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Photo Credit: © Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

CanucksArmy Postgame: Jacob Markstrom is a Legend

Sedin week is upon us and the Vancouver Canucks were hoping to get it started on the right foot after a tough showing against the Flames on Saturday.

Monday was “Legends Night” at Rogers Arena, the first instalment of Sedin Week. All the Sedin memories have made their return to our social media feed this week. You love to see it.

Daniel and Henrik Sedin meant so much to so many fans and the least the current Canucks could do is play with the same heart that Hank and Danny have.

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Brock Boeser suffered an injury on Saturday night and would be out of the lineup for at least two games. With the injury to Boeser that meant that one of Zack MacEwen or Justin Bailey would draw into the lineup. Instead of Travis Green deciding to pick between the two Comet Fellas, he decided to pull Tim Schaller out of the lineup and throw both MacEwen and Bailey into the lineup.

I was excited to see Justin Bailey in an NHL game for the first time this season. He has played in 63 NHL over his professional career. Bailey was second round pick of the Buffalo Sabres in the 2013 draft and is currently the fastest player in the AHL. He is 24 years old and signed with the Canucks organization to get opportunities like tonight.

Bailey had been on a hot streak in Utica before his call-up, including a run where he had three hattricks in four games. The question is can he use his speed at the NHL level to have success or will his hands not be able to keep up to his feet when there are NHL defenders all over him.

After a week of Canucks fans screaming for him on Twitter, tonight was the night we finally got to see Bailey get his shot.

Lines

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Thoughts From Twitter

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The pregame had a 15 minute story on the Sedins and it brought back all the feels. These two guys mean so much to this city over the past 20 years and they should be honoured to the max.

The Canucks unveiled the new look of the retired numbers in the rafters. The colours were changed to showcase each era of the Vancouver Canucks. Smyl in yellow, Linden and Bure in white and Naslund in dark blue. The new banners looked great and I’m sure number 22 and 33 will look even better on Wednesday.

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After all the love, the current Canucks had a game to play against the Nashville Predators. So it’s about that time.

Let’s go!

First Period

Zack MacEwen made his way up onto the second line with Bo Horvat and JT Miller. Elias Pettersson would play with Tanner Pearson and Jake Virtanen. Adam Gaudette is centering a line of Antoine Roussel and Brandon Sutter and with that Justin Bailey would come into the lineup on the fourth line with Jay Beagle and Loui Eriksson.

Justin Bailey made an immediate impact on the game as he looked to beat out an icing call but the refs called it icing after a questionable call. The crowd roared and we were off to a quick start on Monday night.

The Canucks were beginning to have some sustained pressure and since it’s Sedin week the Canucks had a shift that included a slap pass and a cycle that found it’s way to Zack MacEwen in the slot and he fired his second of the year by Pekka Rinne. 1-0 Canucks.

The assists on the goal went to JT Miller and Troy Stecher.

Halfway through the period, the Canucks were controlling the pace of play. Jacob Markstrom had to make one nice save at the 10 minute mark but the Canucks were in the zone for most of the first 10 minutes of play. The lines were looking pretty good together in the early stages.

Justin Bailey continued to make an impact on this game when he drew the first penalty of the game with 9:02 remaining in the period. Bailey’s skating is next level. I’ve said it for a while now but he is the fastest skater in the AHL. Early on in this game he was proving that he belongs at this level. It is still very early but there were some signs that he could make a difference in an NHL game.

The first powerplay included Brandon Sutter in the place of Brock Boeser and because it’s Sedin week things are going to go the Canucks way. Quinn Hughes sent a pass over to Elias Pettersson and instead of ripping a one-timer he channelled his inner Sedin and fired a slap pass onto the stick of Sutter who was parked in front of the net and Sutter would tip it by Rinne. 2-0 Canucks.

Tonight is going to be a good night.

Brandon Sutter brought the puck in to the corner and Antoine Roussel did some great work on the boards to get the puck to Adam Gaudette who sent it back to the point. Jordie Benn was waiting there and he fired a seeing eye shot on net that made it’s way past Rinne. 3-0 Canucks.

Jordie Benn needed this one after a tough game on Saturday night. You love to see it.

 

The Canucks finished the period with 16 shots on net. They had a huge first period, putting up three goals as they completely out played the Predators.

Shots were 16-12 and the score was 3-0 after 20 minutes. 

Second Period

The Canucks came out in the second right where they left off in the first. A shot was fired by Alex Edler, it bounced off of Elias Pettersson’s butt and then hit Dante Fabbro before getting behind Pekka Rinne. This would be the last goal that got behind Rinne as he would get the hook and Juuse Saros would take over. Stecher and Edler would get assists on the Pettersson goal and the Canucks were now leading 4-0.

Justin Bailey continued to look impressive. He backed up his early start with a couple of great shifts in the second period. He can absolutely fly down the boards.

Tyler Myers had a bad hit in the corner, Auston Watson took exception and challenged Myers to a fight. They dropped the gloves and held onto each other for 10 seconds or so. The result of the play was a cross checking penalty on Tyler Myers that put the Predators on the power play.

The Predators set up their powerplay and went to work. Craig Smith was on the doorstep when he slid one under Jacob Markstrom. The Preds had a tough hill to climb but they took their first step up said hill with a powerplay goal. 4-1 Canucks after the Preds goal.

