Things were looking grim for the Vancouver Canucks going into this game against the Minnesota Wild. They are missing their top pairing of Chris Tanev (foot injury) and Alex Edler (out for 4 to 6 weeks with a fractured finger) and relying on a very young, defensive core to get them through upcoming 3 game homestand. With Phil Larsen back in the lineup after missing 9 games due to a virus, we saw the following pairings tonight:
Different look on defence with Edler out:— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) November 28, 2016
The Minnesota Wild have had a solid season far, Devan Dubnyk leads the league with 4 shutouts and the team in front of him is finding ways to get the puck in the net. Lucky for us, the Canucks were set to face Darcy Kuemper tonight for his 5th start of the season instead the mighty Dubnyk.
We were also treated to a brotherly matchup as Markus Granlund’s older brother Mikael is in town. This is the fourth time they’ve played each other but the first time their parents have attended. They seem absolutely thrilled to be there!
Tryamkin was noticeable in the first period, throwing his weight around and getting good looking shot through traffic. He also seems to be clicking with Philip Larsen, they read the play well together and both have a dangerous shot from the blue line.
I’m noticing that the Sedins and Brandon Sutter are getting more and more creative as these games go on. Sutter is starting to understand where they need him to be and making sure he gets there.
Unfortunately, the cracks in our defence were soon on display when Luca Sbisa couldn’t break up Marco Scandella’s pass to Nino Neiderater, who was able to get behind the defence and generate a rebound for Jason Pominville to put away.
Henrik Sedin seemed to have tied the game after scoring off the rebound from Ben Hutton’s shot. The good feelings didn’t last long though as a coaches challenge overturned the goal due to Brandon Sutter interfering with the goalie.
Minnesota started the second period with some strong pressure, playing well on their own blue line and showing off their speed by generating a lot of odd man rushes and keeping the Canucks defence on their heels.
It didn’t take long for one of those pushes to pay off as Jason Pominville put away his second of the night. After finding himself open, Pominville shot a rolling puck to beat Miller blocker side and increase Minnesota’s lead to 2.
On the tail end of a penalty kill where the Wild looked dangerous, Brandon Sutter drew an interference penalty with 20 seconds left in Troy Stecher’s penalty. A few minutes later, Sutter and Stecher connected for the first goal of the game.
After a combined effort to keep the puck in the offensive zone, Henrik Sedin set up Troy Stecher for a one timer from the blue line. Brandon Sutter stood tall and deflected the puck down between Darcy Kuemper’s legs to get his 5th goal in 8 games.
Almost immediately, Vancouver found themselves on the power play once more and Ben Hutton got himself a power play goal! After keeping the puck in the Minnesota zone for the majority of the man advantage, the Sedins worked their magic and got the puck on net once more. After a scramble in the crease, the puck ended up at the side of the net and Hutton roofed it to tie the game.
Despite a slow start to the period, the performance by their special teams units seemed to jump started the Canucks offence. The Bo, Burrows & Baertschi line (can we just call them the “Triple B” line?) made some great plays and there were a high number of turnovers generated by the team as a whole.
The Canucks went into the second intermission hopipng to take hold of the momentum for the rest of the game.
The third period started with a bang as Loui Eriksson scored his 4th goal in 5 games. Ben Hutton had another shot on net that generated a big rebound, only this time Michael Chaput got the puck over to Eriksson who was waiting to tap it in from the side of the net.
59 seconds later, the Canucks put up their 4th goal of the game when Bo Horvat (originally credited to Sven Baertschi) got a piece of the point shot from Luca Sbisa.
But not so fast! Jason Zucker scored his 5th goal on a breakaway shortly after to keep the Wild in the game.
Jason Zucker blocks a shot and uses the NHL '95 move to score on the breakaway pic.twitter.com/8EbfSKOt8e— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) November 30, 2016
(On a side note, there was a very moving story about Jason Zuckers friendship and tribute to Tucker Helstrom You can read more about it here.)
Minnesota stepped up the pressure midway through the period and kept the Canucks hemmed in their own zone more than once. Despite some push back by Vancouver, the Wild’s persistence paid off when Erik Gudbranson accidentally tipped Ryan Suter’s shot and sent the puck bouncing past Ryan Miller.
MIN@VAN: Haula tips Suter's shot to even score late https://t.co/QbmQOOrjxF— NHL Goal Tracker (@NHLGoalTracker) November 30, 2016
Yet all was not lost, with 2:34 remaining, Burrows, Baertschi and Bo continued to hound the puck in Minnesota’s end. After yet another scramble in front of the net, Alex Burrows found Troy Stecher with a pass back to the blue line. Stecher’s shot was deflected by Sven Baertschi and Vancouver held the lead once more.
Despite another strong push by Minnesota late in the game, the Vancouver Canucks earned their first consecutive win in a month. While the defence showed some holes, they held their own and earned the win while the players up front found ways to score.
Most notable of those, would indeed have to be Lastname.
Huge game from Lastname pic.twitter.com/IjruyrnKRH— Justin Morissette (@JustinMoris) November 30, 2016
Who knew Lastname was going to be the hero the city of Vancouver rallied around.— Wyatt Arndt (@TheStanchion) November 30, 2016