Hoping to win their fifth game in a row, the Vancouver Canucks hosted the Arizona Coyotes tonight. A win would give Vancouver their best winning streak since the beginning of this season where they had four straight comeback victories.
On the other end of the ice, the Coyotes came into this game losing seven straight games and were hoping to right their sinking ship.
With 6 goals and 5 assists after being benched on December 11th (did you know he was benched?!), Sven Baertschi has been on fire lately and doesn’t look like he’s ready to slow down yet. While the benching storyline had merit back in mid-December, is it safe to think it may be time to drop it?
A key player in recent games, Alexandre Burrows returned to the lineup tonight and the B-Line was back on course. It’s great to have a line fans can get excited about and seeing Burrows play well after his recent struggles is a well deserver bonus.
A young fan’s deal to get a dog if Bo Horvat scored was also a great addition to the game. If this sounds familiar, a similar deal was struck last year with Cam Atkinson being the player involved.
Mike Smith gifted the Canucks with a power play early in the game when he played the puck outside of the trapezoid. It may not come to a surprise to the fans that have watched a game or two this season, but the Vancouver power play was unable to generate a goal.
Nikita Tryamkin showed off some wheels when he collected the puck, went behind the net and skated uncontested into the Coyotes zone and fired a slap shot.
Just as play started to even out and chances were going both ways, Kevin Cannauton (remember him?) had his pass intercepted by Sven Baertschi near the Arizona blue line. Baertschi seized the opportunity and put the puck past Mike Smith in a matter of seconds with a .
Sven Baertschi now has 12 points in his last 11 games and tied Bo Horvat for the team lead in goals at 11.
While Vancouver and Arizona exchanged chances on the rush, neither team could wrangle control of the offensive zone.
Jayson Megna has been quietly putting together some solid chances with the Sedins on the top line. He may not be the most exciting player we’ve seen with the twins, but he knows where to be and has shown some flashes of offence here and there.
Despite being outshot, Vancouver left the period looking like the more dangerous of the two teams playing.
The B-Line showed off some great effort on the forecheck in the opening minutes of the second period.
The fourth line followed up with a strong shift of their own but Michael Chaput’s shot is lacking some accuracy. Here’s hoping we see him sent down after todays pick up of Reid Boucher. A fourth line of Jack Skille, Brendan Gaunce and Reid Boucher ain’t bad.
The middle period didn’t have a whole lot of action, with grand total of 5 shots in the first 10 minutes.
With 8:29 left in the second frame, Nikita Tryamkin was sent to the box for holding and Arizona’s power play (1 for 13 in the past 4 games) got a chance to do their thing. Despite a number of chances and some sustained pressure from the Coyotes, Vancouver kept the visiting team goalless and preserved the 1-0 lead.
Brandon Sutter had a great chance with about 3 minutes left in the period when Mike Smith made a fantastic save to keep his team in the game.
As the period wound down, Vancouver continued to control momentum. Ryan Miller stopped anything coming his way and the
Louis Eriksson had some great chances near the beginning of the final frame. With an opportunity up close after heading to the net, it’s great to see Loui hustling to put some more points on the board.
As the period continued, Vancouver fans got to their feet when Brandon Sutter was given his first career penalty shot. Heading to the net with speed, he was able to beat Mike Smith with a strong move to his backhand and increase the teams lead to 2.
The Canucks are now 2 for 2 in penalty shots this year with Ben Hutton getting the other goal, also against the Coyotes.
Arizona turned up the heat after the second goal and did well to get their shots on Ryan Miller. Despite the visitors efforts, Vancouver did well to hold the young Coyotes push back at bay.
With 6 minutes left in the game, Bo Horvat turned on the jets to get a one on one chance against Mike Smith. After a slick move from forehand to backhand in front of the net, Horvat buried his shot and extend his point streak to 5 games and regain the team lead in goals with 12.
Remember that kid with the sign? Well, it looks like it’s his lucky day!
Despite power play chances for both teams late in the game, the penalty killers were successful in keeping the man advantage to a non factor.
Arizona in particular had a number of scoring chances near in the last 5 minutes of play. However, Ryan Miller continued his stalwart play between the pipes to earn his first shutout of the season (27th of his career) with 22 saves.
The Vancouver Canucks have now won 5 games straight, with Bo Horvat registering a point in each victory. Here’s hoping the trend continues when they face off against the Calgary Flames on Friday night.