Instant Reaction: Tired Canucks drop fourth straight game with 5-2 loss to Seattle

Photo credit:© Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Dave Hall
4 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! Cody Severtson is on The Stanchies and Mike Liu will have The Statsies — CA’s analytics-based post game report — up tomorrow morning.
The Vancouver Canucks were in for a tough task, taking part in their third game over four nights and fifth in seven.
They also were looking to snap a three-game losing skid and of course, they were due up against a Seattle Kraken team who had played just one game over their last seven nights.
If you didn’t know all of that heading in, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell by the Canucks’ start as they got off to a quick 1-0 lead, carrying minutes of sustained pressure out the gate.
While planted in front, J.T. Miller was able to track the puck down and backhand his fifth goal in three games and 29th of the season.
That was the peak of the Canucks’ first period, however, as they would spend the next 15 minutes chasing, with most of the play taking place in their zone.
After an Elias Lindholm high-sticking call—just his second penalty since joining the team—the Kraken went to work on the game’s first power play.
With Lindholm exiting the box, the Kraken found an equalizer via a Vince Dunn rocket to the top corner.
The remaining minutes of the opening frame saw the Canucks endure an onslaught from the Kraken, forcing Thatcher Demko to make several key stops.
While they did manage to come away unscathed on the scoresheet, Nils Höglander would take a late penalty, resulting in a power play that would carry over into the second period.
They may have escaped giving up the lead in the late stages of the first, but the Kraken came out of the intermission swinging.
Just 21 seconds in, former Canuck Jared McCann took full advantage of an Ian Cole gift up the middle, spinning around in the slot to bury his 25th of the year.
Following the goal, Conor Garland did his part to respond and inject some life into his team’s veins, dropping the mitts for a spirited bout against Brandon Tanev.
Who won the battle? You be the judge.
Perhaps Garland did better than we thought, as the Canucks found an answer shortly after—albeit an extremely lucky one off of Sam Lafferty’s chest.
Following a couple of exchanges and unsuccessful power plays between the two clubs, Justin Schultz put one past Demko to take the lead back for Seattle.
It’s been a Vezina-worthy season for the Vancouver netminder, but the Schultz goal was an uncharacteristic mistake that will probably keep him up tonight.
Less than two minutes later, Jordan Eberle capitalized on a rebound that no Canuck was able to track down, which doubled the Krakens’ lead.
The first 10 minutes of the final frame were less-than-stellar, as Vancouver struggled to find their way above the 15-shot mark.
Luckily, they weren’t held down all period, and did eventually get above 15 shots, finishing with 21 on the night. Heck, they even managed to find a late third-period push with the net empty.
Unfortunately, it did not amount to any goals, and an empty netter against iced the game away for Seattle.
Overall, it was a lacklustre and sleepy performance from a team that was clearly feeling the effects of a long and busy stretch of February hockey that has now put them in unfamiliar territory: a four-game losing kid.
At what point do we consider it a slump? I am asking for a friend.
Some other takeaways from tonight’s game:
  • In just his second NHL game, Arshdeep Bains was deployed in the top-six minutes alongside J.T. Miller and Brock Boeser. So far, he’s looked right at home, and as long as the cap space allows, he should probably continue seeing games with the big club in that role. As a youngster trying to fit in, he’s brought energy to the lineup, getting involved and providing responsible shifts for an otherwise lethargic team. He’s looked good in both showings, and his play tonight was one of the game’s few bright spots.
  • At this point, it’s hard to pinpoint what the exact issue is for this Canucks power play. Nothing seems to be clicking. One thing is for sure: the formation that has Miller, Hughes, and Pettersson working at the top appears to be the most effective. Get back to the basics, start moving your feet, and please, shoot the puck.
What’s your instant reaction to tonight’s game? Let us know in the comments section below!

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