Scenes from morning skate: Bains with Miller and Boeser and a new look power play as Canucks face Kraken

Photo credit:Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Paterson
1 month ago
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The Vancouver Canucks (37-15-6) are out to snap their first three-game losing streak of the season when they wrap up their road trip against the Seattle Kraken (23-21-11) at Climate Pledge Arena.
The Canucks have dropped games in regulation to Winnipeg, Minnesota and Colorado and will try to reverse their fortunes against their I-5 rival in the Emerald City.

What we saw

There were plenty of moving parts at Canucks morning skate in Seattle. After just one game, Arshdeep Bains has earned a promotion to the team’s top six. Elias Pettersson looks to move back to the middle between countrymen Elias Lindholm and Nils Höglander. Filip Hronek replaces Lindholm on the top power play unit. And Sam Lafferty draws in for Phil Di Giuseppe who is tending to a personal matter and is unavailable for tonight’s game.
Thatcher Demko will get the start in goal. He has dropped back to back games for the first time since Games 3 and 4 of the season in Philadelphia and Tampa Bay.
The Canucks have gone one week since their last victory last Thursday at home against Detroit. They battled hard in Denver on Tuesday but came up short in a 3-1 loss to the Avalanche. JT Miller opened the scoring, but that was it for the Canucks offence on the night. Miller had a hat trick in Minnesota on Monday, so he has scored in back to back games and has seven goals in his last nine outings.
The Canucks power play had an opportunity late in a 2-1 game in Denver, but managed just one shot. The power play is now 1 for its last 24 opportunities over the last eight contests.
The Canucks have a number of depth players that have struggled to put pucks in the net. Ilya Mikheyev has gone 26 games without a goal. Nils Aman is up to 21 while Teddy Blueger has gone 20 games without scoring. Even Pius Suter is into double-digits having gone 10 without a goal.
Beyond the three-game losing skid, the Canucks have just three wins in their last eight games. They remain first in the overall NHL standings with 80 points although they have been passed in points percentage by the Florida Panthers.
The Kraken fell 4-3 in overtime to Detroit on Monday afternoon. Ben Chiarot scored the winner 1:07 into the extra period. Jared McCann scored a pair for Seattle while Jaden Schwartz had the other. Joey D’Accord stopped 28 of the 32 shots he faced.The loss snapped a brief two-game win streak. 
Monday was the 16th time Seattle has been beyond regulation. The Kraken are 3-7 in games decided in OT and 2-4 in shootouts. The 11 points left on the table is second only to the NY Islanders.
Between December 20th and January 13th, the Kraken rattled off nine straight victories to get back in the Wild Card hunt in the West. However, since then, they are 4-7-2 in their last 13 games. Since December 12th, the Kraken are 15-7-4 and have allowed the fewest goals in the league (57).
Jared McCann and Oliver Bjorkstrand share the team lead with 41 points. McCann is the runaway team leader in goals with 24.Eeli Tolvanen is second with 14.
Seattle has made Climate Pledge a tough place for visitors. The Kraken are 7-1-3 in their last 11 at home outscoring opponents 39-20 in the process.
The Canucks and Kraken have split their first two meetings of the season with each winning in the other’s building in mid-November. Tonight wraps up their three-game season series. 
At the end of Canucks morning skate, both Dakota Joshua and Carson Soucy took to the ice in full gear. They skated along with skills coach Yogi Svejkovsky. There is sitll no timeline for a return to the line-up for either player, but the fact that they are skating in full equipment has to be seen as encouraging.
Tonight’s referees: Kendrick Nicholson & Beau Halkidis

What we heard

Rick Tocchet on Arshdeep Bains getting bumped into top six tonight: “It’s always the second, third, fourth game for guys like this — and not just him, but guys that get called up. It’s the consistency because it’s hard to do. I thought he did a real nice job for us. He can help JT with his speed. He’s not afraid to hit. He’s a good forechecker and putting a guy like that with JT, you get a good forecheck with Millsy, they come up with a lot of pucks so maybe he can have that DNA for us on that line.”
Tocchet on putting Hronek on first power play unit: “We have to get some more shots from up top. Getting Hronek there and being willing to shoot it, get that shot from the middle. If they want to block the middle shot, it should be Petey and Millsy. And I don’t think we’ve be coming up with loose pucks after shots. Quite frankly, it’s execution. If you watch, the passing’s not there. It’s not really the plays, it’s the little details of the power play. Whoever has the puck, has to have the courage to shoot the puck.”
Miller on not making too much of first three-game losing streak: “That’s what we’re trying not to make it seem like — a crisis. It’s not like we traded chances with Colorado the other night. It’s not like we went back and forth. We played a tight checking, playoff style game. It’s no panic. We’ve got the right to feel comfortable and confident as a group and we’re going to try to do that tonight.”
Miller impressed by Arshdeep Bains’ debut on Tuesday in Denver: “He looks great. He looks comfortable. He’s got a little bit of everything to his game. I’ve only seen him a little bit. I think I had a day at camp with him this year and he was fun to play with. He’s got skill, he can skate and he’s physical. As long as we can keep it simple, we can make it easy on the kid today.”


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