Instant Reaction: The Canucks can’t keep using tiredness as an excuse for losing

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 the game and ask our readers to do the same in the comments section below! Wyatt Arndt is writing The Stanchies tonight, and those will be posted later this evening. The Statsies — CanucksArmy’s analytics-based post game report by Mike Liu — will be posted tomorrow morning.
Folks in Vancouver knew already: The Canucks are a wagon. Off to their best start in franchise history at 12-4-1, the Canucks welcomed the Seattle Kraken to Rogers Arena tonight after losing 5-2 in Calgary on Thursday night.
The Canucks looked visibly tired in that game, and that was just the club’s second of seven games within the span of 11 days. That would make tonight’s game number three of this busy stretch of games for Vancouver.
Tonight, the underachieving 6-8-1 Seattle Kraken rolled into Vancouver as winners of their last game, a shootout victory over Bo Horvat and the New York Islanders.
Looking to bounce back after a much-needed day off since their disappointing loss in Calgary, the Canucks came out a bit flat to kick this one off — which has been a bit of a trend lately. Also a trend: As the period went on the Canucks began to find their legs more, resembling the team we now expect them to be to close out the first.
The Canucks needed Demko to be sharp early, but after 20 minutes, the Canucks found themselves up a goal in a neck-and-neck race where both teams seemed to be feeling each other out a bit. JT Miller opened the scoring for Vancouver, because of course he did, but nobody knew it right away. After a brief review, the goal stood.
The Canucks left the first period with a lead, but things went poorly for them from there.
Two unanswered goals by the Kraken — the first on a sloppy change by the Canucks, the second on what initially looked like a potential high stick by Jordan Eberle. A goal from Quinn Hughes evened things up heading into the third (much more on Hughes later on).
The Kraken pulled ahead in the third period with two unanswered goals in the opening 7 minutes of the period. A late deflection goal from Nils Höglander followed by a nice faceoff win from JT Miller made things interesting late, but the end result was a 4-3 win for the Seattle Kraken.
Post game, Ian Cole and Rick Tocchet spoke about how the Canucks can’t keep using being tired as an excuse. Cole has been on playoff teams, and what he said was very interesting. We’ll dive into that later in The Stanchies, and I may even write more about it tomorrow morning. But this is Instant Reaction, so we need to get this out quickly!
All in all, my take is the Canucks can’t keep using their tiredness as an excuse. Two games against subpar teams in Calgary and Seattle are the kind of games that can come back and cost you later on. This team likely has done enough to make the playoffs already, sure, but four points can easily be the difference from a favourable playoff opponent or the defending cup champions. Also, everybody is tired come playoff time, so this team better figure out how to play tired fast. Anyways.
Back to Quinn Hughes. Hughes is somebody I wanted to highlight tonight, and not just because I have a bet with Faber that he’ll score 20 goals this season (Faber took the under). Tonight, Hughes scored his seventh goal of the season.
Hughes told reporters right from day one of training camp that he wanted to score more goals this season. In game 18 of the season, Hughes is already just one goal shy of his career-high goal total of eight that he set back in 2021-22. In that season, Hughes tallied 68 points in 78 games. For those keeping track at home, number 43 is already up to 28 points in 18 games this season.
Last season, it took Hughes 78 games to score seven goals. 18 games this season. 18. Some more fun Quinn Hughes stats courtesy of Cam Robinson:
Another observation from tonight:
Akito Hirose had some good moments, and some bad moments. He was beat on the rush a couple of times, but made some good reads. Noah Juulsen was basically the opposite — these are two very different players — but both were less than spectacular this evening. With Mark Friedman in the press box, it feels like there may be no right answer on the defence corps, rather, that there’s just some slightly less wrong answers than others.
What was your reaction to tonight’s game? Let us know in the comments section below!

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