Despite Jacob Markstrom’s best performance of the season, the Vancouver Canucks lost in overtime to the Dallas Stars. Here are three key takeaways from the thriller.
The Vancouver Canucks came into this game having lost 12 of their last 13 games against the Dallas Stars. For whatever reason, a one-dimensional team fronted by Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn simply always have their way against the Canucks.
But unlike many of their contests with Dallas, Vancouver threw everything they had at their Kryptonite, and would have won this game if Ben Bishop didn’t have 38 heroic saves in a well-deserved victory.
Alexander Radulov won the game in overtime off a 2-on-1, as the Canucks turned the puck over too often in overtime and were bound to get burned. The loss will sting, but the Canucks have points in their last five games. Nothing to be ashamed of.
The good news for the Canucks is the Los Angeles Kings and Vegas Golden Knights lost on Monday, meaning Vancouver gained ground on both Pacific Division foes. Also, Sam Gagner finally scored his first goal ass a Canuck — which essentially got this team a point.
Here is a look at three takeaways from Vancouver’s overtime defeat, at the hands of the Stars.
Brock Boeser was missed
Brock Boeser missed Monday’s game with a foot injury, which he suffered after blocking a shot in last week’s game against the Washington Capitals.
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Without Boeser, the lack of chemistry was evident for the Canucks lines. The Sedins aren’t your point-per-game threats anymore, and Bo Horvat couldn’t get going without his sniper.
The Canucks did their scoring chances, but it’s not surprising against a Stars team that allows 30.4 shots per game, per ESPN.com. Vancouver just couldn’t take advantage of all their glorious opportunities. But when Alex Biega is one of the players with two golden scoring chances, it’s not a recipe for winning.
Vancouver missed Boeser, because he’s the guy that finishes off the pretty plays. Heck, a healthy Loui Eriksson could have potted home one of those chances in front. At the end of the day, the Canucks couldn’t score, and they paid the price with an overtime loss.
With the red-hot New Jersey Devils next on the schedule, and the Pittsburgh Penguins to follow, the Canucks an only hope Boeser is ready to return soon. It’s evident that his presence makes the opposing defences breathe a little easier.
Sedins shouldn’t play overtime
Daniel Sedin has 14 career overtime winners, so it’s not surprising that head coach Travis Green wants him and Henrik out there in the extra frame. However, the 3-on-3 format is based entirely around speed and skill.
Unfortunately, the Sedins just aren’t effective in overtime anymore. 4-on-4 was easier when they had two defencemen to back them up or if a player like Ryan Kesler or Alex Burrows were able to help them out.
But with the Sedins, they don’t have the speed to move the puck quickly and develop chances. They don’t have the wheels to skate back if there’s an odd man rush going the other way. In overtime, they turned the back over which led to a golden Stars chance the other way. Not long after, Radulov went down to end it.
Yes, the Sedins are legends. Yes, Daniel has the franchise record for most overtime goals. That doesn’t mean the 37-year-olds should be out there with the game on the line against guys 10 years younger with more speed.
Jacob Markstrom continues to shine
Without Jacob Markstrom, the Canucks could have easily lost by multiple goals. He made a ton of key saves throughout the game. He made 27 saves in the game, and turned aside a flurry of quality scoring chances from the Stars in the final minutes.
That saved the Canucks a point. Also, don’t forget this huge risk he took that led to Gagner’s game-tying goal:
Markstrom had yet another remarkable performance, moving his stats to 3-2-2 on the season with a 2.41 goals against average and .911 save percentage. That aggressive play he made to set up Gagner’s goal just showed how much confidence the 6-foot-6 Swede has right now.
Despite the world class play of Anders Nilsson, he’s nowhere close to earning the No. 1 job. The Canucks have gotten unexpected yet tremendous performances from their goalies. As usual, Markstrom played well and got his team a point. That’s the biggest and most positive takeaway from this game.