They’re back! (Brandon Sutter and Bo Horvat that is)
After failing to capitalize on their scoring chances in Pittsburgh, the Vancouver Canucks wrapped up their six game road trip against the St. Louis Blues tonight. The Blues are on a 5 game winning streak and coming into this game with a ton of confidence.
Ever since Mike Yeo recently replaced Ken Hitchcock, the St.Louis has been playing a complete style of hockey and look primed for another playoff run. On the other end of the ice, the Canucks are just trying to stay in the running while dealing with multiple injuries at all times.
A win tonight was tall order but necessary to keep the faint hope of the playoffs alive.
Canucks were looking to get on the board as soon as possible and make amends for their scoreless game on Tuesday. Thanks to the return of Bo Horvat and Brandon Sutter, Vancouver was putting pucks on net early and often.
Despite outshooting the St. Louis, the Blues were the first team to score. Magnus Paajarvi had his teams first shot on net and was able to bank it off Jacob Markstrom’s right pad.
The Canucks came back in earnest in an attempt to even the score but couldn’t do much to tie it up. Brandon Sutter was a particular standout in the first, he was
I’m also liking the way the fourth line plays. The more I watch Reid Boucher, the more I like what I see with him playing alongside Jack Skille and Mike Chaput. They play hard and keep their opposition on their toes with their positioning and speed.
As the period passed the halfway mark, the Canucks tenacity paid off when Nikita Tryamkin intercepted Jay Bouwmeester’s clearing attempt. Tryamkin immediately found a wide open Bo Horvat in front of the net and Bo deftly put away the equalizer.
Jacob Markstrom made some big positional saves as the period carried on. St. Louis gained an upper hand over the visiting Canucks
As the period entered it’s last 3 minutes, Jori Lehtera found himself on the right side of a rebound. Sneaking in behind the defence, Lehtera made no mistake to give his team another lead.
The Canucks laid on some heavy pressure in the final minutes of the period. Troy Stecher was particularly effective in putting together a number of high caliber chances and lead a nice rush into the St. Louis end.
While the effort ultimately lead to
The Canucks kicked off the middle period killing a Jack Skille penalty but did well to contain the high flying Blues. Vancouver were displaying confidence in their end when controlling the puck, making short passes to create the room needed to begin their rushes.
Both teams showed off their speed in the second period. This was in full effect when Vladimir Terasenko had a breakaway opportunity but
Markus Granlund’s really leaning into his shots and forechecking with grit while playing with the Sedin’s. His style of play is working well to give the twins more room to work with.
After a quick whistle denied the Blues their third goal of the game, the first line made an already ornery crowd absolutely livid. With the Sedin's and Granlund in the St Louis zone, Granlund drew the attention of three Blues players before sending the puck to Daniel Sedin.
With little to no coverage, the Sedin’s did what they do best and Daniel made a clever pass between his legs to Henrik. With the puck on his stick, Captain Hank potted his first goal since his 1,000th point against Florida.
Following the goal, the Blues started showing their offensive chops. The home team was quick on the breakout and limiting Vancouver’s breakout attempts.
The second period ended with yet another late penalty due to a high stick from Alex Burrows.
As they did in the second period, Vancouver kicked off the third period short handed. Unfortunately, this penalty kill wasn’t as effective. With traffic in front, Vladimir Tarasenko was able to find the angle and beat Markstrom.
After retaking the lead, the Blues carried on the attack and forced the Canucks to defend far more than they would prefer. This wasn’t made any easier when Henrik Sedin was sent to the box for a double minor after his high stick drew blood.
On the ensuing power play, another goal was given up while playing shorthanded. From the side of the net, Alex Steen was able to bank a shot in off Jacob Markstrom to increase his teams lead to 4-2.
Back he Canucks began to gather their
With 13 minutes left in the game, Brandon Sutter made things interesting when he deflected Alex Edlers shot past Jake Allen.
It’s safe to say that Horvat and Sutter made an immediate impact in their return. Not only did they each pick up a goal, they were creating chances throughout the game.
The Canucks fought to score a tying goal for the remainder of the game. However, the Blues continued to play a very sound defensive game. With St. Louis blocking a huge amount of shots, the scoring opportunities were few and far between.
The best chance to tie things up came when Vancouver found themselves on the power play with approximately 10 minutes left. Now Vancouver’s power play has been notoriously bad this year and they aren’t exactly St. Louis Blues have not allowed a power play goal since Mike Yeo began coaching them. They left this game killing 21 straight penalties.
As the game to a close, the Canucks continued to hit a wall after entering the St. Louis zone. Mike Yeo’s new defensive systems and shot blocking mentality has made the Blues a very well rounded team and Vancouver couldn’t find a way to get the puck in the net.
As the clock hit zero, the Canucks ended their 6 game road trip with a loss and Mike Yeo’s St. Louis Blues are now 7-1. At this point, it’s going to take a whole lot of things to go the right way for the Canucks to consider themselves contenders this year. A telling sign will definitely be the result of their homecoming when they host the Calgary Flames on Saturday.
"Our guys scored three goals & played a great road game in a tough building. My play was unacceptable." - Markstrom— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) February 17, 2017