The Canucks began a crucial three game California road trip, facing an Anaheim Ducks team that has completely fallen off the map having dropped 19 of their last 21 games. The Canucks acquired a new backup goalie Marek Mazenac, who arrived in Anaheim during the morning skate (he shouldn’t required waivers unless Jacob Markstrom or Thatcher Demko are out longer than 20 days).Mike Dipietro was sent back to Ottawa, as is required. Brandon Sutter is awaiting results of an MRI to determine the extent of his injury (don’t be surprised if he undergoes sports hernia surgery in the near future. Oh, and hey, Canucks fans got to see Michael Del Zotto in action for the 1st time since he was traded last month. Ryan Miller is back from injury and served as the backup for tonight’s game. The always surly Ryan Kesler is having an awful season with just 4 goals all season. Could the Canucks beat the Ducks? Here is tonight’s game recap.
- The Ducks opened the scoring six and a half minutes into the 1st period as Jakob Silfverberg found a loose puck in the slot and flipped it up and over Jacob Markstrom
- Jacob Markstrom stopped 21 of 22 shots
- Final score: Ducks 1 Canucks 0
- I don’t even know what to say anymore. It’s uncanny how the Canucks can make a goalie making his NHL debut look like Patrick Roy. Sound familiar? John Gibson also got a shutout in his first career game against guess who? Yep, the Canucks back on April 7, 2014. Tonight, the Canucks did a lot of the right things, firing 62 shots, 27 of which were blocked at the Ducks rookie goalie. However, many of the shots were at the logo on his chest and there wasn’t enough traffic going to the net. If I’m the Canucks in the final two minutes of a game trailing by one goal, the strategy is to find Brock or Petey. Obviously teams are eliminating the option to Petey but there were opportunities to pass it to him.
- The Canucks got a couple of scares with Jake Virtanen and Chris Tanev both forced to leave the game, presumably for concussion testing. Ryan Getzlaf should be getting a call from the league for the blindside hit on Virtanen with the puck nowhere in sight.
- Ryan Kesler was his usual dirty, surly self. It’s looking like he’ll end his career without winning a Stanley Cup (good riddance I say)
- Jacob Markstrom was rock solid and bounced back nicely after being run over in the second period. Maybe Markstrom should have fired the puck the length of the ice to score.
- The hapless Canucks power play, operating at a dismal 7.5% efficiency rate in the past 14 games. They managed 6 shots on their four PP opportunities tonight. One thing I can’t stand with the PP strategy is why they always skate the puck to center ice then drop it back to a player in the Canucks zone. First, it wastes valuable time and what happens if the drop pass is intercepted? I’d rather see Petey charge into the offensive zone carrying the puck.
- Two stats stood out for me tonight. The Canucks were badly outhit in a physical affair (29-15). Tyler Motte led the Canucks with 4 hits.
- The Canucks also had 29 shots blocked by the Ducks. You have to find a way to get those shots through. The Canucks blocked 12 shots, led by Chris Tanev
- The Canucks won 44% of the draws tonight, led by Markus Granlund and Tyler Motte, who were both perfect in the faceoff circle. Antoine Roussel and Adam Gaudette won half the draws they took.
- Up next, the Canucks take on the LA Kings in another crucial must-win game. It will be interesting to see the lineup decisions as a few changes may be necessary with Virtanen, Tanev and Markstrom all getting banged up tonight.