Because of a lackluster and frustrating performance from the forwards, a strong performance by Jacob Markstrom was wasted. The Vancouver Canucks lost 2-0 to the New Jersey Devils, snapping their five-game point streak.
The Vancouver Canucks lost their sixth consecutive game to the New Jersey Devils, this one a 2-0 defeat at Rogers Arena on Wednesday night. Cory Schneider got the best of his old teammates, turning aside 37 shots while making a handful of big saves in the final minute to preserve a win for New Jersey.
With that, the Canucks fell to 6-4-2 on the season, losing their first regulation game since that forgetful stinker against the Boston Bruins two weeks ago. Things don’t get any easier, as they’ll wait for the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins this Saturday. Brace yourselves, it’s going to be a challenge.
But until that game, the focus remains on last night’s outing. Here are three takeaways from the Canucks 2-0 loss to New Jersey.
Sedins and Virtanen are working
The Canucks may have been victims of a shutout on Thursday, but Jake Virtanen and the Sedin twins continue to work their magic together. They were without a doubt the Canucks top forwards on the night, even if the stat sheet shows nothing.
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Though the line was limited to four shots on goal, Virtanen and the Sedins came close to breaking the shutout multiple times — especially in the final minutes of regulation. Just because none of them scored, doesn’t mean it was a failure.
No, the Sedins aren’t stars any more — and 50 points may be a stretch for both of them right now. But they’re being team players by doing the role that benefits the team more than themselves.
They are happy to work with and mentor Virtanen, who is finally starting to come into his own.
If this strong play continues, head coach Travis Green may just end up moving them to the third or second line.
Hot goaltending continues
Considering that both Jacob Markstrom and Anders Nilsson have never been starters, it’s natural for fans to feel like each 6-foot-6 Swede will have to cool off eventually — and that regression is inevitable.
Once again, the Canucks got a tremendous outing from their goalie. Markstrom stopped 24 of 25 shots faced, doing all he could to keep the Canucks in the game. Wednesday marked the fourth straight game for Markstrom where he allowed two goals or less. Impressive stuff.
Will Markstrom and Nilsson decline eventually? Well, they’re certainly not going to give up less than two goals in the majority of their games. But perhaps Markstrom is finally living up to his potential as a once hyped-up goalie. Nilsson could end up being a hidden gem who finally got his chance to show the world what he can do.
Perhaps both goalies do start to decline quite a bit down the road. But for the time being, the Canucks have to be pleased with how both goalies have fared — considering none of them are exactly seasoned veterans.
Power play woes continue
Once again, the Canucks power play continues to be, well, not very good.
It went 0-for-4 on Wednesday, moving their power play percentage down to 14.8 percent, per NHL.com. The Canucks even had Brock Boeser back for this one, so there weren’t any excuses for the forwards to struggle this match with the extra man.
The Canucks continue to miss Alexander Edler and Troy Stecher, by far their two best offensive defencemen. But with a good mix of play-makers and snipers, the Canucks have to stop wasting all these power play opportunities.
How they do it? The coaches simply need to find a formula that works. The Sedins are still passing too much, and guys aren’t getting open in front. Green is just going to have to keep throwing out different line combinations until something works.