CANUCKS NEWS: It was a case of too little, too late for the Canucks last night. After another slow start period that saw Jacob Markstrom stand on his head, stopping 17 of 18 Washington shots, the Canucks were lucky to only be down a goal. They were the better team in the 2nd, but Braden Holtby was solid and the Canucks continued to hit posts the way the did the night before in Philadelphia. Not long after going down 2-0 though, they got one back as Markus Granlund scored from Antoine Roussel and Ben Hutton. The Caps made it 3-1 on a sketchy AF goal by Jakub Vrana, and if you think the Canucks shouldn’t be pissed about that goal, this replay sure seems to suggest they got hosed last night.
The Canucks made it close in the last minute when Elias Pettersson scored an unassisted goal for his 24th of the season.
The Canucks have a day off as they travel to Chicago before heading back to Vancouver for a Hockey Day In Canada date with the Western Conference leading Calgary Flames. Chicago’s been playing better of late, including a delicious win over the Edmonton Oilers last night which saw them get 5 goals in the 3rd, including one each from Dylan Strome and Drake Caggiula, both of whom were traded to the Hawks by the Oilers recently.
The Canucks still somehow sit in a playoff spot, but they’re going to have to rack up some wins over the next couple weeks or all this playoff optimism is going to be for naught. The Canucks are just 8 points ahead of the last place Los Angeles Kings. If they were to go on a losing streak right now, which is a very real possibility given the sudden spate of injuries they’ve had, could see them tumble down the standings in a harsh way.
Another thing that could be a factor is the length of time Thatcher Demko is going to miss with his knee injury. The Canucks will lean heavily on Jacob Markstrom, and it’s pretty likely that he’ll run the table til Demko’s able to return. Michael DiPietro is unlikely to see any time as backup, unless dog forbid Markstrom gets hurt. They’ll be working to get him up to speed, but I wouldn’t count on seeing him in a game unless it’s in relief.
We should also hear about Sven Baertschi today. Whether it’s actually an illness, or a setback in his concussion recovery (He did get a pretty bad crosscheck in the back in the game against Colorado), it’s another bad blow to the Canucks playoff hopes. Baertschi’s been really damn good since his return, and it’s frustrating to see him suffer this setback.
We’re still awaiting news on Demko and Baertschi, and will update when there’s something to announce.
AROUND THE NHL: The Leafs locked Auston Matthews up yesterday with a 5 year deal that is almost entirely bonus money. It’s a good deal for him, but it could make it tough for them down the road, especially with Mitch Marner still needing a deal. There was a pretty big fooferah with Marner’s agent on the Twitter yesterday that adds to the intrigue... Spring is approaching, and that means they’re throwing jerseys on the ice in Edmonton... Remember a while back when I warned y’all about the St Louis Blues and all the games in hand they held on the Canucks? They’re now 3 points back with 3 games in hand... The New Jersey Devils have sent fan favorite Brian Boyle to Nashville for a 2nd round pick in the 2019 Entry Draft... The Ducks keep losing, and you have to wonder when they’re gonna pull the plug on Randy Carlyle... The Flyers placed Jori Lehtera on waivers... The Senators and Avalanche made a minor league deal today...