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Wake With Elias- Sept 17/19- Canucks Split Split Squad Games With Flames

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A late comeback made it close but not enough in Victoria, while #ShotgunJake leads squad B to a come from behind win in Cowtown.

NHL: Preseason-Calgary Flames at Vancouver Canucks Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

A TALE OF TWO CITIES- It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Well, unless you’ve been off planet for the last 50 years or new to both hockey and the internet... Actually let’s just get to it and not try and make two preseason games into more than that, shall we?

The Canucks opened the NHL preseason with a ‘home’ and away set of split squad games against the Calgary Flames, and while you need to take these exactly as they are, meaningless preseason contests, the results were nonetheless interesting.

First was the road crew, shipped off to Calgary. Mostly comprised of youngsters and a few regulars, the B Squad looked to be in tough against a Calgary team that kept and started nearly all of their regulars, plus some NHL tested vets on PTO’s. There were 2 veterans that made the difference for the Canucks last night though, Utica G Richard Bachman and Jake Virtanen. Bachman withstood an absolute onslaught in the first 40 minutes as the Flames threw everything they had at the Canucks net. When the buzzer went at the end of the 2nd, the shots were 30-7 Calgary, and they held a 2-0 lead. David Rittich got the start and stopped all 4 shots he faced in 32 minutes of work before handing things over to Cam Talbot. The Flames appeared to be set to ride it out, but the Canucks had other plans. After Mitch Eliot got the Canucks on the board, Virtanen tied things up with just over 4 minutes to go, then got the winner in OT. Talbot stopped 6 of the 9 shots he faced.

Squad A meanwhile was still in Victoria, wrapping up training camp with a game at the Save On Foods Memorial Center. While this lineup was certainly more experienced than the one that went to Calgary. This was still a team that was starting without Elias Pettersson, Alex Edler, Brandon Sutter and the at the time un-signed Brock Boeser, along with new Canucks Tyler Myers and Micheal Ferland, as well as Jacob Markstrom and Thatcher Demko. Still, given the lack of experience on the other side, this should have been a more competitive game than it was, but Canucks.

And after 2 periods of play, in spite of a pretty solid outing from Michael DiPietro, the Flames led 3-0. They made it 4-0 in the 3rd as they got one past Zane McIntyre on a weird one, as it went in off JT Miller’s face. Welcome to Vancouver. It’s gonna get worse, bud.

So with it now 4-0, they needed a spark. A hero to get things started and try to salvage this game. And then came... Loui Eriksson? In what was the most unlikely outcome of last night’s game, Eriksson banged home a loose puck in the slot and got the Canucks on the board. Then, a nice goal from D man Josh Teves made it 3-2, and less than a minute later, Miller and Bo Horvat, who looked pretty good together all night finally connected to make it 4-3. They continued to press but ran out of time.

So what can we take away from this? Well, like I said, Miller and Horvat seem to have some chemistry building, and after a season where I am pretty sure Horvat centered Fin and one of the guys who sells the 50/50 tickets along with every other forward on the Canucks, a stable set of linemates could be huge for the Captain (and look, in our eyes, he IS the captain. Deal with it). Brogan Rafferty had a heck of a game, and Teves looked solid. The line of Reid Boucher, Lukas Jacek and Kole Lind all looked like they were ready to compete, and while all 3 of them will likely be in Utica this season, I wouldn’t be surprised to see one if not all of them get a look at some point.

Chris Tanev got through the game without being injured, and Jordie Benn looked like his physical presence on the back end is going to give the Canucks a much different look than we’re used to. As far as Eriksson goes, apart from the goal, he wasn’t particularly noticeable last night. I know we knock him a lot, deservedly so. But it’s not with malice. I would be happy to sing his praises if he started producing the way he had been before he came to Vancouver. I just don’t believe he has it in him, and he’d be far more use to the organization being part of the leadership group in Utica.