The Canucks played their second to last preseason game tonight in what was expected to be an electric tilt with the Senators, who the Canucks beat two nights ago in Abbotsford. It was a costly win with both Brock Boeser and Oscar Fantenberg suffering concussions (neither was in the lineup tonight). The Canucks also elected to sit Elias Pettersson, possibly because Michael Ferland was unavailable with an illness. Chris Tierny of the Senators was expected to get some attention from the Canucks for causing the concussion to Boeser with a bad hit from behind. Thatcher Demko got the start in goal — likely his final preseason action before things get real next week. Sven Baertschi was on a line with Adam Gaudette and Zack MacEwen (one or both are expected to be cut.) Another interesting line saw Brandon Sutter between Nikolay Goldobin and Jake Virtanen. All three Canucks have much to prove this season, especially Goldy and Virtanen. For Sutter, it’s more about health than performance. Likely captain Bo Horvat was between JT Miller and Troy Pearson (this will likely be the top line when the regular season starts next week.) Both BC boys, Troy Stetcher and Jordie Benn, were paired together on defense tonight. It’s a very good sign that Chris Tanev’s new equipment seems to be keeping him on the ice thus far. He was paired with rookie Quinn Hughes, who’s looked good so far. Could the Canucks make it two in a row vs. the Senators? Here is tonight’s game recap.
- The Canucks opened the scoring 3:11 into the game off a forced turnover in the Senators zone. Adam Gaudette calmly snapped it by the glove of Craig Anderson
- Almost 15 minutes later Sven Baertschi snapped home a rebound
- Just over 30 second later, the Senators got one back, transitioning up the ice with Connor Brown whipping one past Thatcher Demko on a bit of a broken play
- The Senators tied the game three and a half minutes into the second on a point shot that deflected in off the skate of Brady Tkachuk
- Fourteen minutes later, the Senators took the lead off a terrible rebound coughed up by Demko that Filip Chlapik made no mistake depositing into the wide open cage
- The Senators added a goal just over two and a half minutes into the 3rd period as Thomas Chabot, who recently signed a big 8-year extension, let go with a howitzer from the point for a PP goal
- Almost 9 minutes later, Artem Anisimov snapped one through the 5-hole of Demko on a partial breakaway for a short-handed marker
- The Senators added a goal with under 5 seconds left as Tkachuk was johnny on the spot to stuff home a rebound
- Thatcher Demko stopped 23 of 29 shots
- Final score: Senators 6 Canucks 2
- First of all, let’s talk about the goaltending in this one because Thatcher Demko wasn’t sharp and there are several goals he’ll want back. He’s only played 2 preseason games. Is that enough to get him comfortable for the season? Yes, Jacob Markstrom is the #1 goalie heading into the season, but the Canucks need both goalies to be on their game. They won’t win with average goaltending. I get that the Canucks had decisions to make with their minor league goalies, but maybe sort that out in Utica’s training camp. Jake Kielly, Zane McIntyre, Michael Dipietro and Richard Bachman probably won’t be up with the big club at all unless Demko or Markstrom get hurt.
- Demko certainly didn’t get much help from his defense, which failed to tie up sticks (last goal of the game), missed who they were supposed to be checking and just generally looked out of sync
- Adam Gaudette was one of the few bright spots on a bad night for the team, finishing +1 and with a goal and an assist. He also won 69% of the draws he took. If he is cut, it won’t be a performance issue, it will be because the Canucks don’t want to risk losing someone else on waivers. He’s certainly making the decision a difficult one for the Canucks brass
- Bo Horvat and Tanner Pearson had rough nights. Both were -3 and Horvat was directly responsible for the Senators 5th goal. One bad night shouldn’t stop the Canucks from naming Horvat captain
- Faceoffs were one of the few things the Canucks did well tonight. As a team, the Canucks won 70% of the draws. JT Miller and Jay Beagle led the way, both winning 80% of their draws. The whole team won more than 50% of the draws they took
- A big reason why the Canucks dropped this one was turnovers. The Canucks gave the puck away 16 times tonight, 9 times more than the Senators, who only turned the puck over 7 times. Jordie Benn turned it over 3 times. Bubble boy Nikolay Goldobin coughed up the puck twice.
- The penalty kill wasn’t good as the Senators converted on both power plays and early on in each chance.
- The Canucks power play was 0-4 and gave up a short-handed goal
- The Senators outhit the Canucks 22-19. Zach MacEwen and Jay Beagle led the Canucks with 4 hits each.
- The Canucks blocked 14 Senators shots, led by Guilaume Brisebois, who had 3 blocked shots
- The good news is this one didn’t count and the Canucks have one more preseason game left tomorrow night to work out the kinks
- Up next, the Canucks wrap up the preseason schedule with a tilt against the up and coming Arizona Coyotes, who won all four meetings against the Canucks last season. Expect Jacob Markstrom to start the final preseason contest.