The Canucks played their final preseason tuneup before the regular season opens next Wednesday. Lots of final roster decisions to be made before the puck drops next Wednesday. A couple of those decisions will be determined by the health statues of Brock Boeser and Oscar Fantenberg. As Sven Baertschi can attest to, concussions can be tricky injuries to treat. It’s not like a broken bone where you can say definitively that the player will miss a couple of months. Symptoms can linger for weeks and months. Also, if you don’t treat them properly, concussions can recur and the person can even be susceptible to future concussions. The Canucks will exercise every bit of precaution with both Fantenberg and Boeser, even if it means a stint on the injured list to start the season. As expected, Jacob Markstrom got the start in goal to work out any final kinks before the season starts. There were several bubble boys getting one final chance to play before some tough decisions will have to be made. Both Jake Virtanen and Nikolay Goldobin, who played in last night’s loss, were given another chance to make the team. The coach’s comments this morning about both players was luke warm at best. Goldobin isn’t creating enough offensively and IMO, hasn’t done enough to get a spot on the team. Virtanen started off on a bad note showing up to camp not in the physical shape the Canucks want him. Travis Green wants him driving the net more and using his body. Tim Schaller, Tyler Graovic and Zack MacEwen were also looking to impress Green and co. On defense, the likely regular season pairing of Chris Tanev and Quinn Hughes were matched together on the ice. Guillaume Brisebois and Jalen Chatfield, who are expected to be cut, also got one final game of experience. Could the Canucks end the preseason with a win? Here is tonight’s game recap.
- The Canucks opened the scoring 1:20 into the game as Michael Ferland’s tenacity paid off as he batted his own rebound home past Coyotes goalie Adin Hill
- Just over eight and a half minutes later, the Coyotes tied it up as Lane Pederson was johnny on the spot to stuff home a rebound for a shorthanded tally
- Just over 4 minutes later, Adam Gaudette found a wide open Zack MacEwen with a beauty of a centering feed. MacEwen made no mistake
- The Coyotes tied the game just over eleven and a half minutes into the 2nd period as Victor Soderstrom snapped one through traffic past a screened Markstrom
- Off the ensuing faceoff, Barrett Hayton fired a shot off Quinn Hughes and in
- The Coyotes added an empty netter with 15 seconds left as Soderstrom got credit for the goal as the last Coyote to touch the puck
- Jacob Markstrom stopped 31 of 34 shots
- Final score: Coyotes 5 Canucks 2
- The Canucks still can’t figure out how to beat the Coyotes. They lost their 5th straight game to the Coyotes. The Canucks last beat the Coyotes April 4, 2017 in one of the Sedins final games before retirement. The Canucks best find a way to beat the Coyotes because the Canucks play them 4 times and that’s 8 points up for grabs
- Jacob Markstrom looked sharper than on Monday. He could sue his defense foe not helping him out on the 1st Coyotes goal and the 3rd Coyotes goal. He made some big saves to keep the Canucks in it as the team was outshot 35-19
- The Canucks got a bit of a scare when Tyler Myers struggled to get off the ice after blocking a shot. Luckily after a walk in the tunnel, he was able to continue
- One thing the Canucks need to work on in practice is special teams. For the second night in a row, they gave up a shorthanded marker. Myers and Hughes could not catch Hudson Faschling on the initial turnover and resulting breakaway. They then made things worse by not clearing the puck or checking Pederson. The penalty killing unit was better than last night, keeping the Coyotes from scoring, thanks to Markstrom’s 6 saves.
- The Canucks won 57% of the draws, led by Josh Leivo, who won every draw he took. Tyler Graovac (67% success rate), Adam Gaudette (61% success rate), Jay Beagle (59% success rate), and Tim Schaller (50% success rate) also had good nights in the faceoff circle
- The Canucks outhit the Coyotes 31*20, led by Alex Edler who blocked 6 shots
- The Canucks blocked 10 shots tonight, led by Gaudette, Myers and Edler, who each blocked a pair
- Gaudette appears to have played his way onto the team and Goldobin has appeared to play his way off the team. Jake Virtanen gets a pass for being physical and blocking a shot
- Turnovers were costly again tonight, with the Canucks coughing up the puck three times to every 1 time the Coyotes turned the puck over (12-4)
- Up next, the Canucks open the regular season next Wednesday in Edmonton. The Canucks and Oilers split the season series last year with the Canucks taking 5 of 8 points, thanks to a shootout loos at home January 16th. Mike Smith and Jacob Markstrom should be the goalies on opening night and ex-Canucks Zack Kassian, Markus Granlund and Sam Gagner should be in the Oilers lineup.