The Vancouver Canucks came into this match up against the Anaheim Ducks with a 6-3-1 record in the past ten games (tied for third best in the league) and were looking to keep up their scoring success after a 5-4 win over the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday.
The Anaheim Ducks handed Vancouver their first regulation loss of the season earlier this year. That also happened to be loss that kicked off a 9 game losing streak. After tonights performance, I’m really hoping that doesn’t become the trend.
Ryan Kesler returned to Vancouver after a strong November with 7 goals, 7 assists and winning 60% of his face-offs. As per usual, the Canucks faithful continued to welcome him back with open arms.
Not a whole lot happened in the first period. It took the Canucks 9 minutes to get their first shot on net and scoring chances were few and far between.
The Triple B line continued to play their tenacious style of game this period, creating turnovers and forechecking well.
The Canucks were on their heels for the second half of the opening period. Anaheim kept Vancouver hemmed in their own zone and maintained a firm grip on the momentum of the game. To the Canucks credit, the young crew on defencemen kept the Ducks shots to a minimum and broke up the majority of the oppositions most dangerous chances.
Less than four minutes into the second period, Anaheim got on the board. Cam Fowler entered the zone making Nikita Tryamkin AND Philip Larsen BOTH fall back and BOTH cover him for some reason. This let Fowler enter the zone unhindered and set up Jakob Silfverberg for a one timer (his 8th goal of the year).
It also gave us this 10/10 tweet:
"We should combine our powers and take down one guy together. It's team work. Coach will love it." pic.twitter.com/aWRKWnWvFi— Wyatt Arndt (@TheStanchion) December 2, 2016
Vancouver continued to fight the puck and bounces don’t seem to be going their way. The Ducks did well to keep Vancouver from establishing any sustained offensive pressure and kept the life out of the building.
The Canucks had a chance to tie the game up when they found themselves with a 5 on 3 power play for 58 second after Bo Horvat was slashed by Ryan Garbutt. However, it was largely uneventful and Vancouver failed to continue their success on special teams.
Shortly after the man advantage, the Ducks increased their lead to 2-0 when Ondrej Kase scored his first career goal. Kase’s pass attempt from behind the net went off Nikita Tryamkin’s knee and found its way past Ryan Miller.
The Anaheim Ducks continued their strong play throughout the second period and limited the Canucks chances to the odd rush on net or shots from the perimeter. Heading into the third period, Vancouver was in desperate need of some kind of spark.
We saw some line juggling at the top of the third period. Brandon Sutter found himself on a line with Markus Granlund and Loui Eriksson while Jayson Megna got some playing time with the Sedins.
Anaheim continued to control the pace of the game, stifling any chances Vancouver attempted to create.
Later in the period, Loui Eriksson was put back on top line and in a matter of minutes set up Henrik Sedin for Vancouver’s first goal of the game.
After the goal, Vancouver stepped up the pressure and had chance after chance on John Gibson. For about 5 minutes, a sleeper of a game suddenly felt like it was turning into a thriller.
The built up energy in the building soon dissipated when Andrew Cogliano scored his 6th goal of the season. Coming down the wing, his harmless looking shot was deflected by Troy Stecher and trickled past Ryan Miller.
The game ended with the Anaheim Ducks defeating the Vancouver Canucks 3-1. Anaheim controlled the tempo of this matchup from start to finish and played their game plan to perfection. Vancouver never had a chance to truly capitalize on their chances and the lack of excitement kept the home town advantage to a minimum.
Chances are the energy will be slightly different on Saturday when the Toronto Maple Leafs come into town.