The Stanchies: Canucks lose 4-2 to Jets but who cares BECAUSE PLAYOFFS

Photo credit:© Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports
The Stanchion
1 month ago
So here’s the thing.
I am well versed in ending the Canucks season on a meaningless game.
In fact, I almost have a decades worth of experience of writing about game 82 despite the fact that very few people have the energy or will power to want to go on that journey with me.
It’s just this year, the Canucks get to keep playing hockey. They get to hop on their metaphorical horse and ride off into the sunset as they prepare for a date with the Nashville Predators, last seen in the post-season against Vancouver getting absolutely obliterated by Ryan Kesler.
So the Canucks 4-2 loss to the Jets? I get it. I know how to handle this. Fewer gifs. Fewer words. Try not to ponder too much about the futility of life and how happiness is so fleeting at the best of times. Then call it a day.
It’s just we get to meet up in a few days to talk about the playoffs. Round one of the NHL playoffs, with the Canuck hosting an actual game on Rogers Arena ice, in front of actual fans.
And I’m not quite sure how to handle all of that. Mostly because we have to learn how to boo Luke Schenn for a couple of weeks.
So while I try and embrace a world in which something good has happened for the Vancouver Canucks, let’s crack on through this final game of what has been the best season for this team since 2011.
One final gif pay day.
Let’s do this.
Best new news
While it feels like Vasili Podkolzin has entered a blood feud with Ilya Mikheyev to see who can score the least amount of goals with good looks at the goalie, this feels like a fantastic contract.
Not just because Podkolzin has showcased he can be a very physical fourth line banger.
Not just because there is a joy to be had in dreaming of a world in which Vasili starts turning his high danger chances into goals.
But because you can sign anyone for a million dollars and it’s impossible to get angry over that contract.
You could sign Fin, my mortal enemy, someone who offers absolutely no value to this organization, and I would be the first to say “hey, that’s a pretty solid deal.”
Best case scenario, Podkolzin outplays that contract and demands a lot more money on his next deal, money he will have earned.
Worst case scenario he struggles to stay on the fourth line, which you barely notice as you struggle to find the perfect amount of liquid pumpkin spice shots to put in your fall coffee. Two is too much, but one is too little, and you don’t trust the barista to handle a one and a half shot order.
Such are the struggles in life.
Best just finish it quickly
The only points of interest in this game for Canucks fans are as follows:
  1. Can Quinn Hughes outpace Cale Makar in points
  2. Watch Thatcher Demko get another rep so he can hit the ground running for the playoffs
  3. Will Nikita Zadorov maul someone like a bear, causing them to swing their legs wildly on the ice in a panic
In regards to point number two, Thatcher Demko looked fine? He was also playing in front of a team that very much had “40 year old at the club who’d rather be in bed” energy, so it’s not like a defensive clinic was being put on? But the Jets also had that beer league hockey energy of a team that’s moving up a division, so they don’t really need to go all out in the game?
It was just a very “yes, let’s play a game of professional hockey” vibe in the air for this one, and for good reason. The last thing either team wants to do is limp into the playoffs because one team was keeping it real and Quinn Hughes got teeth cross-checked into his jaw or something.
All of which takes us back to Demko, and you know what? He was fine:
He was tracking the puck well. He made some big saves. It was a perfectly cromulent game from the returning star netminder for the Canucks.
Best dynamic duo
Believe it or not, there was a point in the season where some people doubted Corolla Garland. Where people questioned his point production. Where the idea that his contract was in Loui Eriksson territory was bandied about by one particular man.
Since then, Garland went on to lead one of the most elite third lines in the NHL, garner at least one Selke vote, and found an electric chemistry with one Dakota Joshua:
Now, Dakota Joshua and Elias Lindholm were not credited with assists on this play, despite playing vital roles in the goal. Something about Dylan DeMelo scooping the puck out of the crease and firing it into their net off of Garland robbed them of their apples.
But even with those points erased from the annals of time, you can see this line starting to find their groove. Lindholm’s offensive struggles have long been documented since the trade, but his defensive game? His forechecking game? It’s been on point.
