When is a win not a win? Well, last night might count as a good example. Full marks to the team for getting it done in the trick shot competition, but the losses they suffered in personnel could be devastating. Alex Edler left the game in the first after getting tangled up with Max Pacioretty and did not return. Chris Tanev blocked a shot with his hip and may be out tonight as the Canucks take on the Coyotes, and Sven Baertschi is under concussion protocol.
It speaks volumes about this team, and the emergence of new leaders in the absence of Daniel and Henrik Sedin. Think about how they’ve played since Elias Pettersson was attacked by Mike Matheson. Now think about how this stretch of games would have looked without the play of Bo Horvat. He’s been a force, and was at it again last night, scoring both goals for the Canucks and forcing Marc Andre Fleury to make a pretty solid save in the shootout. The voices saying that Horvat’s not ready to be captain look more ridiculous with each passing game.
He’s one of the biggest reasons this team is in first place in the Pacific Division. Let that sink in. Sure, they’ve done this before, and it all went to hell, but it’s kinda nice to wake up to this, right?
So where does this leave them? If Brock Boeser’s unable to go tonight, we’ll see Darren Archibald get his first game of the season. Alex Biega has been recalled from Utica after playing with the Comets in a 3-2 loss to the Charlotte Checkers last night. If Tanev can’t go, the Canucks, who will be putting Michael Del Zotto back in have 3 possible choices to call in Utica. Guillaume Brisebois, Jalen Chatfield, and... Olli Juolevi. It could be any of these three, and there’s compelling cases for each. Brisebois has (limited) NHL experience. Chatfield is probably their best defenceman right now, and Juolevi has a goal and 5 assists in 9 games this season for the Comets. My choice would be Chatfield, who seems to be developing into a really solid blueliner and should be a feature on the Canucks back end sooner rather than later. We’ll find out as the day goes on what happens. In the meantime, here’s your morning reading: The post-game wrap from The Province... TSN’s Craig Button breaks down a solid game from Horvat for the Canucks 1st win ever in Vegas... TSN 1040 had Comets head coach Trent Cull on yesterday to update things, including Juolevi and Jonathan Dahlen... And much like the parent club, injuries are taking their toll on the Comets so far this season...
AROUND THE NHL: Nazem Kadri got the GWG and John Tavares scored his first in 6 games as the Leafs beat the Jets 4-2.
Mike Hoffman’s goal in OT completed the comeback for the Florida Panthers as they beat the New York Islanders 3-2. The win was the first for Florida that did not come in the shootout.
This game should have been a showcase of two of the best offenses in the NHL. Instead, it was a goaltending showcase, as the Tampa Bay Lightning held the Colorado Avalanche off the scoresheet en route to a 1-0 win. Nikita Kucherov on the PP got the GWG.