Vancouver Canucks: 3 takeaways from 2-1 loss in MSG

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 12: Nikolay Goldobin #77 of the Vancouver Canucks shoots and scores in the second period against Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on November 12, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 12: Nikolay Goldobin #77 of the Vancouver Canucks shoots and scores in the second period against Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on November 12, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Vancouver Canucks made their stop at Madison Square Garden on the road trip. In a 2-1 defeat, special teams came up short and Henrik Lundqvist showed why he is known as the King.

Last night could have been special for the Vancouver Canucks. Elias Pettersson was celebrating his 20th birthday, so we can no longer refer to him as a teenager. Unfortunately, the Canucks star rookie did not appear on the scoresheet during the game. His team would fall to Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers, 2-1.

Under the bright lights of New York, some of the Canucks got to see the city for the first time and experience Madison Square Garden. Based on the road trip so far, it was hard to say which version of the Canucks we would get. After the final buzzer, the offensively impotent team that was predicted in preseason made its appearance.

The team struggled to generate chances, failing to break 30 shots on Lundqvist. You can say what you want about his age, but if you are not testing the King, you are not going to score. The Rangers are a rebuilding team like the Canucks, showcasing their youth in the lineup. While the Canucks had Pettersson from the first round of the 2017 draft, New York had both Filip Chytil and Lias Andersson.

Chytil had the equalizer on the power play and after that back-breaking go-ahead goal, the team could not come back. Here are your three takeaways from the game.

Nikolay Goldobin breaks the slump; Pettersson slows down

Despite a disappointing result, Nikolay Goldobin finally broke his slump. Goldy hasn’t scored since the first game of the season and was sporting a shooting percentage far below his career average. At some point, he was going to score and hopefully the floodgates would open.

There was no flash flood of goals, but it was good to see Goldy pull that weight off his shoulder and chuck it towards the crowd on the celebration. After a bad penalty he took that was killed off by his team, Goldy sped out of the box and snuck around to score a beautiful goal.

The Rangers may have fallen asleep when the power play ended, but good on Goldy for taking advantage. One thing we’re noticing is that while Goldy is finding success, Pettersson has slowed down.

You could say it is because of regression, but it may just be with his revolving door of wingers. That five-point night against Colorado seems so long ago, but don’t hit the panic button yet. Pettersson has only been held pointless in four games this season, including tonight. However, if Goldy can start lighting the lamp, this could be an opportunity for Pettersson to start collecting points again.

Goaltending was good, but not good enough

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At the end of the night, Jacob Markstrom only let in two goals. The Rangers had 27 shots on goal, so his save percentage was .926. However, Lundqvist finished on top with the same number of saves and a save percentage of .962.

Markstrom did not have enough run support tonight. However, he not completely blameless. That game winning goal from Brett Howden was a back-breaker. Maybe you can argue that Chris Tanev was screening him, but when your team can’t score, these goals can’t happen. The Rangers scored immediately after a face off win, and those goals just sting.

We were noticing that the inconsistencies in goal were not hurting the Canucks after 15 games. But since Markstrom started eight in a row, it looks like Travis Green is not willing to give his netminder a break. Maybe he wants him to play through it, but we will see if Markstrom plays the back-to-back games tomorrow.

Special teams fall flat

It’s no surprise that team is hurting without their special teams play. I was wondering how long the penalty kill would last with the injuries. Before the injury to Brandon Sutter, the Canucks PK ranked 9th in the league. It has now fallen to 19th at 80.3%.

The Rangers may have only been 1 for 6 on the night, but every goal counts, especially when the Canucks sport a negative goal differential. On the opposite side of special teams, the power play is hurting real bad. It’s holding at 15th in the league at 18.3%, but what is alarming is the trend as of late.

Despite getting four power plays, the Canucks failed on all four attempts. They only had four shots total and three happened on the final one when it was a 6-on-4. Jeff Paterson highlights how bad it has been. The team is 5/35 over the last 10 games. That’s pretty bad to say the least.

Now, how long will this last? It’s hard to say. The penalty kill is in rough shape. I do expect the power play to bounce back, but it’s really missing Brock Boeser at 100%. It still doesn’t excuse the lack of shot attempts being made.

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Maybe a new defenceman needs to walk the line. I want to throw in my vote for Troy Stecher, but the Richmond bias is showing. Although, Jim Benning likes the idea of a right-handed power play quarterback. It probably wouldn’t hurt to try. The Canucks play the Islanders today at 4 pm PST.