Lindholm starts this play off by splitting two defenders and then getting the puck over to Dakota Joshua. Without Lindholm there is no goal.
Then Dakota does what he does best and he just goes full Bertuzzi and heads to the net with bad intentions. Sure, he loses the puck, but the fact his momentum carried the puck to the crease is what causes DeMelo to panic and send the puck in off of Garland.
This is a line that will soon be playing a vital role for the Vancouver Canucks in the 2024 NHL playoffs. Not since Matt Cooke, Trevor Linden, and Magnus Arvedson have I been this intrigued by what a third line could do in the post-season.
Best pushing the pace
There was one point in the game where Elias Pettersson fell to the ice awkwardly and immediately you wondered why the Canucks weren’t allowed to dress a team consisting of Vancouver Voodoo Alumni, but alas, the NHL looks down upon such things.
To the Canucks credit, they rested Brock Boeser, JT Miller, Fil Hronek and Ian Cole, but with Jose Charbonneau unavailable, someone had to play, which is how we found ourselves watching Quinn Hughes do what he always does; Make hockey look incredibly easy:
Zone entry, Quinn tracks it down, Quinn gets the puck, Quinn skates a few strides, Quinn finds an open teammate, Quinn watches another successful zone exit, dinosaur eats Quinn, woman inherits the Earth.
I know I am getting spoiled by Quinn Hughes. I get that. I know that one day, hopefully many many years from now, Quinn is going to retire. And when that happens, I’ll have to go back to watching a Matt Bartkowski style d-men struggle to control the puck on his stick, much less navigate it between four men on the ice before leading a rush the other way.
But for now, I am going to revel in watching the best Canucks defenseman of all time, already primed and ready to conquer all of the scoring records by next season.
Quinn, ah ah ah, finds a way.
Best fractured multiverse
The Jets tied the game up on a play in which Sam Lafferty did this:
If I’m being charitable as possible, I am going to say Lafferty believed in Carson Soucy’s ability to win the puck battle to an alarming degree. Like he had Jontay Porter levels of belief in his bets on this play. Which is why he dropped down behind the net and was maybe looking for an outlet pass along the end boards.
Alas, Alex Iafallo is a sneaky fellow, so when he snaked in his stick to poke the puck out front, Gabe Vilardi had all the time and space in the world to basically outwait Demko.
And just to add to the high belief in Carson Soucy’s puck winning abilities, Podkolzin also just sort of floats off towards the left side of the ice in anticipation of what is surely about to be another clean victory for his friend Carson.
So on one hand, you have to admire such unfailing belief between friends. There is a level of jealousy on my part when watching two guys putting all of their trust into another friend coming through for them.
Sadly my Warzone friends have robbed me of the ability to trust anyone, so I immediately sensed danger on that play before the goal went in.
Sure, Nexie says he is going to cover the window in harbor, but will he? Will he?
So with the Canucks needing a loadout to get back into the game, Nikita Zadorov then put an unfailing amount of trust into his own abilities:
And this one I get. You’ve just watched your team get wiped on Rebirth Island to start the game for a third time in a row, sometimes you just have to go into business for yourself. So Zadorov trying to stickhandle by two Jets players, I get it. I get it.
It’s just, he loses the puck and turns the puck over into a two on one that luckily for Vancouver, gets shot wide of the net.
The important thing to note about the Jets goal and this blunder mere moments later, is that none of it matters.
The game? Doesn’t matter.
The result? Doesn’t matter.
Save any of your anger and screaming for next week, where under the harsh gaze of the playoff spotlight, we will all come together to spend 45 minutes analyzing how Tyler Myers screwed up a dump in or something.
Best earning a contract for next year
I actually quite enjoyed Mark Friedman at the start of the season, but give credit to Noah Juulsen and Ian Cole for forcing him out of the lineup due to their improved play. There is something uplifting about watching a team’s depth work in their favor rather than wondering why Sven Butenschön is getting 20 minutes in a game when clearly he is better suited as a University hockey coach.
