It was a special night in Vancouver as Daniel and Henrik Sedin had their banners raised to the rafters, joining fellow legends Stan Smyl, Trevor Linden, Pavel Bure, and Markus Naslund. Greeting the Sedins onto the ice was a collection of guests, which included current and former Canuck executives and teammates, Gary Bettman, friends and family. A few of the notable names who received loud ovations from Canuck faithful were Ryan Kesler, Alex Burrows, Roberto Luongo, Kevin Bieksa and Mike Gillis.
What followed was an emotional trip down memory lane in the form of a video montage that left everyone with goosebumps at the very least. The evening’s MC, John Shorthouse, got the speeches moving along and we began to hang on every word, especially as he passed the mic to Kevin Bieksa. The beloved defenceman, who is well-known for his wit and charisma, brought some heat to the festivities with subtle jabs at the Sedins and even Alex Burrows.
After Juice managed to sprinkle in some kind words, the Sedins finally took the podium. It was a thrilling moment to see the two take in the occasion to the roar of the fans, who they were quick to thank. In addition to showing love to the fanbase, the brothers offered appreciation to every coach and a laundry list of teammates.
Included in their touching speech was moments to recognize everyone who got them there. In true Sedin-like fashion, they shared the spotlight and honour with many who joined them tonight.
The ceremony was then wrapped up by their banners raising next to their role model and countryman, Naslund.
Teams then took warm-ups with some terrific tributes. The Canucks dawned 22 and 33 jerseys while the Blackhawks beautified their helmets.
It was a classy touch from an organization who the Sedins even acknowledged in their speech.
For two icons who reiterated how uncomfortable they are in the spotlight, they handled it flawlessly and made the ceremony truly unforgettable. Next stop: Hall of Fame!
Roughly an hour after ceremonies began, there was a hockey game to be played. The Canucks looked to build off Monday’s strong performance that kicked off Sedin week. Meanwhile, the Blackhawks looked to snap a 4-game losing streak, which included a loss to the McDavid-less Oilers.
It was a sluggish start for the Canucks, who watched the ceremony from the bench. The good guys didn’t register a shot until he 10:04 mark in the first. By that time, the visitors had 13 shots. Despite that, the game remained scoreless thanks to Jacob Markstrom, who had found his legs earlier than his teammates.
The Canucks goaltender remained busy as his teammates eventually took advantage of a powerplay that came off a failed coach’s challenge. While it was nice to reward Markstrom for keeping the Blackhawks at bay, it was also great to see the powerplay build momentum from the last game.
From then on it was much of the same as the third line was able to capitalize on a pretty passing play, while Markstrom carried the load defensively. The Canucks were caved in by the Hawks who sustained a ton of zone time throughout the contest. The third period was particularly bad for Canuck skaters as they weren’t able to find ways to alleviate the pressure on Markstrom.
In the end, it proved to not matter, as they pulled out the win on the back of Markstrom’s shutout performance. While they may be pleased with the two points, I’m not so sure they’ll be happy about how much Markstrom was relied on.
Travis Green opted to run with the same lineup that earned the win against the Predators. Justin Bailey and Zack MacEwen got another look after both have looked good since their call-ups.
It was fitting that the current captain got the first tally. It was a powerplay goal that came off significant zone time from the first unit. After some nice high to low puck movement, Brandon Sutter was able to find Horvat for an open shot in the low slot.
Jordie Benn won’t get an assist on the goal that made it 2-0, but his hit on Drake Caggiula was essential. What followed was a pretty passing play leading to an open net for Gaudette to score his 10th of the season. Like Horvat, he was pumped to pot that one.
Game Notes
  • Although the Canucks came away with the win, they could certainly help Markstrom out a bit more by controlling more of the shot share. They ended up getting outshot 49-20. They didn’t register their first shot until 9:56 into the game and went over 12 minutes without a shot in the final frame.
  • The penalty kill came with quite the effort, killing off all five Blackhawk power plays.
  • As Jeff Patterson pointed out, with Adam Gaudette fighting Connor Murphy tonight, the Canucks now have six fights since last Thursday. Surely an interesting element to their games lately.
  • With tonight’s win, the Canucks move five points up on the Oilers for first in the division.
Top Performers
  • Markstrom was once again phenomenal and the story of the game. In fact, I was tempted to leave this section all to the superstar goaltender. In the 2nd intermission, Brandon Sutter even went on to mention that they were leaning on their goaltender too much. Markstrom faced 17 high danger shot attempts on his way to the 49 save shutout. Simply unreal.
  • Bo Horvat, who’s been colder than many thought he would be on the man advantage this season, was able to bury one from his spot in the slot and kickstart the Canucks. He was out there late to close things out and led Canuck forwards with three shots.
  • Sutter had his fingerprints on all three goals, finishing with two assists and an empty-net goal to seal it.
  • Guadette had a solid performance for himself providing the insurance goal and registering his first career scrap.