The Canucks organization’s Saturday night went about as awful as it could possibly get.
After a tragic 4-3 loss to the Florida Panthers, the farm team began its weekend doubleheader against the San Jose Barracuda. After a closely contested first period that saw Abbotsford get to an early 1-0 lead, disaster struck when Jack Rathbone collided with Adam Raska in an awkward race onto a loose puck behind Arturs Silovs’ net.
For the second time in as many seasons, Rathbone wound up on the receiving end of a brutal collision behind the net, resulting in a halt in game-action and needing to be stretchered off the ice.
Thankfully, Abbotsford released this update after the game:
After an early intermission, the two teams resumed play by concluding the remaining 4:37 of the first period before a short break that preceded the second. The early goings of the restart were not favourable to the Farm. Abbotsford took two minor penalties and engaged in two fighting majors. For 12 minutes, the Farm was dominated in possession, outshot 7-3 while giving up a game-tying goal to Jeff Viel.
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The momentum shifted completely in Abbotsford’s favour after Danila Klimovich drew a tripping penalty against San Jose’s lone goalscorer, Jeff Viel. On the ensuing power play, Nils Höglander drew an additional penalty against San Jose to give the Baby Nux an extended 5-on-3 power play. Linus Karlsson broke the tie with his 11th goal of the season.
Then, following an incredible backchecking effort from Wyatt Kalynuk, the Canucks tightened their stranglehold on the Barracuda with Phil Di Giuseppe’s 8th of the year, a crushing one-timer on the 5-on-4 power play.
With Rathbone out of the lineup, Kalynuk took over as the second power play unit’s quarterback. While Di Giuseppe’s power play tally was a backbreaker, Kalynuk’s defensive play really put the hammer in the Barracuda’s coffin. All night the Canucks showed an exemplary commitment to defensive play. An aspect of Vancouver’s game that has been sorely M.I.A this season.
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Danila Klimovich had a rough first period where he failed to show the commitment to two-way engagement that had been apparent in his play over the past two months. The lack of effort resulted in being removed from the second power play unit and minimal ice time overall at 5v5.
That is until he made an incredible late-period effort to force a turnover behind the Barracuda’s net to set up the Canucks’ third-straight goal to make it 4-1.
Whatever was said in the early intermission sunk in with Klimovich because he looked like a completely different player at 5v5 to close the game. In limited ice time, Klimovich finished with a goal and 2 shots on net. However, the game’s big story was his most frequent 5v5 linemate Arshdeep Bains, who featured heavily on the team’s penalty kill and finished the game with a goal and an assist.
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Bains and Klimovich’s goal at 5v5 pushed them to second and fourth in team scoring at 5v5 on the season. Klimovich is now tied with Linus Karlsson with 16 points, while Christian Wolanin remains the runaway leader with 20 points at 5v5.
We don’t want to take credit, but we praised Bains’ run of play in our weekly preview. Additionally, we praised the dramatically improved play of Arturs Silovs, whose numbers have steadily improved with the frequent starts. Tonight, Silovs finished his second straight game with a save percentage above .960 and a 1.00 goals-against-average.
The streets knew. But the Farmies know how to jinx positivity in the Farm like nobody’s business!
The Abbotsford Canucks return against the Barracuda for a 2 PM start on Sunday.