Coming off Tuesdays 7-2 loss to arguably the best team in the league, the Vancouver Canucks face off tonight against the Arizona Coyotes. Despite a roster full of young talent, the Coyotes find themselves at the bottom of the league right now after a rough start to the season.
Loui Eriksson came into this game hoping to build on his 6 points in the last 17 games. More importantly though, is it me or is he looking more and more like Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride as Movember goes on?
We also get to see Radim Vrbata once more after spending two topsy turvy seasons here in Vancouver. He sure seems to have figured things out again in Arizona this year. Coming into the game, Vrbata has 6 goals so far and is tied for team lead with 11 points.
Last but not least, there was a feeling of déjà vu today as Ryan Miller couldn’t play due to an illness and Jacob Markstrom found himself back in net after allowing 7 goals two days ago against the New York Rangers. Michael Garteig was flown in from the Alaska Aces to serve as the back up and I for one feel very comfortable when we have a back up that can do something like this:
The Vancouver Canucks brought good pressure to start the game once again. The Sedins and Brandon Sutter had a number of good shots on net and seem to be trending upwards the more we see them play with eachother again.
I’ve noticed Brendan Gaunce playing well on the fourth line, he was creating turnovers and getting the puck into the Coyotes zone before ending his shift and even had a few chances on net.
Nikita Tryamkin also helped create offence by joining the rush to forcing the Coyotes to stay in their own end. I can’t wait for his shot to start finding twine and really get his game going.
Radim Vrbata wanted to score so badly against Vancouver and sent a ton of pucks to the net in the opening frame. Of his 9 shots in the game, his best chance rang off the post after he fired a quick shot that beat Jacob Markstrom.
Shortly after Vrbata struck iron, Michael Chaput seemed to have his first goal of the season when he redirected Alex Edler’s shot from the blueline. Unfortunately, it was eventually overturned after Arizona challenged for Goaltender Interference.
Erik Gudbranson played an assertive, physical game tonight and was throwing his body around with force. It’s great to see this kind of play from our bigger guys and I hope to see more of it against the teams ahead of us in the standings.
During the first intermission, Derek Dorsett left with an upper body injury and would not be returning. Could Jake Virtanen be getting a phone call already?
Brandon Sutter continued to play well with the Sedins but things took a turn for the worse when Daniel Sedin went down hard after blocking a shot and Brad Richardson scored his 5th goal of the year as Daniel made his way off the ice. While Vancouver challenged the goal (thinking that Laurent Dauphin was offside prior to the goal), the review was inconclusive and the call on the ice was upheld.
Jacob Markstrom worked to keep his team in the game with some sharp saves after allowing his first goal of the night. Despite this, momentum began to swing in Arizona’s favour as the period progressed. The Vancovuer Canucks were gaining the zone but couldn’t seem to get a shot on net. Whether it was getting their sticks lifted or their shots tipped away from the net, Arizona was doing everything they could to keep Vancouver’s chances limited.
In the middle of the period, Arizona went on the power play. While their luck with the man advantage has been on par with Vancouver lately, Anthony Deangelo bucked the trend with his first goal of the year. Jacob Markstrom ended up playing a little too aggressive and was caught out of position.
Not long after the second goal, Brad Richardson went down hard and had to be taken off the ice via stretcher. He was soon on his way to the hospital for further evaluation and you have to hope we’ll get well soon. While he’s a pest to play against, Brad Richardson played some solid hockey in his time with team and it’s always a shame to see a player go down like that.
Thought it was a stick hitting Brad Richardson, but looks like leg injury. Brad taken off on stretcher, leg gave out on him pic.twitter.com/kSL9nWJx52— Wyatt Arndt (@TheStanchion) November 18, 2016
When play resumed, Jacob Markstrom kicked things off with a number of saves after the energy in the building had hit a very somber level. Alex Burrows did is best to bring the crowd to their feet with a nice breakaway chance but couldn’t get a shot off.
While Burrows failed to find the back of the net, Brandon Sutter’s chemistry with the Sedins continued to show improvement. This was on display more than ever when he buried a no look pass from Daniel Sedin. This is exactly what you want to see from a linemate with the Sedins, a nose for the net and a good quick shot. Alex Edler also earned his first assist of the season and Daniel’s point streak is now up to 7 games.
Horvat’s line showed some more bite in their shift following the goal. They had some great shots on net and ended up drawing a penalty to cap it all off. This definitely proved useful when the Canucks put away a goal with the extra man.
Alex Edler got his second assist of the season AND the game after deftly passing the puck to a wide open Daniel Sedin on his right. Daniel put the puck just out of Louis Domingue’s reach to tie the game 2-2.
As the period was winding down, Daniel Sedin brought yet another reaction from the fans. Only this time it was when he sent the puck over the boards and earned himself a delay of game penalty.
The period ended with the score tied at 2 and shots even at 27 a piece.
Bo Horvat had a great shift on the penalty kill near the start of the period and continued to look sharp tonight. He’s always in the right place at the right time and constantly hustling to make a play.
Alex Edler kept up his strong game as the period wore on, making some key blocks and playing strong defence. Brandon Sutter also continues to show confidence on the first line and made some great plays to test Domingue.
As the game carried on, the Coyotes began to take a more defensive approach and Vancouver did their best to turn up the heat.
Louis Domingue had to make a number of impressive saves to keep the Canucks at bay and we saw some very strong play from the likes of Troy Stecher. The Sedins kept up their hustle, having some great shifts to keep the Coyotes hemmed in their own zone and getting pucks on net.
The final minute of the third period brought some excitement with it as the Sedins continued to work their magic and create some scoring chances. However, both goalie prevailed in regulation and this game was going to extra time.
Overtime brought equal scoring chances at both ends.
Alex Edler almost got his third point of the game when he found himself in front of the net on the receiving end of a pass from Henrik Sedin. Unfortunately, he couldn’t get it up and over Louis Domingue. He did however become well acquainted with Max Domi’s forearm after trying to tap in the rebound.
Arizona created some chances of their own and the Vancouver Canucks counted on their defence to make some key blocks and break up the play where they could.
With 2:26 remaining, Ben Hutton came on the ice, picked up a rebound in front of Jacob Markstrom and started skating up ice. Unable to keep up, Dylan Strome was forced to hook Hutton as they neared the Arizona goal in a desperate bid to break up the chance.
With the referee’s arm up in the air, Vancouver fans were praying to see it point to center ice and indicate Ben Hutton’s first career penalty shot. Luckily, that’s exactly what they were treated to.
Coming down the ice with a nice bit of speed, Ben Hutton went to the forehand, faked the shot and moved over to beat Domingue five hole.
Ben Hutton wins the game for the Canucks with a Penalty Shot in OT pic.twitter.com/beK4xLEzUM— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) November 18, 2016
After playing one of his worst games of the season against the New York Rangers on Tuesday, it’s great to see Hutton get some time in the spotlight and get a win for the team.