Instant Reaction: Andrei Kuzmenko and Phil Di Giuseppe show well in Canucks’ loss to Rangers

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
David Quadrelli
1 year ago
Folks! We had an entertaining Canucks regulation loss tonight! The Canucks fell by a final score of 6-4, but Vancouver made this one close right down to the final horn. Let’s start in the crease.
This idea that Arturs Silovs’ confidence was somehow going to get ruined because the Canucks put him in against an extremely hot Rangers team made absolutely no sense to me. All day long, people were comparing Silovs’ debut to the Mikey DiPietro situation from 2018-19, which again, doesn’t make much sense.
DiPietro was a CHL goaltender called up on emergency conditions to backstop a Canucks team playing the second leg of a back-to-back against a sharp San Jose Sharks squad. He was years away from being ready for NHL competition. Did that loss in his debut hurt his confidence? It’s possible, sure.
But Silovs has played NHL preseason games. He’s taken the starter’s job out in Abbotsford and ran with it at the ripe age of 21 years old. He’s been red-hot of late and is emerging as one of the best netminders in the entire AHL right before our eyes. To suggest that the Canucks somehow did wrong by him to allow him to make his NHL debut tonight is just asinine.
Do you really believe that tonight hurt Silovs’ confidence? Did going toe to toe with one of the game’s best in Igor Shesterkin hurt his confidence? Did making a key breakaway stop off of Artemi Panarin hurt his confidence? Is Silovs now going to go down to the AHL better or worse than he was when the Canucks called him up?
Would it have been nice for Silovs to make his debut against the Columbus Blue Jackets or the Surrey Eagles instead of the New York Rangers? Sure! But let’s not make a mountain out of a molehill here. Make no mistake. That was a successful NHL debut for Arturs Silovs, who’s now gotten his feet wet at the NHL level.
Anyway, I’ll try to stop talking about just goalies now… Let’s talk about Andrei Kuzmenko.
Kuzmenko is slowly but surely building up some trust with Rick Tocchet. Monday night vs. Detroit, Kuzmenko had the second-most 5v5 ice time of any Canuck, and tonight he was bumped up in the lineup, and toward the end of the game when the Canucks were pushing, Tocchet loaded up a line of Elias Pettersson, JT Miller, and you guessed it, Andrei Kuzmenko.
Kuzmenko pulled off one of the niftiest dangles to set up Conor Garland’s goal earlier, and his performance was given a firm exclamation point when he brought the Canucks within one in the third period. Tocchet is going to demand a lot from Kuzmenko, that much is clear. But if the result of Tocchet’s tough love is Kuzmenko becoming a more complete player who can still put up points playing alongside Pettersson, nobody’s going to be complaining.
I mean, come on, just look at this play.
Another man more than worthy of recognition tonight is Phil Di Giuseppe. Di Giuseppe was buzzing around the ice all night, as he has been ever since he finally got his shot in the lineup. Phil has brought everything you could want from a bottom six forward thus far. He beat out multiple icing calls this evening, and brought high energy and hustle to every shift he had. He even set up JT Miller for a golden opportunity in the offensive zone, and if I know Wyatt, a good chunk of The Stanchies will be dedicated to Di Giuseppe tonight.
All in all, it was an entertaining game, and it was a regulation loss. If you’re a Canucks fan, the only other thing you can hope for right now is that the teams the Canucks are “chasing” to the bottom of the standings won their games.
And wouldn’t you know it… the Arizona Coyotes SHUT OUT the Tampa Bay Lightning with a 1-0 shootout victory! No, you’re not misreading that.
The Canucks will now have some time off before facing the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night.

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