Coming off a spirited 4-1 win over the New York Rangers Wednesday night, the Vancouver Canucks took on the New Jersey Devils last night, losing in the shootout by a score of 3-2.
The Vancouver Canucks were feeling good after their win over the Rangers Wednesday night, but couldn’t string together wins, as they’ve struggled to do for the past couple of months. Here are my three takeaways from last night’s game.
Loui Eriksson returns to the lineup
Wednesday marked the first time ever that head coach Travis Green made the decision to make Loui Eriksson a healthy scratch. The decision to scratch Eriksson meant that coach Green felt it was more beneficial for his team to play their younger players such as Nikolay Goldobin over Eriksson.
The scratch sent a message to Eriksson, who said in a rare media scrum that the scratch on Wednesday night was the first and only time in his career that he has ever been a healthy scratch. He seemed to be frustrated by the decision but continued to reiterate that all he could do about it is work hard.
Eriksson has found a home on the Canucks’ shutdown line this season along with Jay Beagle and Tyler Motte. While he embraces the role, he said himself that he is used to a more offensive role and playing top-six minutes every night.
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The fact of the matter is, Eriksson hasn’t been good enough for the majority of his Canucks tenure to warrant a spot in the top six forward group. But after the injury that ended Antoine Roussel‘s season Wednesday night, Eriksson was given another shot in the top six last night, playing alongside Goldobin and Bo Horvat.
After a quiet first period for both teams, Eriksson set up Josh Leivo — who was switched with Goldobin to start the second period — for a grade-A chance that nearly beat Devils goaltender MacKenzie Blackwood.
Eriksson looked to have a bit more pep in his step than he usually does, but he will need to do more if he wants to remain in the Canucks top-six forward group. Green was quick to replace Eriksson with Tanner Pearson, and likely won’t think twice about doing the same thing down the final stretch.