The Vancouver Canucks played two games tonight, and we’re going to do our best to get you all the things you’d want to see/know about from both.
Both games resulted in losses at the hands of the Calgary Flames, but one was closer than the other.
Let’s start with that one.
Vasily Podkolzin dangles, Petey passes, but the Canucks can’t complete the comeback
Folks, we think Vasily Podkolzin might just make the team.
The 21-year-old Russian, who’s preparing for his sophomore season with the Canucks, scored the first preseason goal of the club’s season tonight in Vancouver.
The Canucks in Vancouver were getting shutout through two periods of play, but eight minutes into the third and final frame, Podkolzin opened the scoring for the Canucks after taking a pass from Tyler Myers and showing the kind of confidence that fans saw flashes of last season.
In his rookie season with the Canucks, Podkolzin tallied 14 goals and 12 assists through 79 games played.
The Canucks pulled their goalie late in the third and Conor Garland buried a hard cross-crease Elias Pettersson feed to tie things up and send the game to overtime. Andrey Kuzmenko picked up the secondary assist on the goal, his first with the Canucks.
Pettersson looked good tonight. He was engaged at both ends, and earlier in the game, set up Kuzmenko with a back door feed on the power play that the Russian winger couldn’t make contact on.
The Canucks would go on to lose in overtime after Podkolzin was called for a phantom tripping call that put the Flames on the power play late. 3-2 Flames final.
Spencer Martin started this game for the Canucks and showed a little bit of rust when he was unable to find his post on the second Calgary goal. Arturs Silovs was impressive in relief in Vancouver, making multiple big saves, especially in overtime (as seen in the video above).
Silovs made 19 saves on 20 shots, and Martin stopped 23 of 25.
Notes from CGY @ VAN:
- Ilya Mikheyev left the game after taking a hit in the second period. Before that, he showed signs of his trademark speed and penalty-killing prowess while paired up with Elias Pettersson on a shorthanded unit.
- Jack Rathbone was the Canucks’ best defenceman in either province, and will need to turn in more strong efforts all preseason long if he hopes to make the team.
“I thought he got better as the game went along,” said head coach Bruce Boudreau. “He ended up playing 25 minutes and he started to look a lot more comfortable out there, so I think it was very positive what I saw from him.”
- As has been pointed out before, a good indicator that Pettersson is on his game is when he’s forcing the opponents into taking penalties. Tonight, Pettersson managed to put the Canucks on the power play twice.
Now for the ugly one…
The Canucks certainly didn’t send their best players to Calgary.
In Vancouver, they had Elias Pettersson and Bo Horvat on their top two lines with the same linemates that they had during training camp in Whistler.
In Calgary, the Canucks’ projected fourth line of Dakota Joshua, Curtis Lazar, and Jason Dickinson served as their first line, while their second line consisted of Linus Karlsson, Nils Åman, and Nils Höglander.
The good news is, this gave the Canucks’ youngsters a chance to line up against NHL competition, but they were certainly at a disadvantage squaring off against players like Elias Lindholm, Jonathan Huberdeau, Tyler Toffoli, and more proven NHLers on the Calgary side.
Now for the bad news…
The Canucks didn’t appear like they had much of a chance at any point in this one with Calgary backup Dan Vladar manning the Flames’ crease.
Even after Calgary’s fourth-string goaltender Oskar Dansk entered the game, the Canucks didn’t look great.
The watered-down Canucks squad would go on to lose by a final score of 4-0.
Notes from VAN @ CGY
- As he should have been, Nils Höglander was the primary driver of play on his line alongside Åman and Karlsson. Höglander took two penalties in the contest, one for roughing up Rasmus Andersson, and the other for slashing. There’s no such thing as a “good” penalty, but both of Höglander’s penalty — particularly the first one — came as a result of him being engaged physically and operating at a high speed, so do with that what you will.
- Karlsson and Åman both turned in strong efforts as well, and were getting plenty of love from the Calgary commentary team. Look for these two to be strong contributors for the Abbotsford Canucks this season.
- In goal, Colin Delia looked like a goaltender who is certainly going to benefit from getting some coaching and guidance on the technical side of his game from the Canucks’ goaltending coaches.
- Michael DiPietro entered in the third period, and turned away all but one of the shots he faced despite the majority of the play being in the Canucks’ end.
The Canucks won’t have any more split-squad games for the rest of the preseason, and will be back at home when the Seattle Kraken will be in town on Thursday night.