Coming into this game, fans find themselves asking an all too familiar question, “Where are the goals?”
The Vancouver Canucks hoped to answer that question against the Ottawa Senators tonight in the second game in their six game road trip out East. Despite doubling the Montreal Canadiens in shots last night (42), the Canucks were still unable to find a way to get on the board.
Mike Condon was in net for his first time as a Senator tonight after being acquired yesterday for a fifth-round pick from the Pittsburgh Penguins. Ottawa is trying to solidify their net presence while Craig Anderson is taking some much needed time away with his wife Nicholle.
We also saw some changes to the lineup tonight with Nikita Tryamkin playing his first game of the season on a pairing with Luca Sbisa while Philip Larsen fills in for Chris Tanev on the top pairing.
The game was hard fought with Vancouver consistently generating chances off takeaways. However, they still seemed to be fighting the puck when it came to actually getting it in the net.
While the Canucks played consistent, strong hockey and stepped on the gas at the end of the game, there was once again no reward for their effort. Mike Condon walked away with a 27 save shutout and the Vancouver Canucks find themselves in a 7 game losing streak.
The Canucks kicked off the game with some great pressure. The Sedins and Janik Hansen generated some shots on net to test Condon early and Tryamkin had a few attempts throughout the period.
The Canucks had active sticks in every zone in the opening period. They weren’t allowing Ottawa into the zone easily and produced some nice chances after creating turnovers.
Just over five minutes into the game, Derek Dorsett and Mark Borowiecki kicked off the first fight of the night. This would be followed by Nikita Tryamkin against Zack Smith later in the period after Tryamkin hit Chris Kelly.
Once again, the Penalty Killing unit displayed lots of confidence which allowed them to play aggressively. Nikita Tryamkin even spent some time on the PK, using his reach to clear the zone.
At the end of the period, Bo Horvat and Eric Karlson got into a scuffle after an exchange ended with Horvat removing Karlson’s helmet. It wasn’t much of a fight and both went to the box for Roughing (Horvat with the 4 minute minor).
It was a strange start to the middle frame with a linesman getting hit with a puck on Erik Gudbranson’s clearing attempt. He left the game but able to return later on.
The puck was not going the Canucks way tonight, there were a lot of missed chances, bad bounces and fanned shots. Later, in the second period, Erik Karlsson and a few of his teammates attempted to get even with Bo Horvat. Unfortunately for them, Horvat seems to have developed some sort of spider sense.
The shift where three Senators pledged their lives to getting vengeance on Horvat for daring to touch Karlsson pic.twitter.com/OjHQCSYvKd— Wyatt Arndt (@TheStanchion) November 4, 2016
The continuous misplays and failure to capitalize on scoring chance came to a head when Mike Hoffman got a break in front of the net. After blocking a combined clearing attempt from Ben Hutton and Erik Gudbranson, Hoffman was able to get around Jacob Markstrom’s diving poke check and put away the only goal of the game.
Markstrom was quick to regain his composure with a series of great saves to end the second period and attempt to keep the Canucks in the game.
Unfortunately, it was more of the same in the third period. Whether it’s a stick, skate or even a ref, the Canucks were hitting everything but the back of the net tonight.
With eleven minutes remaining, we saw the Baertschi, Horvat and Virtanen line reunited in an attempt by Willie Desjardin to generate some much needed offence.
Sven Baertschi (who is still trying to get his first goal of the season) had an excellent chance when he sent a blistering shot of a nice pass from Horvat but couldn’t get it over Condon’s glove.
The Vancouver Canucks brought a ton of pressure into the last half of the third period. They seemed poised to tie it up after continued pressure but Mike Condon made save after save to keep the scoreless Canucks frustrated and off the board. They’re now 4-6-1 and 5th in the Pacific Division after being shut out four times in five games.
With their World Series win last night, the Chicago Cubs offered a ray of hope for franchises with a long history of failing to win it all. But Vancouver fans sure hope they can turn it around sooner rather than later.