The I-5alry, The Cascadia Clash, The Battle of the 49th, or The War on the Shore — the Canucks were hosting the Seattle Kraken for the first time at Rogers Arena, and fans were excited to watch this game launch the Pacific Northwest rivalry.
After the Canucks made 16 cuts to their roster, their lineup featured a majority of NHL players with AHL names like Carson Focht, Sheldon Dries, and Will Lockwood rounding out the lineup.
The Canucks were trying out a new DJ for tonight’s game as they are cycling between the three finalists for the full-time gig. We will definitely report back on his music choices throughout the night. I ran into his manager in the pregame and said to stay away from Chelsea Dagger.
The Kraken were playing an NHL-heavy lineup of their own with Phillip Grubauer getting the call to the crease as Thatcher Demko slid in between the pipes for the Canucks. Let’s get to what the Canucks’ lineup looked like for the third-last preseason game of the year.
After a stellar performance on Sunday evening, the trio of Nils Höglander, Bo Horvat, and Tanner Pearson was once again together. They were in a top-line role on Tuesday night and looking to dominate the possession as much as they did on Sunday against the Jets.
It was our first time seeing Oliver Ekman-Larsson away from Tucker Poolman as he took the night off. In his place, Tyler Myers rounded out the top pairing. This brought up the question of if Poolman may be the defence partner for Quinn Hughes as he returns to the Canucks’ lineup.
Another story to follow on the back end was the Jack Rathbone and Luke Schenn pairing. Both players are on the bubble for the opening night lineup with Rathbone looking like he’s very close to winning the job throughout the preseason. Rathbone has played in all five of the Canucks’ preseason games and has had shades of excellence throughout.
The fans were eager to get this game going and send a message to their new rivals.
So, without anymore words wasted.
Rathbone had a couple of good shots on net during his first shift. He hit the post just one minute into the game on a rocket of a slap shot. Just after the two Rathbone shots, Jason Dickinson took a double minor for high-sticking. The Kraken and their lowsy looking looking power play unit took the ice for the extended power play time. A good sign for bubble player Will Lockwood was that he got penalty-killing time early in this game.
The Kraken hit a post early in the four minute power play and the Canucks were giving shooters a chance to walk in pretty close on Demko but he was strong with his positioning and made a couple of big saves in tight. The Canucks killed off the penalty with some strong play from Luke Schenn and Phil Di Giuseppe.
Right after the double-minor, Schenn took a high-sticking penalty and the Canucks were right back on the penalty kill. Horvat and Pearson were out killing penalties and the team relied on Demko being strong in the crease to keep this game tied.
The Canucks received their first power play of the game when Matthew Highmore drew an interference penalty on Adam Larsson. The Canucks sent Pearson, Horvat, Höglander, Justin Dowling and Ekman-Larsson as their first power play unit. Vasily Podkolzin had a scoring chance once the second unit went out. Podkolzin came down the right wing and fired a shot on the short side that was saved by Grubauer. The penalty expired without much of an attack from the Canucks.
The later parts of the period slowed down pretty hard and the only real highlight came when Podkolzin knocked over the point man after a solid shift. The Canucks were struggling to generate a scoring chances in the period and though they finished with 15 shots on net, it was hard to find a true scoring chance aside from when Rathbone his the post on a hard slap shot.
Thoughts from the first
Rathbone was the Canucks’ best defenceman in the period. He was making good plays at his own blue line by being aggressive and not allowing anyone to gain the zone without him stick-checking them. He was also firing a ton of shots in the period and had some good looks from the point.
As I mentioned in the intro to this post game report, the Canucks were trialing a new DJ. My DJ sources confirm that his name is DJ Tom Fleming and my overall review of the pregame and first period is good. He made great transitions in the pregame through a lot of hip hop but brought the rock and roll for the in-period breaks. Overall, I’d give him a 8/10 and for a Canucks’ DJ, that’s a great rating.
Lockwood had an up and down period with some very nice plays and a couple of blunders. His possession stats looked great as he was on the ice for eight shot attempts for and zero against. He got a short stint on the penalty kill for the double minor but did not see any time on the two minute kill.
