Just home after back to back games in California, the Vancouver Canucks faced a much less lethal opponent tonight. Arizona with one win in their last ten games. Despite spotting the Coyotes two goals, the Canucks were able to come back, winning 3-2 in overtime.
The game began with one of the more notable ceremonial faceoffs I can remember. Look at that happy kid.
GAME ON! pic.twitter.com/UX8vJA7xHY— Vancouver Canucks (@VanCanucks) March 10, 2016
The first four minutes were uneventful -- Canucks iced the puck a couple times, Vey had a semi-decent chance. Antoine Vermette slew-footed Markus Granlund at 4:47, giving Vancouver the game's first power play and the Canucks first extended pressure in the Arizona zone, but no goals. Shots were 5-1 Vancouver after six minutes.
Bo Horvat led a decent rush almost 9 minutes in, but Yannick Weber couldn't lift the puck over Louis Domingue. A minute later, Luca Sbisa brought the puck into the Arizona end, passed it to Sven Baertschi, who fed Markus Granlund, who just missed. Connor Murphy turned it over in his own zone about 10 and a half into the period, but again, Granlund couldn't convert.
Arizona spent more time in the Canucks zone just past the midway point of the period, but didn't get many shots. Markus Granlund and Jake Virtanen had a 2 on 1, but it was foiled by Kevin Connauton.
Jared McCann was tripped by Nicklas Grossmann setting up the Canucks second power play. Granlund's pass to Linden Vey gave Vey a good opportunity, but it was saved by Domingue. Vancouver took three shots and had significant zone time during the power play, but no goals.
Virtanen, Horvat, Weber and Vrbata broke into the Coyotes zone 4 on 2. Domingue made a great save, after which Shane Doan took down Weber as though he were a steer, giving the Canucks their third straight power play.
After the power play, Viktor Tikhonov was sent in all alone on Jacob Markstrom. Tikhonov couldn't elevate the puck, and Markstrom made a great pad save.
Wait for it...waiiiiiiit for it... pic.twitter.com/ehwvEkuQSL— Vancouver Canucks (@VanCanucks) March 10, 2016
The Canucks' Alex Biega took an intereference penalty at 2:15. Tobias Reider scored on the ensuing power play, putting home a very nice pass from Alex Tanguay.
Rieder goal pic.twitter.com/nwvOzVt3ul— Stephanie (@myregularface) March 10, 2016
Willie Desjardins juggled the lines coming in to the second. Jake Virtnen was promoted to play with Vey and Daniel Sedin. That new line did put pressure on the Coyotes in their zone. Emerson Etem was paired with Markus Granlund and Sven Baertschi.
Baertschi has looked great so far tonight. Five and a half minutes in, he just failed to pull off a great move, attempting to split two Coyotes defenders.
Baertschi and McCann have both wowed with some nice solo rushes in the period. Neither got shot away, but you just wait..... you just wait.— Blake Price (@BlakePriceTSN) March 10, 2016
The Vancouver Canucks failed to get the puck out of their zone (stop me if you've heard this one before) as neither Matt Bartkwoski nor Derek Dorsett could clear. Kevin Connauton was left alone by Derek Dorsett and scored.
Connauton goal pic.twitter.com/tEe6Rn6xYD— Stephanie (@myregularface) March 10, 2016
Yeah puck shoulda been out along wall 44-15 but watch 53, never actually checks anybody.— Lee Powell (@leepowellST) March 10, 2016
While the Coyotes hemmed the Canucks in to their own zone for much of the period, the Canucks scored against the run of the play. Weber fed Radim Vrbata, who broke in to the Coyotes zone at full speed and put it behind Domingue.
Was that Vrbata showcasing for his next team?— Ann Schmaltz (@annschmaltz) March 10, 2016
The rest of the period showed uneventful back and forth action. The monotony was momentarily broken by Dan Hamhuis, who caught Tikhonov with a solid hip check behind the Canucks' net.
The new line of Baertschi - Granlund - Emerson Etem had some of the first Canucks sustained zone time of the second. Baertschi passed back to Hutton, who fed Luca Sbisa, who scored his second goal of the year off Domingue's skate. Vancouver is now 10-4-8 this year when Baertschi scores a point.
With 46 seconds left in the period, Markstrom made a terrific point blank save off Michael Stone.
"We've had some lengthy, uninspiring board battles." John Shorthouse's polite way of saying: 'This game sucks." #CanucksOn1040— Matthew Sekeres (@mattsekeres) March 10, 2016
Hutton now alone in second for assists by rookie dmen. Trails Gostisbehere by a couple of apples (23-21).#Canuckson1040— Scott Rintoul (@ScottRintoul) March 10, 2016
Arizona is 9-4-2 when tied after two periods. Vancouver is 7-1-4. Which record would hold tonight?
I feel most awful for this group from South Africa, in Vancouver for the big rugby sevens event. Imagine if this were the first hockey game you ever saw? Would you watch another?
Early in the third period, Jared McCann rifled a great wrist shot just over the net, keeping the game tied.
I look forward to watching #Canucks McCann fire the puck like that for another 10 years. Kid will score a few— Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff) March 10, 2016
Virtanen layed out Connor Murphy in the Coyotes' end with a hard bodycheck.
BOOM SHAKALAKA pic.twitter.com/nIju5vVC1i— Vancouver Canucks (@VanCanucks) March 10, 2016
Please, someone score and end this #Canucks— Brad Ziemer (@BradZiemer) March 10, 2016
With just under five minutes left in the period, Brendan Gaunce centered the puck to Bo Horvat who forced Domingue to make a good save.
Horvat was 0 for 11 at one point. Now leads #Canucks with 7 face-off wins on night 7 & 17— Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff) March 10, 2016
The final five minutes continued to be uneventful. Dorsett combined with new linemates Granlund and Baertschi for a good chance to the left of the Coyotes net. But the third period basically consisted of two cautious teams playing for overtime.
Tonight was Vancouver's 20th overtime game of the season, two off the league lead held by Philadelphia. Imagine if their overtime record was better? Or if they could hold a lead after two periods? They may well be in the playoff conversation.
Daniel Sedin and Linden Vey began overtime, with Dan Hamhuis. They had some pressure, but no result. Max Domi tried, but could not get clear of Bo Horvat on a breakway, allowing Jacob Markstrom to make a sprawling save.
Virtanen and Granlund combine for the game ending 2 on 1. Virtanen's shot rebounded off Domingue right to Markus Granlund, who scored into a gaping net.
quite the statistical night for #Canucks Granlund. GWG. On for 2 of 3 Nux goals. 3 shots/5 attempts & 1 of 13 in circle— Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff) March 10, 2016
It was a bit of a snoozer, but at least the Canucks were able to come from all the way back after spotting the Coyotes a two goal lead. Thankfully, the Canucks are done with Arizona this year. Next up, Vancouver hosts Nashville on Saturday.
Brad Zeimer seems to believe Gaunce may not be much longer for this callup. And after the game, Willie Desjardins said the goaltenders would split games for the time being. Maybe now that the pressure to coach for his job has been relieved, Desjardins feels freer to try things he was reluctant to earlier in the season. Emerson Etem, after all, was on a different line each period tonight.
Not sure how many more games Gaunce gets, if any. I know the team wants to look at some other guys. #Canucks— Brad Ziemer (@BradZiemer) March 10, 2016
Willie D on Miller and Markstrom: "Right now it's going to be a split. I want a chance for both guys to be good."— TSN Radio Vancouver (@TSN1040) March 10, 2016