Vancouver Canucks: 3 takeaways from another loss in San Jose

SAN JOSE, CA - DECEMBER 21: Tomas Hertl
SAN JOSE, CA - DECEMBER 21: Tomas Hertl /

The Vancouver Canucks continued to find more heart-breaking ways to lose. On Thursday night, it was a 5-4 overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks. Here’s what we learned.

Give the Vancouver Canucks credit. Even without two of their top three forwards and undisputed No. 1 defenceman in Chris Tanev, they’re finding ways to stick in games — only to lose it in inexcusable fashion.

48 hours after dropping five goals on Carey Price yet losing 7-5 to the Montreal Canadiens, the Canucks were able to post four against the San Jose Sharks — one of the NHL’s best defensive teams.

But oh, the Canucks found a way to play sloppy in the third period and overtime. When all was said and done, it was the Sharks who tamed the Canucks with a 5-4 victory. Let’s just say Henrik Sedin will have to work on his defence a bit, because he helped set up the overtime winner.

And though I couldn’t help but notice Twitter bashing the goaltending, Jacob Markstrom can only take so much of the blame. If it weren’t for him, the Canucks would have been blown out in the third period, and wouldn’t have earned a point.

Here are three other key takeaways from the Canucks loss.

Sedins are great, but no more 3-on-3

The Sedin twins are going to go down as the two most accomplished stars in Vancouver Canucks history. There is no denying that, and they’ve played fairly well at the age of 37. Give them credit where it’s due.

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But I can’t comprehend why they’re on the ice in overtime. 3-on-3 is all about speed and quick transitioning.

The twins are not good defensively, and they’re sure as heck not going to out-skate guys like Brent Burns or Joe Pavelski.

The Sharks skated circles around the Sedins in overtime. When Henrik finally got possession, he lost the puck and helped set up Kevin Labanc‘s game-winner. Sorry Travis Green, but it wasn’t surprising.

I know Daniel Sedin has a history of overtime heroics, but the days of 4-on-4 overtime are long gone. It’s not easy for these two to skate up and down the ice, with only one defenceman in support.

There are no more excuses. Keep them off the ice in overtime. It’s that simple.

A different type of goalie controversy

You may recall me often mentioning how there was a goalie controversy between Markstrom and Anders Nilsson through the first two months of the season. But both men have struggled mightily in December.

It’s no longer about choosing between two great goalies. But rather, who’s the best of the two very inconsistent career backup goalies? Markstrom now has a 2.80 goals against average and .904 save percentage. Nilsson has a 3.39 GAA and a .906 save percentage

Like I’ve said before, these two goalies can’t take all the blame. The defencemen aren’t preventing scoring chances, and the best goalies in the world would have troubles winning behind this leaky blue line.

Related Story: Canucks: Analyzing the dependence on goaltending

The Canucks have now allowed four-plus goals in seven games this month. At the end of the day, the goalies still have to make some stops. Nilsson and Markstrom are both fading after excellent starts.

So now, Green can’t go with who he thinks the true No. 1 goalie is. He has to go with the goalie that he thinks has the better chance of, well, giving up three goals or less in a game.

That is, unless one or both goalies can start finding their October and November forms.

Brock Boeser is ridiculous

Let’s end this on a positive note. The Canucks own a man who is on pace to run away for the Calder Trophy, and could even win himself the ‘Rocket’ Richard Trophy. Brock Boeser scored his 19th goal on the season, and is seven points up on Clayton Keller for the lead in rookie scoring. He’s now fifth in NHL goals — four behind Nikita Kucherov for the league lead.

Boeser was one of the top rated prospects heading into the 2017-18 season, but he’s done far better than most of us expected. At the start of the season, I projected 23 goals and 40 points for Boeser. Boy, am I going to be way off.

The month of December has been a tough one for Canucks fans, but don’t let this entire season let you down. This team has a franchise superstar to build around. A pure sniper and goal-scorer this team hasn’t had since the good old Pavel Bure days.

Next: Canucks should trade Erik Gudbranson at deadline

While the Canucks continue to slide in the standings, Boeser continues to climb atop the NHL scoring leader board. Keep on going, Brock Lobster.