The Canucks went back to the penalty kill just 2:38 into the period when Jack Rathbone took a cross-checking penalty. It was somewhat of a weak call but from the sounds of it, the league is really trying to crack down on cross-checking.
It didn’t take long for the Kraken to capitilize as Vince Dunn ripped a shot that went bar down from the point and the Kraken took the lead 4:31 into the second period. 1-0 Kraken.
The Kraken weren’t done there. Dunn found space in the slot during a rush into the zone and he ripped another one past Demko to double their lead. 2-0 Kraken.
After the two goals, the Canucks needed a swing in momentum and they got that opportunity when Nathan Bastian took a cross-checking penalty with 11:47 remaining in the period.
It was a weak performance on the power play with only a couple of half-chances that didn’t result in anything substantial. Luckily for them, the Canucks went right back to the power play when the Kraken took a holding penalty.
The second power play looked much more dangerous. They had a wild scramble on Grubauer’s right side with him just being able to cover the puck up with his right skate. Höglander had a couple good looks as well and fired a shot in Grubauer’s glove when a puck slid over to him on the right side.
Dickinson took his second penalty of the game when he was charged for boarding with 6:33 to go in the period. The Kraken went back to the power play with a two goal lead.
They extended that lead to three goals when Ryan Donato found a loose puck around the crease and buried it over a sprawling Demko. 3-0 Kraken.
Podkolzin had the highlight of the period for the Canucks when he walked Mark Giordano and had a quality scoring chance that he just mishandled after making a move around Grubauer.
The Canucks then went to the power play once again and needed to get quality scoring chances to have a chance to build momentum into the third period.
They did not generate many scoring chances on the power play and went into the second intermission trailing the Kraken by three.
Thoughts from the second
The Canucks were attempting a ton of shots but they were such low-quality scoring chances and were simply padding Grubauer’s preseason stats. They had a few good looks but were unable to get much going aside from a Podkolzin rush and a couple of Höglander shots.
The DJ was still doing a pretty good job. He had a nice mix of hip hop and rock with a dash of EDM at the right times. He’s staying at an 8/10.
It was a quiet start to the period before Kyle Burroughs had a little bit of a late hit that resulted in coincedental minors leading to some four-on-four action.
The period continued to drag on until the Canucks took another cross-checking penalty. This time Ekman-Larsson was the culprit and with 7:53 remaining, the Kraken went back to the power play.
I began to feel bad for fans that paid to go to this game. Myers took a hooking call with 5:39 and the fans began to head out.
As Al Murdoch announced one minute left in the third period, a fan screamed, “thank you”.
Seconds after, the Kraken made it 4-0 when Nathan Bastian scored.
Thoughts from the third
Though the Canucks weren’t able to get anything going on the ice, DJ Tom Fleming was able to get the crowd going as he actually did a solid job mixing tracks together. Andrew Wadden of Sekeres and Price is a DJ on the side and he was impressed with DJ Tom Fleming.
“He was actually mixing songs together and doing it well,” said Wadden. “From one DJ to another, I was impressed.”
Will Lockwood had a 90% Corsi percentage in the game and was physical. He threw six hits and took four as well. He got a bit of penalty kill time at the beginning of the game and then one pk shift late in the game.
Vasily Podkolzin looked like the most dangerous Canucks in the game. He finished with three shots on net and drove the net a few times. He had a couple of big hit as well.
The DJ was really good tonight.
The Canucks had 38 shots on net but it felt like maybe six of them were dangerous. The game dragged on worse than a podcast about paint drying and only a couple of Canucks had decent games. The Kraken capitilized on their scoring chances even though they were severely outshot. The Canucks controlled 63.6% of attempted shots at five-on-five but just never really looked dangerous.
The best performer was DJ Tom Fleming. The Canucks are rotating through three finalists for the job and Fleming had a great showing on Tuesday night. He found a good mix between the three genres of arena music: hip hop, rock & roll and EDM. Even though the crowd was watching a snoozefest of a game, DJ Tom Fleming kept them in the action with his sick beats.
The Canucks’ next preseason game is Thursday as they travel to Edmonton to take on the Oilers. Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes are expected to be back in the lineup as well as some of the other regular NHL players. There may be some cuts from the team before the Thursday night affair but for now, we will just have to wait and see.