With today being their first of 5 road games in 8 nights, the Canucks were looking to build off their recent road success against the New Jersey Devils, a team that hasn’t lost a home game in regulation all season.
As we all expected, the trade of Bo Horvat (who scored the game winner in Saturday’s shootout against Toronto) for Cory Schneider was a point of conversation. At this point, it really doesn’t seem to be a talking point as both teams got a great player in return. That being said, I still remember the feeling of shock I had when this trade was announced by Gary Bettman.
The Vancouver Canucks left the Prudential Centre tonight losing both a player and the game, which is definitely not the best way to kick off a road trip.
The New Jersey Devils applied a lot of pressure to kick off the game with an aggressive forecheck creating turnovers and scoring chances. Jacob Markstrom had to make a number of saves within the first few minutes of play to try and keep the score even.
Despite Markstrom’s best efforts, Taylor Hall started the scoring about 4 minutes into the game (his 7th goal of the season). After collecting a loose puck in front of the net, Hall made a mighty fine shot off the post and in.
The New Jersey Devils played well and kept the Canucks off balance. Vancouver had to fight all period to establish a presence in the offensive zone and couldn’t get a decent looking shot on net. The Devils also continued to show off a strong forecheck, resulting in a number of turnovers and rushed outlet passes.
Brendan Gaunce decided to truly embrace the 4th line role and got into a fight with Damon Severson. It was the first NHL fight in both of their careers.
The Canucks established a bit more momentum in the second half of the period and caught up on shots as well as zone time. The only problem was that they still couldn’t seem to get a legitimate strong scoring chance to appear.
Things picked up at the end of the period when Michael Chaput pushed Travis Zajac near the end boards. Unfortunately, Zajac went awkwardly into the boards and hit them face first. Despite a pretty beat up nose, he would return later in the game sporting a full shield.
After the play, John Moore earned himself an instigator penalty when he challenged Chaput to a fight. New Jersey’s head coach John Hynes made it a two man advantage after getting a little too vocal on his opinion.
Despite the opportunity, Vancouver couldn’t find a way to capitalize on their chances.
The second period began with Vancouver tying the game after a series of passes between Daniel Sedin and Brandon Sutter resulted in Daniel’s 8th goal of the season.
The pace of the game really picked up after the goal, resulting in a number of chances back and forth. However, the game came to a grinding halt when Philip Larsen collided with Taylor Hall behind the net. After taking a pass from Luca Sbisa, Larsen turned around to play the puck and never saw Hall coming in with a full head of steam.
Our thoughts are with Larsen after that scary hit. pic.twitter.com/UQMgxzwTBK— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) December 7, 2016
Dan Murphy confirmed that Philip Larsen he was coherent and had full movement prior to leaving the arena for evaluation.
Larsen was coherent, alert and had full movement before being taken to hospital for observation. #canucks— Dan Murphy (@sportsnetmurph) December 7, 2016
Taylor Hall wasn’t looking to injure Larsen on the hit and was genuinely remorseful after hitting his former teammate.
Things got chippy from there when Erik Gudbranson and Alex Burrows picked up roughing penalties while looking for payback on Hall’s hit. Soon after, Kyle Palmieri scored on the ensuing power play to give the Devils a 2-1 lead.
After the goal, New Jersey took control of the game for the rest of the period.
Ben Lovejoy scored his first goal of the season (and as a Devil) after his shot from the point beat a screened Jacob Markstrom.
The Canucks spent the remainder of the period struggling to contain the Devils and keep the lead down to 2 goals. New Jersey was all over the ice and shooting at will while Vancouver struggled to even get a shot on net.
Somehow, Vancouver came out of the second period leading in shots (18 to 17). Don’t let that fool you though, New Jersey had a firm grip on the game as they entered the third period.
The Devils wasted no time in the final frame, testing the Canucks with a number of chances to kick things off. Vancouver held down the fort but were desperate for some better offensive chances.
Hoping to switch things up, Willie Desjardins reunited the twins with Louis Eriksson and was rewarded for it when Henrik Sedin scored his 7th goal of the year, four minutes into the third period.
After bringing the game within a goal, the Canucks picked up the pace and seemed to find the puck going their way. Jacob Markstrom made some strong saves and Vancouver had some of their best looking shifts of the night.
The momentum of the game continued to swing back and forth as it came to a close. With scoring chances going both ways, the two goalies did what they’re paid to do and kept the puck out of the net.
This team looked a lot like the one we saw last Thursday against the Anaheim Ducks. While the Canucks did well to limit scoring chances and stay in the game where they could, opposing teams are finding ways to limit their scoring chances by keeping them limited to shots from the perimeter or forcing them to pass through high traffic areas.
Hopefully we’ll see them right their wrongs this Thursday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.