Coming out of his first All Star game weekend, Bo Horvat and the Vancouver Canucks found themselves facing the San Jose Sharks tonight for the first of 5 match ups taking place within the next two months.
The Canucks are the last team to take the ice following the All Star break and were hoping to make amends after a terrible outing against Arizona last Thursday.
"We're going to see them a lot in the coming months, we have to find a way to beat them if we're going to make the playoffs." pic.twitter.com/7hGjjVT0p1— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) February 2, 2017
The Canucks found themselves on their heels early in this game. Counting on Ryan Miller to make some key saves, they were able to keep the score even despite some questionable turnovers and an ugly line change.
Just before the halfway mark of the period, Patrick Marleau put up his 500th career goal on the powerplay after some stellar passes from Brent Burns and Joe Pavelski.
The Sharks were playing with confidence after the goal. While the Canucks were pushing to get their own chances, their opponents put together a high number of pucks on net with a lot of potential to score.
Chris Tierney gave his team the 2-0 lead after slipping away from Philip Larsen and putting away the rebound after a shot from David Schlemko.
Vancouver may have had a few chances this period but San Jose clearly had the advantage. After ending the opening period with a power play opportunity that failed to generate anything, they went into the middle frame down a pair of goal.
Canucks realizing they aren't playing Colorado/Arizona anymore pic.twitter.com/Poc6OcFTp4— Wyatt Arndt (@TheStanchion) February 3, 2017
The Sharks maintained their momentum in the second period, putting pucks on net and quickly following up on any potential rebounds they were able to generate.
5 minutes into the period, San Jose went on the power play but failed to score. The Canucks did well to keep the visiting teams looks on net to a minimum and were looking to get a goal of their own when Bo Horvat rushed the puck up the ice. While the play was broken up, it was yet another glimpse of Horvat’s excellent overall skill set
Philip Larsen did not have a great game tonight. With a number of misplays, giveaways and whiffed shots, you can tell he’s not in mid-season shape after missing so many games due to injury.
So...we sure Pedan or Subban can't get a game in here or there instead of Larsen? pic.twitter.com/nNjOQLxvTl— Wyatt Arndt (@TheStanchion) February 3, 2017
I’m willing to hold judgement for a few more games while Larsen gets more time to adapt. Here’s hoping he can hit his stride soon, he’s shown some real promise and could prove to be a huge asset if he can begin to find his game.
Vancouver stepped up the pressure to close out the period. With the Sharks at the end of a long shift, the Canucks were able to keep the visiting team hemmed in their own end with Nikita Tryamkin making a play on the blue line to maintain possession.
The Sharks didn’t need much time to get a goal in the third period. After Joe Thornton overpowered Troy Stecher along the boards, Thomas Hertl collected the loose puck behind the net and connected with Brent Burns on the doorstep.
This was Brent Burns 55th point of what has been a phenomenal season so far.
The Canucks were quick to push back and showed some skill around the San Jose net. After the Sedins best shift of the game, Martin Jones was up to the task and foiled their chances with save after save.
After the flurry of chances, Philip Larsen found himself with room and his slap shot found its way through traffic, off Paul Martin and behind Martin Jones.
Despite his poor play throughout the game, Larsen earned his first goal as a Vancouver Canuck.
While it was great to spoil the Sharks chance at a shut out, the Canucks were struggling after the goal. After a slew of failed clearing attempts, Vancouver couldn’t find a way to sustain pressure in the offensive zone.
San Jose continuously outmuscled the home town team tonight. With the Sharks keeping Vancouver’s shots limited to the outside, the Canucks couldn’t find a way to make their chances count.
With a little over 5 minutes left in the game, Chris Tierney’s shot found its way by a screen Ryan Miller as the Sharks power play came to a close. While it was originally called off due to Joel Ward interfering with the goalie, San Jose challenged and had the call on ice overturned.
With time winding down, the Canucks couldn’t find a way to get back into the game. San Jose kept Vancouver in check and hindered any attempt to bring the puck into their zone.
From the get go, the Canucks weren’t in sync and looked to be outmatched by an opponent that already got back into the swing of things against Chicago on Tuesday. Vancouver players were outmatched by San Jose’s speed and strength and failed to get on the same page at the start of the game.
"It took the 1st period to get our legs going, then it felt like we were in the game. We had some quality chances and didn't score" - Horvat— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) February 3, 2017
By the time they were putting up shots and generating chances, they were already playing from behind. As we all saw tonight, the San Jose Sharks aren’t the kind of the team to give you much wiggle room when that happens.