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Photo Credit: © Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

Postgame: Canucks lay an egg, fall to Ducks 5-1

The Canucks were looking to sweep Sedin Week this afternoon in Anaheim after a convincing win against the Predators on Monday and pulling off a rope-a-dope against the Blackhawks after the Sedins’ retirement ceremony on Wednesday.

Thing didn’t exactly go according to plan. The team came out flat, caught a couple of unlucky breaks, and never really recovered. The Ducks had the lion’s share of quality scoring chances this afternoon, were able to capitalize frequently, and save for a few minutes after Elias Pettersson’s power play goal midway through the second period, the game basically looked like it was always out of reach for the Canucks. They pelted a ton of shots at the Ducks’ net over the second half of the game, but couldn’t find an answer for John Gibson as they fell by a score of 5 to 1.

Stats

Highlights

Game Notes

  • This was one of the more ugly performances by the Canucks in recent memory. They looked sluggish, sloppy, and flat, especially early on, and while they won the shot battle handily, they didn’t create a lot of scoring opportunities. When they did, John Gibson was there to foil their attempts. In some ways, it feels a bit like karmic retribution for their performance against Chicago. The bounces have been going their way for most of the year, but they’ve been playing down to a number of their opponents lately, and today was an example of what can happen when they do that and the bounces go in the other team’s favour.
  • Troy Stecher caught a couple of tough breaks early on in today’s game. He deflected through Thatcher Demko’s five-hole attempting to block a pass to give the Ducks their first goal, and he was penalized a few minutes later for talking back to a referee after ending up on the receiving end of a questionable hit by Nick Ritchie. Stecher was contrite during media availability, saying that his performance did not live up to the standard set by the Sedins. While his performance was lacking tonight, kudos to him for expressing the right attitude, especially when his two biggest gaffes had as much to do with bad luck as his poor play.

  • On a more positive note, Quinn Hughes picked up another point tonight on the Canucks’ lone goal, a spectacular one-timer on the power play by Elias Pettersson. That assist puts him three points ahead of Cale Makar in the rookie scoring race, and if that isn’t enough to put him in the Calder race, the fact that he’s demonstrably better than basically everybody should push him over the top.
  • I know he picked up an assist on the team’s lone goal, but I can’t say I’m a big fan of the “Brandon Sutter on PP1” experiment. It hasn’t worked in the past and while he’s seeing some limited success right now, I just don’t think he has the offensive instincts or playmaking ability to make the most of the opportunity. The Canucks have a number of players on the second unit that are worthy of a promotion that I’d rather see there, including Tanner Pearson, Adam Gaudette, and Antoine Roussel.
  • I’m not sure what Josh Manson was trying to achieve by mugging Tyler Myers at the end of the second period, and I don’t quite understand where the extra two minutes for “roughing” came from when Myers was on the ground before he could retaliate. At the same time, I’m not sure what Myers’ issue was with the Max Jones hit on Elias Pettersson that initiated the sequence. It was, at worst, a soft interference penalty, and Myers had nothing to gain by retaliating.
  • Zack McEwen was the Canucks’ best forward tonight, showcasing his signature work ethic and looking engaged and alert throughout his 13:41 of ice time. He finished the game with 5 hits, three shots on goal, and a 74% shot share, behind only linemate Jay Beagle. If he continues to play like this, it will be hard to send him down. His play, and to a lesser extent the play of fellow call-up Justin Bailey, have been good examples of why it’s unwise to overpay for depth. Bailey and MacEwen were both cheap signings who cost the team nothing more than a contract slot, and they’ve both looked like they could easily hold down a frequent role on the fourth line.
  • Today marks the end of Sedin Week, and Henrik and Daniel got to do the ceremonial puck drop alongside some of the families from the Vancouver Children’s Hospital that they’ve helped over the years. Saying that someone is an even better athlete is a cliché at this point, but in the case of the Sedins, it couldn’t be more true. Hank and Danny were two of the most unique players in NHL history both for their symmetry, play style, and the way they’ve conducted themselves off the ice. If you lived a thousand years, you would never see anything quite like them ever again in the game of hockey. Some things are better than a Stanley Cup, and I can safely say that having them touch all our lives is one of those things. They will be missed.

 

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