CANUCKS NEWS: There were two things that felt really comfortable last night. One was that the Bruins were never going to win that game. The other was that this team is going to score double digits at some point this season. That being said, heading into the game, especially coming off a game where they had a hard time scoring against a team whose goaltending has been less than exemplary, having to face a goalie having the kind of season Jaroslav Halak has had seemed like we were in for a long night.
And while the underlying stats continue to show that the Canucks likely aren’t going to be able to maintain this crazy run they’re on, it’s rekindling the passion of this fan base who haven’t had much to cheer about since 2011. There was a lot to like about last night’s win, starting first and foremost with the night that the de facto captain put in.
Bo Horvat’s been tasked with not only playing his normal role, but filling the defensive hole left by the Brandon Sutter injury. Last night he handled both spectacularly, with his only blemish taking 3 straight penalties. The line of Horvat, Loui Eriksson and Tim Schaller did a fine job last night, producing 4 of the 8 goals and limiting Boston’s top line to the one goal from Patrice Bergeron, which actually gave Boston a brief lead early in the 2nd.
Defensively it’s still white knuckle time, and the Canucks will need to try and tighten up things so that their goalies have a fighting chance some nights. Still, in a very Grant Fuhr kind of way, Jacob Markstrom did what he had to do, and was the better goalie last night, in spite of giving up 5. One of the major differences this year is the Canucks finally getting offensive contributions from the back end. Eric Gudbranson now has points in 4 straight games and his goal in the last minute of the 2nd was the back breaker, giving the Canucks the two goal cushion not long after the Bruins made it 5-4, and it would stand up as the winner. He had a couple gaffes (he is still Eric Gudbranson, after all) but that was one of the more solid games he’s had as a Canuck. Ben Hutton continues to gain confidence and show the Canucks he is very much the kind of guy they thought he might be. A power play goal (and dammit all to hell why did it take him so long to get on PP1?) and just a real steady presence throughout the night.
It’s kind of amazing when you think about it. Going into Boston, and putting up 8 without Brock Boeser, and just one assist from Elias Pettersson. Scoring depth was such a huge issue for this team going back 3 or 4 seasons now (especially last year, when they were at the bottom of the league in GF), so to see so many names on the scoresheet (and a 2 goal night from Loui) is a really big thing.
One interesting thing to keep an eye on today is what’s going to happen to Torey Krug. Krug was given an instigator penalty for his fight with Darren Archibald late in the game, following a clean and relatively innocuous hit by Archibald (which doesn’t even show up in the official game stats, btw). This is from the NHL rule book: “(NEW for 2005-06) A player who is deemed to be the instigator of an altercation in the final five (5) minutes of regulation time or at any time in overtime, shall be assessed an instigator minor penalty, a major for fighting, a ten minute misconduct and an automatic one-game suspension. The length of suspension will double for each subsequent offense. In addition, the player’s coach shall be fined $10,000 -- a fine that will double for each subsequent incident.
(NEW for 2005-06) (NOTE 1) No team appeals will be permitted either verbally or in writing regarding the assessment of this automatic suspension.”.
Seems pretty cut and dry, right? I wouldn’t hold my breath on this one, despite it being a textbook example of a violation of this rule. What will likely happen is despite it clearly stating that they cannot appeal this, the Bruins complain to the NHL that the instigator was undeserved, the NHL’s DoPS agrees and they rescind the penalty, allowing Krug to not have this on his record for the rest of the season. And it is a significant thing, because if this stays, Krug’s next instigator would bring an automatic suspension of 2 games and it adds an extra game with each additional infraction. It should be a no-brainer, and it’s odd that there’s very little being said about this, which makes me think they’ll just try and sweep it under the carpet. Whether or not you agree with the instigator rule is not the point here. The rule exists, he broke it and he and the team need to pay the consequences. Oh, and one last thing on this: you can bet he’ll think twice about challenging Archibald again, who handled that situation rather handily.
Here’s your morning reading: Botch has some great stuff in The Athletties, especially on Boeser’s injury... One gets the impression from these statements that the Bruins took the Canucks a little lightly last night, despite evidence all season long that’s not a particularly smart idea... Game wraps from PITB, The Province with a couple, and Canucks Army.