Fresh off the non-event yesterday's trade deadline proved to be, and in a toxic atmosphere of frustration and recrimination among some Canucks fans and media, the team took to the ice to continue playing out the string. Jim Benning and WIllie Desjardins promised Canucks fans would see more of the kids and in different situations through the rest of the year. The game began with Bo Horvat and Markus Granlund swapping lines. A practice injury to Jannik Hansen led Desjardins to try Emerson Etem with the Sedins, Derek Dorsett with Horvat and Linden Vey, and Yannick Weber on the fourth line with Jared McCann and Alex Burrows.
Points to ponder: Will Baertschi-Granlund show old AHL Abby Heat magic? Will Horvat be better defensively as third-line centre? #Canucks— Ben Kuzma (@benkuzma) March 2, 2016
It took two minutes for Vancouver to get the first shot of the game. And for the next minute and a half, Vancouver had some good pressure, piling up a 3-0 shot advantage.
On New York's first shot, Jacob Markstrom seemed to be peering over the left shoulder of the players screening him, leaving the right side of net open. A Travis Hamonic shot deflected off Dan Hamhuis' leg and in the open side of the net. Sportsnet displayed the ominous: Islanders are 22-5-3 when scoring first.
Etem charged to the net, just missing a pass from Henrik, as Etem was tied up by a nifty backcheck by Tavares.
Islanders took a too many men penalty at 9:32. Canucks had good pressure and possession on the power play in the New York zone. With the Isles PK puck watching, a Ben Hutton point shot, with Daniel Sedin providing the net-front screen, rebounded off Travis Hamonic, right to Linden Vey standing in high slot. He put it home to tie the game.
Vey goal pic.twitter.com/QDOLJRLhBZ— Stephanie (@myregularface) March 2, 2016
on a team that struggles to score, #Canucks Vey quietly has 3+7=10 in his last 16 games— Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff) March 2, 2016
Jake Virtanen-Markus Granlund-Sven Baertschi kept up pressure in the New York zone during the shift after goal. But the Islanders slowly turned that pressure around, taking advantage of the Canucks' inability to clear their own zone. Matt Barkowski took a boarding penalty for a hard hit on Shane Prince at 14:45.
Canucks couldn't clear their zone on the penalty kill, but Islanders, despite possession, could not get a shot on the PP. On an ensuing rush, Henrik Sedin fed a pass to Emerson Etem, but Etem couldn't get a shot on goal.
Coming out of the period's last commercial break, video difficulties gave way to audio difficulties, just as John Shorthouse said "Pretend you're listening on the radio".
Too many men! pic.twitter.com/S1BTl2hxqy— Rob Williams (@RobTheHockeyGuy) March 2, 2016
Cheech admitting that the funky screen did remind him of the 70's is what makes Cheech great.— Dan Murphy (@sportsnetmurph) March 2, 2016
The Islanders ended the period by ending their 14 minute shot drought.
Teams combine for just eight shots. Hutton had his three attempts blocked and both goals came off deflections (stick, skate). #Canucks— Ben Kuzma (@benkuzma) March 2, 2016
Ben Hutton plays 9:48 of first for #Canucks. Way it should be.— Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff) March 2, 2016
The intermission gave me a chance to check up on Super Tuesday primary voting results. So, who is going to put me up on their couch if Donald Trump wins the US election in November?
Under two minutes in, Canucks kept sustained pressure in the Islanders zone. Sedin, Sedin, Etem had a glorious chance, but Thomas Greiss and Frans Neilsen combined for a goal-saving play. The Isles iced the puck, and the Canucks' Derek Dorsett-Bo Horvat-Linden Vey line maintained zone pressure after face-off, but couldn't capitalize, despite some excellent work in the offensive zone by Horvat.
At 7:33, Etem and Hamonic fought after Etem hit a spinning, off-balance Islander with his shoulder.
Matt Martin took down Henrik Sedin awkwardly, as the two players tussled near the Islanders' blue line. A few shifts later, Dorsett challenged Martin, and they briefly fought before Martin went for the takedown.
Fourteen minutes in, the Granlund line had more great pressure in the Islanders zone. Once the Islanders turned the puck back down the ice, Anders Lee scored a strange one, off Hutton and into the net. At first, it appeared Markstrom held it out, but upon official review the puck just crossed the line. Two deflection goals on eight shots, and Markstrom's frustrating night was not over yet.
Etem worked the give and go, and took the puck to the net with a power move. Calvin deHaan was able to keep the puck from crossing the goal line, after it snuck through a big pile of Canucks and Islanders and past Greiss.
I've liked Etem's game with the twins tonight. No-nonsense. Virtanen also really strong on the puck. #Canucks— Josh Clipperton (@JClipperton_CP) March 2, 2016
Canucks again stormed the Isles zone to start the period. On a Matt Martin giveaway, Baertschi just failed to lift the puck over a prone Greiss, who leads the NHL with a .930 save percentage.
At 18:38 Markstrom made a terrific glove save while falling backward in his crease to keep the New York lead to one.
Markstrom slowly quieting his glove critics? Has new Vaughn mitt with different pocket/break + lotsa work with Melanson to ditch the hitch— Kevin Woodley (@KevinisInGoal) March 2, 2016
Despite generally letting the teams play tonight, Hamonic was called for a penalty four minutes in. While the Canucks could not get the puck from the Islanders for the first 30 seconds of the power play, they did have some good zone time and pressure through the balance of the power play -- notably a rebound chance for Jake Virtanen.
Kids aren't scoring, but pretty fun to watch here in the last period and a bit.— Blake Price (@BlakePriceTSN) March 2, 2016
Canucks won a faceoff in the Isles zone with a little more than 10 minutes left. Henrik brought the puck around behind the net and gave it to Daniel in the left corner. Daniel shot from an odd angle near the corner, off Greiss' pads and into the net. Etem was right in front, and while it looked initially like he might have tapped it in, he didn't. Still, he was in a good spot for players who play with the Sedins.
Before the boo, the yay! pic.twitter.com/NoLKCypbVZ— Vancouver Canucks (@VanCanucks) March 2, 2016
Two minutes later, the Islanders reclaimed the lead when a Thomas Hickey point shot deflected off of Chris Tanev's stick, through Josh Bailey's screen and bounced up past Markstrom. Three goals against Markstrom tonight, all on bounces off his own defensemen.
Canucks were able to maintain some pressure right through the end of the game. Granlund won a face off in the Isles' zone with just over 3:30 left. Markstom was pulled with 2:30 left. Henrik threw the puck toward the net with just under 2 minutes left, hitting Johnny Boychuck's throat and forcing him to leave the game. Despite great puck movement, decent traffic in front of the net, and good work by Ben Hutton to hold the puck in, the Canucks had few shots and could not tie it up.
Many of the Canucks' kids played very well tonight, but as usual the team lacked finish. Ben Hutton was great most of the night, Etem was prominent, and the second line was strong. Thursday brings the San Jose Sharks into Vancouver for the second of three games against the Sharks this week.
Canucks outplayed em most of night, but that is not how we keep score.— Lee Powell (@leepowellST) March 2, 2016
Willie Desjardins says Hansen hurt his ribs this morning and will need to be re-evaluated still.— Rich Brown (@richbrownsports) March 2, 2016
WD promising some Virtanen time with the twins coming up..— Blake Price (@BlakePriceTSN) March 2, 2016
CBJ is the only team in the bottom 8 of the league that has more than 4 wins in their last 10 games. Turtle derby is on.— Blake Price (@BlakePriceTSN) March 2, 2016