It was a battle of Pacific Division rivals tonight as the Canucks looked to extend their winning streak at home to ten games. Unfortunately, the Flames had other plans and extinguished the Canucks by a score of 6 to 2. The Canucks lost their first home game since December 17th and fourth game in a row.
The team once again lacked the intensity and urgency needed to mount a comeback in the third period after losing the scoring chance battle at 5-on-5. The Flames had the advantage in shots and quality chances, generating 15 high danger chances for compared to the Canucks’ seven. Markstrom made some big saves as per usual, but once again couldn’t get the goal support necessary.
The Canucks got off to a fast and furious start when Bo Horvat and Quinn Hughes set up Tanner Pearson, whose quick release beat David Rittich for the game’s opening goal just 34 seconds in. Shortly thereafter, J.T. Miller and Matthew Tkachuk dropped the gloves in an energetic tilt.
The Flames had the momentum for the first half of the period, which culminated in Derek Ryan tying the game. Next, Tkachuk drove to the net, and whacked the puck past Markstrom while Alex Edler was caught stick-less and helplessly watched. After getting outplayed for the first half of the period, the Canucks put together a strong final eight minutes. Adam Gaudette got an assist from the Hockey Gauds when the puck bounced off the end boards directly to him. He didn’t hesitate and buried it to end the first period tied at two.
Pettersson seemed to be struggling right off the opening faceoff. He was stretching his back out and looked a step slower than usual. As the game went on, he shook off whatever was ailing him, but wasn’t fully himself. It didn’t help that he also didn’t seem to be getting the calls tonight, in what’s becoming something of a pattern for the Canucks’ star forward. This time, it was a slew foot courtesy of fellow Swede Mikael Backlund, who was hunting the wounded Petey all game.
The Flames took the lead in the second period when a screened Markstrom was beat by Dillon Dube, which made for the Flames’ third goal on ten shots. After Markstrom appeared to be showing us his mortality, he shut the door for the remainder of the period, keeping the Canucks down by a single goal.
Brock Boeser has had 10 shots in his last five games. Tonight, he was shooting with swagger in the first two periods. He had three shots and it felt like tonight might be the night he ends his slump. However, after getting tangled up with Mangiapane, he left the game immediately with what appeared to be an upper body injury and would not return.
Captain Bo was in full bull mode tonight, he led the team with five shots on net. He was a force dangling up the middle and driving to the net but he couldn’t finish. The Flames had their first power play of the game in the third period. After a couple clutch saves by Markstrom, and just as the Pettersson penalty had expired, the villainous Milan Lucic scored making it 4-2. All hope of a comeback was dashed when Sean Monahan finished off a tic-tac-toe passing play past Marky. Unfortunately for the Canucks, the Flames weren’t done scoring yet. Travis Green pulled Marky with three minutes left and the goal differential took a hit when the Flames scored one last goal making the final 6-2.
The power play woes continued tonight, as the team went 0-3 on the man advantage and only generated six shots in total. The Canucks top power play unit has been quiet and its a cause for concern. In the last 21 games, PP1 has only scored six goals. In that span, J.T. Miller and Quinn Hughes have two goals, Elias Pettersson and Bo Horvat have one goal, and Boeser is goalless. Now that 5-on-5 goals are hard to come by for the Canucks, they need to shake things up in an attempt to get the power play back up to the standard they set earlier this season. Adam Gaudette deserves a shot on the top unit and if Boeser is out for a while it may force Green’s hand.
The Canucks were out-chanced once again tonight. In their previous eight games, they have lost the scoring chance battle 5-on-5. In their last six games when 5-on-5, Jake Virtanen, Antoine Roussel and Loui Eriksson have 0 points. They are still hanging on to the top spot in the Pacific Division but only by one point now. It’s time to give Justin Bailey a chance in the lineup because they need a burst of energy to shake things up and help motivate the team. He has 40 points in 45 games with the Utica Comets.
The fourth line is struggling, especially without Tyler Motte in the line-up. Tonight they had a team-low 33.33 CF%. Given the fourth line’s difficulties of late, I think Zack MacEwen deserves a shot in Tim Schaller’s stead. He would bring more energy and effort than the bad passes off the mark and weak shots we have grown accustomed to. In light of the recent slump, Bailey and MacEwen should both draw in next game to give the forward group a much-needed shakeup.
Sedin week unofficially commenced tonight, with a live Abba tribute band entertaining fans in Rogers Arena.
Canucks fans have had the honour of watching Daniel and Henrik grow from awkward young kids to leading the Canucks on a memorable cup run and setting the franchise record in goals and assists respectively.
The Sedins are two of the most skilled players in Canucks history. Henrik won the Art Ross and Hart trophies in 2010. Daniel followed him in 2011, winning the the Art Ross and Ted Lindsay Trophies, and both players were 2006 Olympic gold medalists with Sweden. They are incredibly talented to the point they have even gotten former linemates paid after a successful season alongside them.
The twins are always competing. They have a competitive drive that cannot be matched even off the ice. Whether it be setting the record for the Grouse Grind at around 32 minutes, leading the league in scoring, or running marathons after retirement.
As great as they were on the ice, the way they conducted themselves off the ice has been even more legendary. In 2010 ,along with their wives, they donated 1.5 million dollars to B.C. Children’s hospital. Canucks fans have been extremely privileged to have the Sedins decide to make Vancouver their home.
The memories and the imprint the Sedins have left upon us will last forever. Get your tissues ready, because this week will hit you right in the feels.