The Vancouver Canucks travelled into Calgary to take on the Flames on the first Hockey Night in Canada of 2021.
They ran into their former friend turned foe Jacob Markstrom and he was ready for them. Markstrom recorded his first win in a Flames jersey with a 32-save shutout.
All three of Calgary’s goals came on the power play and the Canucks have to make some changes before Monday.
One thing that may not change is the composition of the fourth line.
Jay Beagle, Tyler Motte, and Brandon Sutter did more than hold their own in the first two games of the season. When the line was on the ice together, they controlled 73.3% of shot attempts and out-chanced their opponents 12-4 in 14 minutes of ice time.
They accomplished this while spending roughly 65% of their 5-on-5 ice time against Leon Draisaitl or Connor McDavid. The
old, slow guys veteran duo with Motte has looked to have some jump at this point of the season. It’s pretty known that Beagle and Sutter come into camp as prepared as any every season. Right now, it’s showing as they have controlled a majority of the pace of play so far in this early season.
The Canucks need to get as much out of their fourth line as possible as this team needs to get some depth scoring or at least depth non-scoring against. For now, that line should be kept together as they are playing with some git-up.
— Brendan Batchelor (@BatchHockey) January 17, 2021
It was time for Saturday night hockey. The last time we saw the Canucks in action on a Saturday night, Adam Gaudette fought Tyler Motte. Would they do it again? There’s only one way to find out!
P.S: Have you heard that the Calgary Flames have Chris Tanev, Josh Leivo and Jacob Markstrom?
I’m not sure if anyone has talked about it yet…
Braden Holtby and Markstrom got the start for their teams on Saturday night.
The Flames had the first scoring chance of the game but Motte was right there in the crease to break up what looked to be a tap-in goal.
Tanner Pearson took a high sticking penalty after a long shift and the Flames went to work on the power play. It didn’t take much work as Sean Monahan scored just a few seconds into the man advantage to make it 1-0 Flames with 12 minutes remaining in the period.
The Canucks looked sluggish early on. They were playing their third game in four nights and needed something to spark the team.
With 5:17 remaining, the Canucks went to the power play for the first time, as Alex Edler drew a penalty. It couldn’t have come at a better time as colour commentator Cassie Campbell-Pascall said the Canucks were “almost in survival mode” in the first period.
Quinn Hughes took a high stick early in the power play and the Canucks went to the 5-on-3 for 1:22.
They passed the puck around the zone with ease but just like the second Edmonton game, the Flames were all over their shooting lanes. Markstrom made a couple of saves on the shots that made it through.
Tanner Pearson took a Nate Schmidt shot off the foot and went directly to the locker room. He was in visible discomfort as he made his way to the bench.
— Cody Taxivertsquad (@CodySevertson) January 17, 2021
That takes us to the first intermission. The Flames controlled the pace but the Canucks controlled the shot share. Vancouver outshot Calgary 11-7 in the first period but could not get anything past Markstrom.
They couldn’t capitalize on their chances but the chances were there. They needed to find a way how to beat their former teammate and MVP of the past two seasons.
Pearson was back on the ice for the first shift of the period after taking the shot off the foot late in the first.
Nils Hoglander took a penalty just 2:49 into the period when he got called for interference while setting a pick on a faceoff.
After a good job on the 5-on-4, Motte took a hooking call with 16 seconds remaining in the penalty and the Flames received a short 5-on-3. The Canucks killed off the 16 seconds easily as the penalty kill was doing a great job of clearing the puck.
They ended up killing off the second penalty as they limited the Flames’ ability to enter the zone. Just as the penalty expired, the Canucks went right to a power play of their own.
They weren’t able to get anything going on the power play attempt and at the halfway point it was time for some even-strength action.
The parade to the penalty box continued when Motte took another penalty while on the second power play unit.
Yes, Tyler Motte is on the second power play unit.
The Flames scored their second power play goal of the game when Dillon Dube fired a one-timer from the right side past Holtby. 2-0 Flames.
That’s where we stood after 40 minutes of play. The Canucks needed to bring much more intensity in the third period if they wanted back in this game.
The top six had a different look to begin the period as Jake Virtanen and Hoglander swapped linemates.
Boeser and Virtanen were getting some extra ice time as they took double duty on the early shifts of the period.
With 10:52 remaining, Edler took an interference penalty to give the Flames their fifth power play of the game. The Canucks killed off the penalty but now needed to find a gear and get some scoring chances of their own.
Boeser took a slashing penalty with 5:45 remaining and it looked all but over for the Canucks as the Flames received their sixth power play of the game.
Matthew Tkachuk scored with 4:44 remaining to make it 3-0 Flames.
That was all she wrote, as Markstrom picked up the 32-save shutout against his former team.
Quinn Hughes: He moved well in the offensive zone and did a good job creating offence from the back end. Hughes led the team in attempted shots with seven, shots on net with four, and played over 26 minutes on Saturday night.
The Canucks didn’t deserve to win this game. They were outplayed in every facet of the game. They gave up three power play goals and were outplayed at 5-on-5. In the current format, a game like this needs to spark you for the next matchup. The Canucks will play game two of the mini-series on Monday.
Let’s hope for a better one on Monday. Writing about a team getting shutout gets old quick.