So let’s give full marks to Friedman for laying out to block shots in a game that ultimately meant nothing:
Not only was he blocking shots, but once he managed to get back to his feet, he immediately threw himself to the ground to try and block even more shots. This is the kind of tape his agent will be sending teams in the off-season when they go looking for grit and determination in their lineup.
It’s also the kind of clip you accidentally keep e-mailing your friends so you can try and brag about how tough you are.
“Let me send over that file right away…oh wait, did I send that video again? Oh I do apologize. How does this keep happening? Anyways the doctors said my legs were legally dead for two minutes. Crazy, right?”
Best power of the unexpected
We’re at the point with Elias where he’s entered Henrik Sedin mode, which means people are angry at him not shooting the puck, but you also can’t argue the passes he’s making:
Like I get it, you want EP40 shooting the puck. When he cranks it, we’ve seen how good the results can be. Hell, Elias’ first game saw him walk down the wing and unleash a laser of a shot for his first NHL goal.
We’ve also seen him terrorize people on the powerplay. Remember the Petterzone? That was an actual branding concept for a while. We were pondering making t-shirts. I think someone made a website on Geocities. Pettersson would set up and just unload clapbombs off of one timers. Teams were terrified of it. It was delightful.
But now, yeah, EP40 ain’t about that shooting lifestyle. For whatever reason, he’s thinking pass first.
Which can be fine. That’s a perfectly fine pass in that clip. It almost leads to a goal down low. And in a season in which EP40 put up 89 points and got his usual amount of goals, maybe we’re over analyzing a bit.
But we wouldn’t be Canadian if we didn’t attack every single thing an NHL player did during a game. Sorry. Those are the rules.
Best Russian to make mistakes
The Canucks got counter-attacked for the Jets second goal of the game when Podkolzin lost the puck trying to enter Winnipeg’s zone:
That’s a very LA Kings like goal, as the Jets sat back, countered the Canucks rush, then pushed the puck down the ice on an odd-man rush.
Demko just gets straight up frozen on this goal, going full Luongo in a shootout mode on it.
But I will say, you can tell the Canucks weren’t going all out in this game. Why you ask?
Because Tyler Myers doesn’t go full Sex Giraffe on this play. He doesn’t slide on the ice at the first hint of danger. Instead he just sort of waits it out, watches the play develop, then does a half hearted drop to his knee, spinning slightly in place.
That’s not the Chaos Giraffe we know is waiting for us in the playoffs.
Best proof it happened
Sometimes you included a clip to prove that yes, Nils Aman was involved in a high danger scoring chance:
It involved a weird bounce off the end boards, but that might actually be the first direct shot on net I have seen from Nils since October.
If I was handing out team awards, Aman would clearly win the Milford Man trophy. Somehow nothing ever seems to happen around him, good or bad. He just exists in this perfect balance of the universe. If he plays Overwatch, you just know he slam picks Zenyatta every single time.
Best Hogging the limelight
In a game that meant very little, you have to give it up to Nils Höglander for still giving it 100%, driving to the net, being annoying, and tipping the puck any chance he got:
Nils almost directs the Carson Soucy shot into the net but alas is foiled by the power of iron, a scene right out of the mind of Brandon Sanderson.
There are several players I am excited to see in a playoff situation, where small sample sizes rule the day, making heroes and villains out of surprising people.
Count Nils Höglander as one of those guys I think could find himself being a bit of a cult hero if Vancouver goes on a bit of a run. You just know that kid has an overtime goal up his sleeve somewhere.
Either that or a very illegal elbow to the face.
Best angry bear
Another player who seemed to play his usual game was Nikita Zadorov. The most fashionable Canuck on the team made sure to let the Jets know he was still legally obligated to hand out at least one big hit:
I always enjoy how after landing a huge hit the other team gets mad at him, and he just ends up calmly discussing it with them from afar. He never gets too riled up, he just patiently explains why he had to try to end their life with a huge hit.
Best hands on experience
The Canucks got their 7 layer dip going on their second goal of the game when Elias Lindholm tipped in the Quinn Hughes offering:
The Canucks have made it a point to layer the screens, and it’s been a constant talking point about taking away a goalies eyes. Which again, sounds barbaric, but is merely a metaphor for screening the goalie and making them have to fight to see the puck through multiple bodies. Come playoff time that’s the kind of greasy goal that will most likely work, or at the very least, won’t be yelled for “trying to be too pretty”, a criminal offense in the post-season.
