Jannik Hansen’s return to the lineup has definitely made an impact in recent games. With his last minute goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets to salvage a point on Sunday combined with tonights performance, it’s safe to say that the he’s turning into a catalyst for the teams offence.
But that’s not the only story going into tonight s game. We’ve got ourselves a TANEV BOWL.
For the first time in their careers, brothers Chris and Brandon Tanev faced each other tonight on opposing teams. While tonight was Chris’s 27th birthday, his brother probably wasn’t looking to gift him with a win.
In attendance were the parents of the Tanev clan as well as the third brother. I love the way he played it safe with the Jets toque and Vancouver sweater.
Jacob Markstrom was tested early when Ben Hutton put the Winnipeg Jets on the power play a minute into the game. Hutton drew an interference call after taking down Patrik Laine in front of the net. The Canucks did well to kill the penalty and keep the Jets chances limited.
Near the halfway point of the period, Vancouver had another power play that failed to score. However, the Canucks had a chance to take the lead when play returned to 5 on 5. Bo Horvat made a great drag move to get a shot on net but couldn’t beat Connor Hellebuyck.
Ben Hutton took his second penalty of the period (and the game) with just over 7 minutes left in the period. Blake Wheeler made the man advantage count after entering the zone with a head of steam, powered around a hapless Alex Biega and past Jacob Markstroms poke check to tuck the puck around the goalie.
Blake Wheeler’s 10th goal of the season was also the 6th power play goal given up by Vancouver in their last 9 penalty kills. Two and a half weeks ago, our penalty kill was one of the few things we had going for us. Since then, we’ve dropped from 4th in the league to 21st.
The Jets kept their foot on the gas for the remainder of the period and ended the frame with the man advantage after Louis Eriksson tripped Dustin Byfuglien behind the Winnipeg net.
Despite starting the power play to begin the period, Winnipeg was neutralized by the Vancouver penalty killers.
The Canucks couldn’t do much offensively after the successful kill and the Jets continued to attack in waves. Time and time again, the visiting team showed off their impressive speed to create chances on net.
8 minutes into the period, the Canucks started to show some signs of life after getting a foothold in the offensive zone. Vancouver finally found some room to set up their plays and started cycling the puck more and more effectively.
After a number of blocked scoring chances, the Canucks were finally rewarded for their efforts when Jannik Hansen buried a pass from his cycling linemates to put Vancouver on the board.
Vancouver didn’t let up after the goal and continued to pressure Winnipeg in their own end. This momentum came to a grinding halt when Troy Stecher drew a slashing penalty to put the Canucks on the power play. It’s astounding how having the extra man actually sucks the life out of this teams offence.
Markus Granlund had a fantastic opportunity when a quick pass from Troy Stecher found him behind the Winnipeg defence. Granlund made a few quick dekes but couldn’t beat Hellebuyck.
With two seconds left the period, Bryan Little took a roughing penalty to give Vancouver the power play going into the third. I’m thinking he knows that the best way to keep the Canucks away from their net is to give them a power play.
While the team showed more promise with the man advantage than earlier in the game, they still couldn’t get things to click to start the period. Luckily, the Canucks only had to wait 1:58 before they could switch gears following the power play.
For the second time this game, Jannik Hansen scored a goal after a pass from a Sedin. This time Henrik set him up with enough room to take a long shot and beat the Connor Hellebuyck from a distance.
Shortly after, Sven Baertschi blocked Dustin Byfuglien’s shot to set himself up with a breakaway. With some slick moves to accompany his speed, Baertschi made no mistake in scoring his 7th goal of the season. The breakaway goal adds to his 4 game point streak.
An Alex Biega tripping penalty set up a shooting gallery for the Winnipeg Jets with 5 minutes left in the game. Jacob Markstrom answered the call and made some fantastic saves to keep the two goal lead in hand.
With over two minutes left in the game, Bo Horvat scored a long distance empty netter to increase his point streak to 4 games.
Nikita Tryamkin and Luca Sbisa played a strong, physical game tonight. Sbisa led the team in ice time and actually rose to the challenge tonight in his 25:05 of play.
The Canucks held on to the 4-1 lead to win the first of their back to back home games against Winnipeg. Hopefully this momentum stick with them when they face off again on Thursday night.