Photo Credit: © Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Postgame: Sunrise, Sunset

The Canucks entered tonight’s game looking to put their 9-2 drubbing at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning firmly in the rearview mirror. Instead, they were arguably even worse than they did two nights ago, and looked nothing like the team that just rattled off seven wins between December 19 and January 4.

There really isn’t much to say about this one. The Canucks got smoked. They caught a tough break when the Panthers first two shots of the night went past Thatcher Demko, who looked a little off-balance tonight. They were able to weather the storm throughout most of the rest of the first period, but after the third goal they completely ran out of gas. The Panthers would add another two, and save for a nice goal by Tyler Motte, the Canucks looked dead in the water for the rest of the game.


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Game Notes

  • The Canucks were actually far worse than the 5-2 score indicated. They were outshot 49-32, 34-26 at 5-on-5, and 8-0(!!!) on the PK. Thatcher Demko obviously didn’t have a great night, but if not for a couple of nice stops in the second period the Canucks easily could be coming off back-to-back 9-2 drubbings.
  • Quinn Hughes had a rare off night, turning the puck over on the Panthers’ first goal. He wasn’t alone, however. Every Canucks’ defender was on the ice for a goal against tonight, and only Tyler Myers finished the night in the black by shot-share. The team as a whole looked very out of sorts tonight defensively and got caught on a couple of bad pinches in the offensive zone to boot. The team has been a force to be reckoned with offensively this year, but they’ve needed their goaltenders to bail them out to keep their heads above water in the Western Conference. The last two games have been an indication of how poorly things can go when that doesn’t happen.
  • Where exactly did Noel Acciari come from? It seems like only yesterday that he was fighting Bo Horvat and hockey twitter was roasting the Panthers for giving a career fourth-liner a modified NTC and locking him up for three years. His season has been reminiscent of a circa 2015 Brandon Pirri, scoring 17 goals and just 3 assists in 41 games this year. The Panthers have an interesting history of getting career years out of players who where considered depth pieces before coming to Florida. Jonathan Marchessault is the obvious example, but Frank Vatrano had 39 points last year as well, and even Brett Connolly (who admittedly had something of a breakout season in Washington last year) is also on pace to surpass the career-high he set last season.
  • The lone bright spot for the Canucks tonight was the play of the fourth line. Tim Schaller, Jay Beagle, and Tyler Motte were +3 in unblocked shot attempts and finished the night with an xGF% of 61.75% when they were on the ice together. Motte also scored the team’s only nice goal of the night, and was one of the only forwards who looked consistently engaged throughout the game. That line has been getting caved in recently, but they were playing relatively well up until mid-December. If they can consistently play the way they did tonight, it will bode well for the team’s playoff chances.