I am sure Kevin Woodley has a stat on hand about the effectiveness of such screens that would further back this up as a smart strategy. It probably has a funny mnemonic that spells out U.B.L.I.N.D. or something.
Urgent bodies lining inside nerds defence?
Usurp behind listless insufficient non-combative defense?
Uphold boisterous layering in near distance?
Yeah, that’s the one.
Best Henrik Sedin mode: Activated
Quinn Hughes easily setting up Elias Pettersson in the slot is something you need to take note of because holy shit, how does he make it look so easy, but the main point of this clip is Elias not shooting the puck:
And again, much like Hank Sedin you can kind of see what he was doing. Maybe he didn’t have quite enough time to get that shot off. Maybe he didn’t have full control of the puck and had to double clutch, which took away his time and space to get a shot off.
And much like Henrik Sedin, he still finds a way to turn into a decent pass to the front of the net.
But you can also see why some people are just begging for him to shoot the damn puck when he gets it in those prime locations on the ice.
It’s not like he’s Ilya Mikheyev with the puck in front. When Ilya has an empty net and no one in front of him, part of you is thinking “ok maybe he should pass here just in case”.
But Pettersson? We know he can finish. We know he has lethal powers in those hands.
It’s just a matter of when and if he is going to unlock them again that has everyone on edge.
Best why break from tradition
The Jets put the game away early in the third period because let’s be honest with each other, Vancouver wasn’t going to do a whole lot to climb out of a one goal deficit:
Demko taps his post to reset himself after his stickhandling adventure, but simply gets beat on a nice shot from Nikita Chirbikov who I absolutely did not need to Google to spell his name.
It’s game 82, we don’t need to really break it down further than “NHL player scores first NHL goal against the Canucks”, we all know how this works.
Best bear attack part two
Ah the third part of the prophecy has been fulfilled:
Something about this visual might be one of my favorite clips off the season. 6″3, 220 pound Gabe Vilardi lying under Nikita Zadorov, spinning his legs in place, swimming on the ice in a panic, trying to figure out how to get the Russian Bear off of him.
Without any pots and pans to loudly bang together, all Gabe could do was wait for the officials to come save him, or pray Zadorov tired of playing with his food.
The end result was a Jets powerplay in which Brad Lambert almost scored HIS first NHL goal:
In the good news department, Demko played pretty good. This was a much better use of putting in your starter to end the season vs what Edmonton did with Jeff Skinner, putting him in against the Colorado Avalanche.
Fun fact: Two Brad Lamberts have played hockey at a high enough level to get into Hockey DB.
The Jets Brad Lambert from Finland.
And a Brad Lambert from Alberta, who played for the Sorel-Tracy Mission in 2005 with one Bobby Dollas, who of course played with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in 1993, which meant he played with Joe Sacco, who as a youngster I assumed was a dollar store version of Joe Sakic, who of course played with Mark Recchi who played with Rick Tocchet, thus ending our Six Degrees of Rick Tocchet.
Best none of this matters
To the Canucks credit, they looked like they were trying to score to tie the game up, and even got a couple of puck scrambles in front of the net, before ultimately Quinn Hughes did the right thing and gave the puck up for an empty net goal:
You know what the Canucks don’t need? Dakota Joshua or Nils Höglander getting cross-checked in the back trying to even the game. So he did the right thing and let the Jets have their 8th win in a row. Because this game didn’t matter.
And with that out of the way, we are on the brink of the playoffs. Sunday, Nashville, Rogers Arena. The games that actually matter? The games that will actually leave a legacy? They happy in Vancouver for the first time in what feels like years.
I, for one, cannot wait.
Best throwback

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What? You thought we were going to start the series against Nashville without watching Ryan Kesler walk right through Shea Weber and Shane O’Brien??
Best throwback 2

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What?? You thought we were going to start the series against Nashville without watching the greatest Canucks back check of all time??
Best checking in with old friends

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