THE CANUCKS- The way this game started out, you really can’t blame anyone for feeling a tad negative about the chances of the Canucks coming out of it with 2 points. Full credit to them for making it a game worth watching, when the instinct was likely to turn the channel after the Rangers had pulled ahead 3-0 a mere 7 and a half minutes in. The pulling of Jacob Markstrom certainly seemed to spark the Canucks, and they came roaring back to tie the game 3 times before brainfarting away all that effort in OT. At a time where the national focus is on Canucks media and fans for daring to be unhappy with the situation this team finds itself in, and the way it’s been communicated to us, there were a lot of positives last night.
The new additions had an immediate impact, most notably Brendan Leipsic, who showed some pretty instant chemistry with Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser. That line was downright dominant last night, and small sample sizes aside, this could be something to really look forward to next season.
The score suggested another gong show on defence, but you take away those first three goals, all of which were leaning on the fluky/lucky side of the meter and that wasn’t a bad game from the back end.
Now, keep in mind that this isn’t the same as doing it to Tampa, Vegas or Nashville, and I am far from suggesting that they should be rolling into next season with the same D-core, but it was a better than usual effort from this group.
Anders Nilsson was quite good in relief, and it was another frustrating instance of Jacob Markstrom getting lit up early. Coming off the loss, Nilsson probably should have gotten the start.
If Brock Boeser’s wrist is still giving him issues, he didn’t show it last night. He looked far more dangerous tonight, more than he has in weeks.
Meanwhile, The Commish was in town to officially announce that the Canucks will be hosting next years Draft, and dropped some pretty awesome shade at Canucks management in the process. During an intermission interview with Sportsnet’s Dan Murphy, Bettman said “If you’re going to go through a process that some fans are going to find painful, it’s good to be transparent and up front “ and followed that up with “I think most teams tell the fans what their goals are.”
Serious. Shade. And he’s not wrong. Half of the reason we have people like Elliotte Freidman (and let’s not kid ourselves, observations like this from insiders don’t happen without prodding from somewhere) all boils down to a good portion of this fanbase being upset with the numerous PR fails the Canucks have managed. Quotes that don’t mesh with what we can plainly see. The reluctance to use the word “rebuild”. The Vancouver market is passionate. They’re also intelligent. Just be honest, and the negativity would be reduced. It’s insulting to suggest fans wouldn’t tolerate a rebuild, when it’s what many have been clamoring for since before this management team took over.
AROUND THE LEAGUE- The race for the Wild Card spots in the West is pretty awesome right now, and there was a big game last night that the loser may have to look at when they miss the dance. Calgary was up 2-0 on the Avalanche before Colorado stormed back with 4 goals in 10 minutes en route to a 5-2 win. The Avs are now tied with the Flames, one point behind St Louis and the holders of that last spot, the Anaheim Ducks. The Blues helped their cause with a 2-1 win over Detroit. The Rangers had a pretty successful first game after the trade deadline. The Tampa Bay Lightning? Not so much, as Jason Pominville’s PPG in OT completed the comeback for the Buffalo Sabres in a 2-1 win. The probably could have used some of the 5 points Vladimir Namestnikov scored against the Canucks for the Rangers, one would think... The other night Minnesota had a big 8-3 win over St Louis, led by a hat trick from Eric Staal (what a season he’s having, eh?), but it appears that counting might be something Wild fans need to brush up on...