It may be election night in the United States of America, but the Vancouver Canucks had a different result on their minds this Tuesday evening. Riding a catastrophic 9 game losing streak into Madison Square Garden, the Canucks were looking to right their wrongs against the New York Rangers, one of the hottest teams in the league.
With head coach WIllie Desjardins officially in the hot seat amid a renewed uproar for a coaching change, the team didn’t see too many changes to the core lineup tonight. Jake Virtanen remains relegated to the press box and seems to be getting the Tryamkin treatment while Jack Skille and Michael Chaput play ahead of him.
It goes without saying, but fans didn’t have the highest of hopes going into this game. The Canucks have seen their share of bad bounces and missed opportunities since they’re 4 game streak ended so long ago and half the team seemed to be struggling to break the cycle.
Bringing that run of play up against a team that’s put up 5 goals or more in the past 5 games is normally a recipe for disaster. However, the way this game played out goes to show just how quickly things can be turned on their head.
The Canucks kicked off the game holding their own and limiting New York’s chances to perimeter shots. Jacob Markstrom seemed intent to break the streak and made a number of strong saves.
The Sedins showed some glimpses of a nice cycle game with Loui Eriksson and we were treated to another sight of things possibly clicking. Nikita Tryamkin was also able to display the usefulness of his reach once more to break up a potential two on one against Jimmy Vesey and Derek Stepan.
New York began building some momentum in the final minutes after a prolonged stint in the Vancouver zone after a delayed penalty on Nikitan Tryamkin. Despite the late pressure, the Canucks finished the opening period as well as you could hope for in their current state. They limited their oppositions chances and generated their own opportunities as they came.
The Rangers had the man advantage to kick of the second period but the Canucks continued to display their solid penalty killing skills and neutralize the second New York power play. Jacob Markstrom made a great save on Rick Nash shortly after the power play concluded to deny his 400th career goal.
Both teams seemed to be struggling to maintain possession in the second period but the Canucks sure gave the home team a few kicks at the can with a number of bad turnovers in their own end.
Eight minutes into the period, the first goal of the game was scored after Brandon Sutter sent a pass out front from behind the New York net. Instead of finding Marcus Granlund, it was scooped up Jesper Fast who lead a drive into the Canucks end with Pavel Buchnevich. Buchnevich found the back of the net for his third goal in three straight game after Fast’s cross ice pass was tipped to him by Luca Sbisa.
Jesper Fast with an absolutely beautiful dish to Pavel Buchnevich to keep Buchnevich's streak going! pic.twitter.com/1poIyEUqfM— NHL 365 (@NHLDaily365) November 9, 2016
The Canucks seemed to wake up a bit after the goal and sustained some strong pressure in the offensive zone. There were a number of strong shifts and turn overs produced from some aggressive forechecking. Loui Eriksson put an explanation point on these chances when he scored his first goal of the season a few minutes after ringing a shot off the post. With the Sedins cycling the puck nicely to wear down the defence, Eriksson found the puck on his stick in front of the net and was able to deftly move it to his backhand and over a sprawling Antti Raanta. It took 14 games, but it finally happened!
Loui Eriksson scores his first as a Canuck with assists from both Daniel and Henrik Sedin! pic.twitter.com/hpfVKO45OS— NHL 365 (@NHLDaily365) November 9, 2016
The Canucks carried their momentum into another strong display of penalty killing, generating more shots on nets than the Rangers and keeping them trapped in their own zone for the majority of the two minutes. In three power plays, the Vancouver Canucks have limited the Rangers to only a single shot on net.
After an errant high stick from captain Henrik Sedin, the Rangers had their best chance on the power play when Brandon Pirri fired a one timer from the open wing. Luckily, Jacob Markstrom followed the play the whole way through to make the save.
30 seconds later, Erik Gudbranson sent a long pass to Henrik Sedin as he sprung out of the penalty box. Moving in alone, Henrik used a rarely seen slapper to beat Raanta short side.
VAN@NYR: H. Sedin beats Raanta out of the penalty box https://t.co/dr1ocvviyv— NHL Goal Tracker (@NHLGoalTracker) November 9, 2016
Unfortunately, Vancouver fans didn’t have to wait long for this new feeling of holding a lead to leave them. While Marcus Granlund sat in the box for Goaltender Interference, The Rangers wasted no time in finally capitalizing on the man advantage. After a number of sharp passes spread the defence and set up Rick Nash with an easy tip in for his 400th career goal.
Play really picked up after the equalizer with New York really digging in and getting all sorts of chances on net.
Annti Raanta was replaced by Henrk Lundqvist with about 11:30 left in the game. Raanta was likely pulled due to concussion protocol after being hit by Marcus Granlund.
In less than a minute, another Canuck scored their first of the season. After a scramble near the net off a shot from Bo Horvat, Alex Burrows put the loose puck past Lundqvist for the second lead of the night.
After another less than inspiring power play, the Canucks decided to really make a night of it and give yet another player their first of the season, Sven Baertschi. With Jack Skille sending a great floating pass over to Baertschi, Sven made no mistake in burying the puck with a quick touch.
VAN@NYR: Baertschi roofs Skille's feed to pad lead https://t.co/S3FFh354X4— NHL Goal Tracker (@NHLGoalTracker) November 9, 2016
After allowing two goals on six shots, Henrik Lundqvist was replaced by Annti Raanta to tend the net once more. Shortly after, he left the ice for the extra attacker, allowing Burrows to score his second of the season and secure the league.
VAN@NYR: Burrows tallies from blue line on empty net https://t.co/tUemSvEyV6— NHL Goal Tracker (@NHLGoalTracker) November 9, 2016
Despite a late push by New York and goal by Mika Zibanejad, the Vancouver Canucks persevered to hold on to a 5-3 win and walked out Madison Square Garden with an unexpected win.