The Preds kept the pressure on the Canucks and Fabbro fired a shot on net that found it’s way to brother Mikael Granlund’s stick and he scored his 13th goal of the season. The Preds were right back in this game and the score was 4-2 Canucks after another Predators goal.

The Preds almost made it a one goal game but Jacob Markstrom made a huge glove save on Rocco Grimaldi. Grimaldi cam streaking in on the left side before crossing over the right side and getting a shot up but Markstrom was their with the glove to try and swing the momentum back in to the Canucks corner.

Jacob Markstrom was starting to take over the game at the midway point. Markstrom made a couple huge saves when the Predators went to the powerplay with just over 10 minutes remaining in the period. He kept his good game going as he stopped Victor Arvidsson on a clean breakaway and the Canucks were able to get up the ice quickly. Pettersson had a good chance in tight but Saros was playing well so far in the second period and stopped him in tight.

With five minutes left in the second period the Predators were outshooting the Canucks 16-5 and it looked like the ice was slanted.

Jacob Markstrom made another massive save on Colton Sissons with just under four minutes remaining in the period. He had faced a barrage of shots in the second period and though he let two get behind him he had made some huge saves to keep the lead for the Canucks. So far in the game he has to be the first star.

With exactly two minutes left in the period, Quinn Hughes walked the line as he does and fired a shot off of JT Miller’s knee and it bounced into the back of the net for Miller’s 22nd goal of the season. Quinn Hughes got his second point of the night and the Canucks were now leading by a score of 5-2.

The Predators fired 19 shots at Markstrom in the second period, including 13 scoring chances. Markstrom basically named himself first star in that period. The Canucks needed to have some more energy in the final frame.

The Canucks were out-shot 19-7 in the second period but come out of it leading 5-2.

Here’s how the 5-on-5 pace of play looked after two periods.

Third Period

Colton Sissons slammed into Jacob Markstrom 69 seconds into the third period and after Horvat and Tanev jumped Sissons, the Canucks would get a powerplay early in the period. The second unit began the powerplay but halfway through Quinn Hughes jumped on the ice because he wanted another point. Quinn walked the line, sent it back to Jake Virtanen and he fired a rocket of a shot from the point for his 16th of the season. Canucks lead 6-2.

That is a new career high in goals for Virtanen and a third assist for Hughes in this game.

With that powerplay goal the Canucks are now 10/11 on the powerplay against the Predators this season. An absolutely ridiculous stat.

The Predators coach took a rare bench minor with 14:20 remaining in the game and the Canucks were hoping to keep their powerplay running hot. Alas, the Canucks weren’t able to get one on this powerplay but just as the penalty expired they would draw another penalty and go right back to the powerplay.

The Canucks weren’t able to get much going on the second power play. Just as it ended, they took a penalty of their own and the Preds would now get a chance with the man advantage.

The game had a bit of rough stuff near the end of the game including a game misconduct being given to Jake Virtanen and a four minute double minor to Antoine Roussel after he slashed a Predator player a few time before throwing his stick into the crowd. Our social media guy was on the scene when the fan got the stick and chugged a beer.

The Fancies

 

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Top Performers

Jacob Markstrom was the top performer in this game. He was outstanding tonight, making a half dozen amazing saves that ended up having the crowd chanting “Marky, Marky, Marky” for the final few minutes. Markstrom stopped 36 of the 38 shots he faced tonight and with this game he got one step closer to being in the conversation for the Vezina.

Quinn Hughes had three assists tonight. He was relatively quiet throughout the game aside from the loud numbers on the scoresheet. Hughes was moving the puck well on the powerplay unit and for a 30 second stretch we was Hughes out there with the second unit and it made me wonder what it would look like with Adam Gaudette on Hughes’ left side.

This will be the first time I am calling his name in the top performers but tonight Travis Green deserves to be one. Green’s team got up early and he was able to balance out the lineup to get fresh legs out there for every shift. Alex Edler was the only player to play over 20 minutes tonight. Quinn Hughes’ workload was lowered tonight as he played just 18:34, 14:01 of which being at 5-on-5.

Justin Bailey was the only Canucks who played under 12 minutes. Bailey is an honourable mention to the top performers. He looked excellent in the first and second periods, he was skating like the wind and it even caught Shorty and Cheech off guard from how fast he could fly down the wing.

Wrap-Up

All in all, this is exactly what the Canucks needed to do to open up Sedin week. After a tough showing in Calgary the Canucks needed to have a big bounce back game. They came out in the first period and rode in Jacob Markstrom’s backpack for the rest of the game. Markstrom carried the team tonight and he likely deserved being first, second and third star tonight.

Travis Green coached a near perfect game. Sutter was put on the first powerplay unit, he scored. MacEwen was put with Miller and Horvat, he scored. Loui Eriksson was put back into a fourth line, he didn’t score but he didn’t disappear in the game like he does so often when used in a fourth line role.

The Canucks needed this one and now sit at 67 points in 57 games. It took them 70 games to get to 67 points last season. They came in and dominated this game and will hope to ride the emotional high that they will receive after watching number 22 and 33 go up into the rafters on Wednesday.

They are also undefeated with Trevor Linden in the arena this season.