Tonight was the last game of Vancouver’s five game road trip out east. The Canucks were coming off a rough weekend following their big win in Tampa and hoping to get their second win of the trip in Carolina before heading home.
The good news? The Vancouver Canucks found a way to score!
The bad news? So did Carolina.
Strap yourself in folks, we’re in for a bumpy ride. Hopefully this Hutton wink helps you brace for impact.
Dan Murphy delivers. Ladies, start the line up. pic.twitter.com/FmBkNGLbMH— Wyatt Arndt (@TheStanchion) December 14, 2016
Carolina was the first team on the board after Erik Gudbranson was caught pinching and allowed for an odd man rush. Sebastien Aho ended up getting the puck in front of the net to earn his 5th goal of the season. This was the 22nd time Vancouver has allowed the first goal of the game.
Vancouver responded with a strong shift from the Sedin’s but failed to convert on their chances. A few minutes later, Sven Baertschi tied the game up with a deft move to pick up the puck and lift it over Cam Ward’s pad.
Following the tying goal, Gudbranson found himself in the penalty box after a charging penalty and Jeff Skinner scored his 10th power play goal of the season when he buried the rebound out front.
Vancouver had a series of strong shifts after the oppositions goal but couldn’t get a shot on net despite spending a ton of time in the offensive zone.
With a little over 5 minutes left in the period, Luca Sbisa dropped the gloves with Ron Hainsey after the Carolina’s veteran high hit on Loui Eriksson.
Vancouver picked up the pace in the final quarter of the period, every line was hustling in the zone, but they still weren’t getting the shots to show for it. The period ended with little fanfare and limited scoring opportunities for Vancouver despite a solid effort.
The second period had it’s share of chances going back and forth between the teams.
The “B-line” showed some confidence and had a few great shifts down low with a lot of nice puck movement between Bo, Burrows and Baertschi. They were rewarded 4 minutes into the period when Nikita Tryamkin’s shot went behind the net to Sven Baertschi, who then set up Alex Burrows for a one timer almost a foot from the net.
Slick pass, Burrfect shot. pic.twitter.com/iK4B5NfBmC— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) December 14, 2016
One minute and and thirteen seconds later, Marcus Granlund attacked the net and picked up a goal after the puck came loose near the top of the crease. Suddenly, Vancouver had the lead and Carolina was replacing Cam Ward with Michael Leighton after allowing 3 goals on 15 host..
Eight minutes into the period, the Canucks already had 11 shots on net in the middle frame. The 12th shot came from Ben Hutton and his new mullet after Brandon Sutter generated a turnover and passed the puck back to the blue line. Hutton’s slapshot redirected off Teuvo Teravainen’s stick and bounced over Leighton’s shoulder.
Nikita Tryamkin continues to be a presence around the Vancouver net. Every time he’s on the ice, the opposition is kept on a short leash when they to get aggressive with Miller or Markstrom.
The Canucks had a chance to increase their lead when they were awarded a power play. However, they’re terrible record with the advantage continued to run it’s mediocre course. Remember when we used to score power play goals? I miss those day.
Thankfully, Vancouver’s power play only lasted two minutes and they were back to their scoring ways once Carolina’s player was back on the ice. Sven Baertschi picked up his third point of the night after some slick play with Sedin’s ended with him putting the puck away in front of the net.
After being a healthy scratch against the Washington Capitals, Baertschi looks like he’s playing with purpose and had two goals and an assist in this game.
Carolina woke up after Vancouver’s 4th goal of the period and brought some pressure to the Canucks end.
After another Erik Gudbranson penalty, the Hurricanes had a dangerous looking power play to end the period and Vancouver did well to keep them off the scoresheet. The Canucks ended the period with a 5-2 lead and 25 shots to the Canes 20. This was good period; but as Vancouver fans know all too well, not all good things are built to last.
Spoiler alert, this period does NOT go well for the team from Vancouver.
With Alex Burrows in the box, Carolina began the final period with another dangerous looking power play shift. Jeff Skinner put away his second power play goal of the game less than two minutes into the period and suddenly the lead was down to 5-3.
Suddenly, momentum had swung back to Carolina’s favour. The Canucks couldn’t clear the puck from their zone to save their life and before you had a chance to have another sip of your drink, the Hurricanes were within one.
Wanting to keep the good times rolling for the home crowd, Victor Rask stepped on to the ice and tied the game up 5-5 with less than 5 minutes played in the period.
Everyone seemed to be having so much fun putting the puck past Ryan Miler that Justin Faulk decided he’d give it a shot.
Following the 6th goal, Willie Desjardins put Ryan Miller out his misery and sent in Jacob Markstrom to replace him. While the Canucks seemed to settle down after the change in net, the lack of energy in the line up was obvious.
The Hurricanes took advantage of the buzzing home crowd and before long Jordan Staal was in on the scoring.
A few minutes later, Brandon Sutter made a fantastic individual effort to bring the game within one.
The Canucks were hoping to tie the game late but a fruitless power play and foiled chances on net kept them down 7-6 until Lee Stempniak scored on the empty net to secure the win.
What can I say? This period was a bitter pill to swallow after a great 40 minutes of hockey from Vancouver. There are disappointing losses, and then there’s losing 8-6 after entering the third with a 5-2 lead.
Could this spell the end of Willie Desjardins when he lands in Vancouver? Will we see any changes to the lineup in an effort to switch up the energy? Well, I guess we’ll have to wait and find out.