Instant Reaction: Canucks’ best players outmatched by Golden Knights’ best players in 4-1 loss

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
David Quadrelli
6 months ago
Welcome back to Instant Reaction — the series here at CanucksArmy where we give you our instant reaction to tonight’s game and ask our readers to do the same in the comments section below. Wyatt Arndt is LIVE AT ROGERS ARENA writing The Stanchies, which will be posted later tonight. The Statsies — CA’s analytics-based post game report by Mike Liu — will be posted tomorrow morning.
This was a game everyone expected the Canucks to be ready to play in. On the heels of their 3-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks, the defending Stanley Cup Champions paid a visit to Vancouver in what could only be viewed as a measuring stick game of sorts for the Canucks.
And in the first period, the Canucks came up somewhat remarkably short, with the JT Miller line not looking like their usual dominant selves. On Vegas’ first two goals, Miller’s defensive zone coverage as the centre of the line wasn’t up to the standard he’s set this season. As Thomas Drance points out below, Vegas’ top line centred by Jack Eichel absolutely brought it to the Miller line in their head-to-head matchup, with no answer coming from Vancouver’s top line.
In the second period, Tocchet and his coaching staff gave Elias Pettersson’s line that matchup at times, and unfortunately, they didn’t fare much better. It was another off night for the Canucks’ top six, and simply put, the Canucks’ best players were outmatched by Vegas’s best players.
Anytime the Canucks built any type of momentum, they were sure to shoot themselves in the foot. Whether that be by taking a penalty or allowing Vegas to score 16 seconds into the third period, it was an all around bad performance from the Canucks, who simply looked outclass.
The Canucks were favourites heading into this game, thanks in large part to Vegas having dropped their last three games — a 2-0 loss to Arizona, a 2-1 OT loss to Calgary, and a 5-4 OT loss to Edmonton — and tonight being their third game in four nights.
Despite their favourite status, they were flat-out outclassed by Vegas tonight. The Canucks’ stars weren’t at their best tonight, and it’s not much of a surprise that they weren’t able to hang with a team like the Golden Knights when that’s the case.
The only forwards with a corsi percentage above 50 at 5 on 5 for the Canucks tonight were Teddy Blueger, Conor Garland, and Dakota Joshua.
If John Tortorella were still this team’s coach, I imagine he’d say that stat is great for the players on the line, but bad for the Canucks as a whole. And he’d be correct.
Some other takeaways:
-Logan Thompson entered the third period in relief of Adin Hill, and it took less than five minutes for Andrei Kuzmenko to get the Canucks on the board after JT Miller did well at the Vegas blue line to enter the offensive zone on a 2-on-1 with Kuzmenko. It was nice to see him score a goal, even if it didn’t really mean much in the end.
-I thought this was a positive game for Nils Höglander, who got some love from Rick Tocchet at today’s morning skate. On a night when so many players were off, Höglander seemed to be doing all the right things tonight.
-Nikita Zadorov can’t come soon enough.
What’s your instant reaction to tonight’s game? Let us know in the comments section below!

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