The Vancouver Canucks injury woes continued as this season comes closer and closer to an end. After sustaining an injury against the Winnipeg Jets, Troy Stecher joined the other 11 injured players off the ice. The Canucks have lost 405 man games this season due to injuries.
Brock Boeser made his first home appearance tonight, which was a great distraction to have when Vancouver is facing a slew of injuries and limping their way to the end of the season.
On the other end of the ice, the Anaheim Ducks are playing their best hockey all year. Their 8-1-1 record in the last 10 games has them sitting atop of the Pacific Division and Anaheim’s heating up at the perfect time for a deep playoff run.
Moments before the game, Ryan Getzlaf was declared a late scratch due to a lower body injury. While his presence was likely missed, it didn’t really impact the Ducks offence in any way.
It only took Anaheim 23 seconds to get on the board in this one. Philip Larsen looked lost when Alex Edler misplayed the puck, leaving Corey Perry uncontested out front.
Patrick Eaves scored the second Ducks goal a minute later when Rickard Rakell found him wide open as he headed to the net.
Minutes later, the third shot on Ryan Miller almost ended up being the third goal of the night. Chris Tanev was quick on the draw and cleared the puck off the goal line.
Nearly a third Ducks goal, until Tanev saves the day. pic.twitter.com/FMxWPNfqg3— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) March 29, 2017
The Canucks were looking out of it early in this one and things weren’t about to get any better.
Brandon Sutter was showing some solid two way play on the penalty kill in this period. He was generating turnovers and active all over the ice.
The Ducks dominated this period and Vancouver couldn’t keep up with a team that’s gearing up for a playoff run. The Canuck players were showing hints of effort here and there but were going through the motions after giving up a 2-0 lead within the opening minutes.
With the first period seconds away from mercifully coming to a close, Nick Ritchie scored his teams third goal with a tip in. Ben Hutton and Nikita Tryamkin were both looking lost on this play, leaving the Ducks the time and space they needed to score.
The Anaheim Ducks lead in practically every category after 20 minute. The visiting team were playing like a team that knew they had a firm grip of the momentum.
The Canucks lack of offence carried on to the second period. You couldn’t even really call their scoring opportunities a “chance”. Every puck that made its way to the Anaheim net was easily controlled by the Ducks and never appeared to be a true test.
Nikita Tryamkin was noticeably off his game tonight. A good example of this can be seen here where he draws the ire of Daniel Sedin.
Daniel Sedin giving Tryamkin a heaping pile of Ryan Miller-esque "WTF man" arm shrugs. That's pretty extreme for a Sedin. pic.twitter.com/Vn4qcIX72n— Wyatt Arndt (@TheStanchion) March 29, 2017
Seconds later, Brandon Montour gave his team the 4-0 lead. Antoine Vermette’s face off win set Montour up for a shot through traffic and Ryan Miller couldn’t see the puck until it was behind him.
With 12 minutes left in the period, Ryan Miller pulled out a big save when Corey Perry made his way behind the Vancouver defence and challenged him one on one.
We saw some strong forechecking shifts from Joseph Labate in this period. He was finishing his checks and buzzing around the Anaheim net. At this point, a strong forecheck is the Vancouver equivalent of a breakaway in this game.
The second period also brought a change to the lineup. We saw Alex Biega move from the 4th line to replace Philip Larsen on the third defensive pairing. Larsen was definitely showing some rust in this game and Biega has all but proved that he’s a better player at this point of the season.
Brock Boeser had his first shot of the game with 4 minutes left in the second period. This is the Vancouver equivalent of a power play goal now.
Ryan Kesler tripped up Michael Chaput late in the middle frame. While his appearance in the box got the crowd to make some noise, the Canucks power play wasted no time in quieting them down. With only a few shots and lots of missed passes, the man advantage continues to be a big problem for Vancouver.
The Canucks entered the final period down 4-0 against the top team in their division. Things were looking grim, but at least the Canuck fans in attendance got something they were hoping for.
After breaking up a play in the neutral zone, Brandon Sutter sent the puck up to Brock Boeser. Boeser cut to the inside and fired a shot past Jonathan Bernier for his second goal in 3 games as a Canuck.
Boeser: third game, second goal.— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) March 29, 2017
NOT TOO SHABBY!! pic.twitter.com/4k6FJv2GFO
This Boeser goal is the Vancouver equivalent of a hat trick in a game like this.
The Ducks didn’t budge after giving up the goal and regained their grip on the game shortly after. Vancouver didn’t have much bite to their game and couldn’t bring much more in the offensive side of things.
This game as a whole was tough to watch, but there is one silver lining. Games like this are exactly what some Canucks fans are hoping for. They give us a look at the future while also keeping the folk on Team Tank satisfied.