comments that Markstrom should be the teams MVP he has been lights out next year we should be better with a healthy lineup and if Markstrom plays as he is now the team will definitely make their way up the standings but would they make the playoffs not quite sure I believe that will take another season adding more depth to the system having young prospects fighting for spots rather than plumbers trying to make the lineup. With more depth I can see the way the team plays will change from a defensive system to an attack system. Maybe once Hughes joins the lineup this year our game plan will change. When the lineup was healthy we had an attack game the injuries has forced the team into playing more of a shutdown hoping for opportunities.
    As for Goldobin he will be back just as Jake and Hutton were with a new slate and if he comes out playing his butt off we will be in for some exciting times.

    • Kootenaydude

      Mister Canuckfan I have to agree Marky is responsible for more wins than anyone on the team. As for depth. We’re finally starting to get a few pieces in Sautner, Brisebois and MacKewan. Not the best, but they seem like capable backups.

  • Puck Viking

    Why is Demko not getting starts?

    Hopefully they ride him the rest of the season.

    On a positive note we have zero worries about a number 1 goalie moving forward for the next 5 to7 years hopefully.

  • TheRealPB

    It’s a big odd that you say we lost to an AHL calibre team riddled with injuries in NJ and then don’t have the same view of us. How do you bang on about over-leveraging the “top defensive unit” of the Canucks without acknowledging that you are talking about Edler and Biega? We iced a lineup with 4 AHL defensemen last night (Biega, Sautner, Brisebois and Schenn), even if a couple of them might be borderline and a couple might have potential. Frankly, I was surprised Dallas wasn’t more dominant.

    Heiskenan looks pretty fantastic but otherwise any of these teams that squeaks into the playoffs is going to get stomped by SJ, Calgary, Vegas, Winnipeg or Nashville. The drop-off between the top tier teams and these pretenders is vast.

  • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

    Green is a young coach, he’ll hopefully learn and adjust as he gains experience. Shouldn’t his assistant coaches be filling him in on this data however in game?

    Would have been better to start Demko vs Stars no?