In a story reminiscent of the last two seasons, the Vancouver Canucks couldn’t close out a should-have-won game. Here’s what we learned from their shootout loss to the Ottawa Senators.
Vancouver Canucks fans won’t be complaining about the team snatching three of an available four points through its first two games. Beating the Edmonton Oilers was impressive enough, and getting one point from the 2017 Eastern Conference runner up in the Ottawa Senators wasn’t so bad.
But in reality, it’s hard for the players to be optimistic after settling for one point. Vancouver had the chance to bury the Senators, but this Ottawa team would never go away.
Ryan Dzingel tied the game up in the third period, and Craig Anderson turned aside some golden Canucks scoring chances. After Markus Granlund opened the scoring in the shootout, the next four Canucks missed their attempts. Kyle Turris scored to keep it alive in round three, then Mark Stone finished it off as the fifth shooter.
With that out of the way, here are three takeaways from the Canucks 3-2 shootout loss.
Time for Boeser
In yet another mind-boggling decision, head coach Travis Green refused to play Brock Boeser. The result was predictable: Vancouver was too slow to match up against the Senators speedy, quick-transition team.
With Bo Horvat being blanketed by Ottawa’s suffocating defence, the Canucks had troubles generating offence. Having a sniper in Boeser on the ice could have been a difference maker, but sitting him only made it easier for Guy Boucher’s team in their own end.
The Canucks were out-shot by the Senators, 42-28. Vancouver went 0-for-4 on the power play, once again struggling to get pucks on net.
At this point, Boeser shouldn’t be a healthy scratch any more. He’s got the best shot on the team and showed late last season he’s NHL-ready. No more fancy games, Mr. Green. Put Boeser out there tomorrow.
Contributions on offence needed
It is early in the season, but the Canucks have once again looked overly dependent on Horvat and the Sedins to do the scoring. Sam Gagner, Michael Del Zotto, Sven Baertschi, Markus Granlund and Jake Virtanen are all pointless thus far.
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Not only that, but none of them have been finding the open ice, getting in front of the net nor finding scoring chances.
For Ottawa, (without Erik Karlsson), it was pretty easy to sit back and play defensive against a team that just doesn’t have scoring depth.
The Canucks are giving up the puck too easily in the offensive zone. As someone who’s been there first-hand to watch the game, nothing’s looking all that different from last season. There’s a bit more speed, thanks to guys like Gagner and Virtanen.
But Vancouver has to notice the issues as early as possible: They need everyone to start generating more shots and more scoring. That is, unless they want another top draft selection in 2018.
Markstrom shines again
You don’t see a goalie win a game for his team that often when he’s peppered with 42 shots. But Jacob Markstrom once again gave the Canucks every fighting chance to escape with two points, as the ultra-conservative Senators found ways to get pucks on goal.
Markstrom also stopped three of five attempts in the shootout, but the Canucks couldn’t finish it off. He was not at fault for the Canucks losing. Without Markstrom, there’s a good chance that the team doesn’t come away with a point.
Yes, the first goal Markstrom gave up was…ugly. But he settled down and looks sharper and more confidence than ever before. As of now, the No. 1 job belongs to Markstrom unless he starts to get cold. With how he’s played so far, I wouldn’t bank on that happening any time soon.