CanucksArmy post game: Canucks get into a track meet and lose low-event game to Red Wings
Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
8 months ago
The Vancouver Canucks were back in yet another uber-important game as they continue their improbable march into playoff contention.
Tonight, it was the Detroit Red Wings paying a visit to the Canucks for game five of the Canucks’ seven-game homestand.
The Canucks entered tonight’s game just one point back of a playoff spot — but more on that later.
Recently, the Wings have allowed a lot of goals, and as you know, the Canucks have scored a lot of goals.
If you’re a Canucks fan, what more can you ask for?
Here’s how the Canucks lined up tonight vs. Detroit:
The Rogers Arena faithful welcomed back Troy Stecher with a warm cheer during one of the first stoppages of play when the jumbotron panned to him.
*PA announcer Al Murdoch did say welcome back Olli Juolevi as well, but the camera shot and message on the jumbotron made mention of only Stecher.
Speaking of Juolevi, this happened pretty early on in the first:
The first period was very low event.
There were plenty of neutral zone turnovers — one egregious one by Juolevi — that ultimately led to nothing for either team.
A strong forecheck by the Lammikko line with just under eight minutes remaining in the first resulted in some extended zone time for the Canucks, but Travis Hamonic took a holding penalty when Detroit escaped the zone and headed the other way.
The Red Wings’ personnel hopped over the boards for this game’s first power play.
Demko made a five-alarm save off of Dylan Larkin right in front, and the Canucks managed to limit the Red Wings to just that chance.
Lammikko and Highmore even got to break out the other way on the penalty kill when PP2 quarterback Olli Juolevi fanned on a pass and was forced to defend a 2-on-1 as a result.
The penalty expired, and we were back to even strength.
As time winded down, Thatcher Demko misplayed a puck behind his net and had to make a good stop off of Joe Veleno to keep this one scoreless.
Thatcher Demko made one last unbelievable save before the period ended, sliding to his left to rob Lucas Raymond.
After 20 minutes of play, this one was scoreless, with the Red Wings leading 18-12 in shots.
But as was a bit of a theme in this one, the shot totals were deceptive in the first.
“That first period might have been our worst period all year, including the games where we gave up five goals,” said head coach Bruce Boudreau post game. “We must’ve given the puck away 25 times.”
“That gave them the confidence to play. If you step on them early, they probably say, ‘oh here we go again,’ but we didn’t. We gave them a chance to play the game and then our power play wasn’t very good and they come back and score.”
Conor Garland set up Tanner Pearson for a chance in tight on Nedeljkovic right off the hop, but the Detroit netminder was up to the task.
Right after, Demko made a highlight-reel stop on Lucas Raymond once again.
Then Filip Zadina took a slashing penalty to give the Canucks their first power play of the game with just under 14 minutes to go in the first.
The Canucks got their chances, but Detroit managed to go the other way and take advantage of a tired Canucks’ first power play unit.
Pius Suter slid the puck through Thatcher Demko’s pads to make it 1-0 Detroit.
There was a late offside call made as Elias Pettersson broke into the Detroit zone. The call was so late that Pettersson put the puck into the back of the net almost immediately after the whistle went.
This obviously drew the ire of the Detroit players, who went after Pettersson behind the net after the whistle.
Travis Hamonic and the others on the ice came to Pettersson’s defence, but the real story was during the TV timeout.
“I genuinely didn’t hear the whistle,” Pettersson said post game. “I thought if the whistle was going to go, it would have gone when the puck crossed the blue line. I got the puck and was just focused on scoring a goal. In a perfect world, I probably shouldn’t have shot that.”
In the shifts immediately after this, Pettersson was throwing his body a bit more than usual and was physically engaged.
Sure, you likely don’t want to see that from a player who’s dealing with a nagging wrist injury get into it physically, but as you may have read recently on this very site, that’s a good indicator that Pettersson is “on” his game.
Just before the period expired, Nic Petan got absolutely stapled into the boards from behind, but there was no call.
Then Conor Garland got upended by Pius Suter and this gave the Canucks a power play with 19 seconds remaining.
There were some scrambly chances in front of Nedeljkovic, but the Canucks weren’t able to convert.
They did, however, seemingly have all the momentum heading into the third.
The Canucks entered the third with just under two minutes of power play time remaining, but couldn’t convert, despite getting some quality shots off on Nedeljkovic.
Side note: Jakub Vrana was assessed a ten-minute misconduct for his actions in the second period.
The shot totals were deceptive in this one, to say the least.
“The past two games we’ve kind of gotten into track meets and we’ve started trading chances,” said Pearson post game. “Our game isn’t trading chances. It’s direct, and playing behind their net in deep behind the goal line and, and just simple. When we get trading chances we kind of get in trouble.”
Each team had over 30 shots early in the third, but there was just not much of substance happening.
A lot of the shots were from distance with not much traffic in front of either goaltender, and some were even slid along the ice with hopes of generating a rebound but instead were handled with incredible ease.
It was a bit of a low-scoring snooze fest, which meant the next big event was sure to dazzle.
Would it be the next power play? Canucks fans were sure hoping so, because Marc Staal put the grab on Conor Garland with 11 minutes to go and gave the Canucks a power play.
Garland drew both power plays the Canucks had up to this point.
The Canucks generated a few chances, but still couldn’t solve Nedeljkovic.
Elias Pettersson moved in on the wing and was challenged by Juolevi. Pettersson let go of a hard wrist shot that rang off the mask of the Detroit goaltender, but still, there was a zero next to the Canucks’ logo on the scoreboard at Rogers Arena.
With a shade over two minutes remaining, the Canucks pulled Demko and got to work in the Detroit end.
Elias Pettersson let go of a shot from the point that was deflected by Brock Boeser, and J.T. Miller let go of a shot through traffic from the left circle, but neither shot ended up in the Detroit net.
The Canucks called their timeout with 1:14 remaining and drew up a plan.
Detroit elected to keep taking 200-foot shots at the open cage, which resulted in a couple of icing calls.
The Canucks didn’t end up converting and left this one scoreless. 1-0 Detroit final.
Wrap up/ Playoff picture
Until the Canucks are out of the playoff hunt, we’re going to use the wrap up portion wrapping up the game (obviously), but also looking at the out of town scoreboard to see where the Canucks got help — or didn’t get help — in their chase for the playoffs.
Tonight, the Dallas Stars won, the Edmonton Oilers won in regulation, and the Vegas Golden Knights won as well.
That means that the Stars further pushed themselves ahead of the Canucks in the chase for the second wild card spot, and the Oilers pulled further ahead in the highly-coveted third-place spot in the Pacific Division, with Vegas refusing to go off
The Canucks will play games six and seven of their homestand this weekend when the Calgary Flames and Buffalo Sabres will be in town.
Hopefully, the Canucks turn in a better effort than they did tonight, because getting out-chanced the way they did tonight by a weak Detroit team while supposedly in the thick of a playoff push is not a good look.
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