While it was another frustrating loss, it’s hard to muster complaints when looking at it through the context of the lineup the Canucks iced against the relatively healthy Edmonton Oilers last night. You also couldn’t ask for much more from Spencer Martin, who again stole a point for the Canucks, keeping those faint playoff dreams alive.
There were a lot of positives to take from this one, even in a game they were outplayed by a fairly substantial margin. They got a 5 on 5 goal from Elias Pettersson, one that definitely shows he’s continuing to find his form after a maddeningly slow start to the season. They also got a shorthanded goal from Tyler Motte thanks to some great work from JT Miller, who the Canucks were no doubt happy to have back from COVID protocol. And Martin put forth another fantastic effort, stopping 47 of 50 Edmonton shots, including 8 in overtime before Connor McDavid’s winner with just 24 seconds left.
After a run of mostly solid defensive performances, we saw a Canucks team that gave up far too many shots, and struggled to get anything going in OT. And while it doesn’t go down as a PP goal against, their inability to clear the zone against the Oilers PP led to Draisaitl’s tying goal.
Again, you have to feel for Spencer Martin, who has given the Canucks two amazing performances, and not gotten the goal support he needed to get that elusive first NHL win since getting the call from Abbotsford. It likely makes a decision to deal Jaroslav Halak by the deadline a little easier for the Canucks, as he’s passed all tests with flying colours in spite of the losses.
As we told you yesterday, the search for the new Canucks GM is over, and today, the team will introduce Pittsburgh Assistant GM Patrick Allvin as the 12th general manager in franchise history. Along with the newly hired Emelie Castonguay, Derek Clancey, and advisors Daniel and Henrik Sedin, they’ll continue the work of reversing the near decade of wheel-spinning under Jim Benning and get this team back to contending. There could still be one more person added to the management team, so we’ll see what happens following Allvin’s installation in the GM role.
One thing is for certain: the majority of this team’s fan base was screaming for a change, not just in direction but a fundamental shift in their approach to the game, and while it will take some time to see the true impact, there are little signs that we’re going to see exactly that. It will require patience, but to think Canucks fans are anything but shows you don’t know us at all.
AROUND THE NHL
We start off in Ottawa, where a shutout from Matt Murray wasn’t the biggest story of the night, unfortunately. While it was great to see Murray, who has struggled with inconsistent play and injury, pull out a big win for the Sens, it was a hit by Buffalo Sabres goalie Aaron Dell that has everyone talking this morning.
As you see in this video, Dell has been crossing the line multiple times, and has managed to escape punishment. So the NHL is going to come down on him this time, given the blatant nature of this hit, and the resulting injury, right?
Buffalo’s Aaron Dell will have a hearing today for Interference on Ottawa’s Drake Batherson.— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) January 26, 2022
That’s encouraging, but I would expect a fine and not an actual suspension based on the way DoPS is handling ‘punishment’ so far this season. Maybe we’ll be surprised? Anyway, Ottawa loses their top scorer for what could be a significant amount of time, souring what was a pretty good night for them.
Joe Pavelski continues to single-handedly keep the Dallas Stars relevant, as he netted a pair in a 5-1 win over the New Jersey Devils. Pavelski now has 19 goals on the season for Dallas, and is showing no signs of letting his advancing age slow him down.
The Arizona Coyotes coughed up the lead three times en route to a 6-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena last night. Kris Letang scored twice for the Penguins, who also got this goal from Brian Boyle, the last of four goals in the 3rd period from Pittsburgh.
The Philadelphia Flyers continue their freefall, as they blew a 3rd period lead to the New York Islanders to lose 4-3 on Long Island. The Flyers haven’t won a game since an OT win over the Seattle Kraken Dec 29th, and they’ll have one more chance to avoid going winless in January in a Saturday afternoon visit from the Los Angeles Kings.
The Florida Panthers got two goals from Mason Marchment as they took down the Winnipeg Jets 5-3 in the Manitoba capital last night. The win moved them into sole possession of first overall in the NHL, which as Roberto Luongo could tell you, automatically ensures you’ll win the Stanley Cup that year.
The Seattle Kraken continue to be a typical expansion franchise, as the Nashville Predators scored twice in 46 seconds to overcome a 2-1 Kraken lead in the second, en route to a 4-2 win at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle.
Next up for the Canucks are the Winnipeg Jets in another crucial Western Conference matchup as they start a four game road swing that brings them to Calgary, Chicago and Nashville before the All Star Break.