The Vancouver Canucks battled hard but came up empty-handed against the Nashville Predators.
The Vancouver Canucks are playing arguably the best hockey they have played all year. The speed is there, the goaltending is there, the physicality is there and also the line chemistry — just about everything but the points in the standings.
It was a good game. The Nashville Predators had their moments and the Canucks had theirs, too. Ryan Miller was very good when the occasion arose to make a big stop, and Preds netminder Pekka Rinne was a force to be reckoned with. Ask Sven Baertschi.
And as the Canucks take some time off thanks to the All-Star Break, here are my five thoughts and some more from the Canucks’ 2-1 loss against Nashville.
Thought #1: Brandon Sutter a boost for Vancouver
Centre Brandon Sutter got involved early in the game, scoring the only Vancouver goal of the night. There was much debate before the game whether Sutter should dress or not. After all, what is the point of playing him coming off a major surgery when you can just wait for one more game and let him recover for ten more days?
In fact, it was Sutter himself who wanted to get into the action tonight. Here is Sutter after the game.
Sutter showed chemistry with Daniel Sedin. By “chemistry”, I mean Sedin-to-Sedin level chemistry. That passing play leading to the goal was a Sedin thing of beauty. I wonder if Sutter could play the right wing for the Sedins in case Jannik Hansen is needed elsewhere.
One of the things Sutter was missed for was his faceoff prowess. Last night being his first game back, his 43.8 percent faceoff win percentage should be noted as a positive. His draw ability improved as the night went on.
Sutter also blocked two shots — tied with Bo Horvat for the team lead among forwards. Sutter recorded three shots on net in just under 17 minutes of ice time. Here are some other stats of note.
- Sutter’s 12.8 percent shooting average is fourth-best on the team after Hansen, Baertschi, and Henrik Sedin.
- Sutter leads all Canucks forwards in average time-on-ice this season, averaging 18:45 a game.
- Even after tonight, Sutter’s 53 percent faceoff win percentage is the team’s highest.
- With his fifth goal of the season, Sutter has nine points in 17 games. That is .53 points per game, which is fourth on the team only to Hansen and the Sedins.
Next: Thought #2: A Defence of Two Tales