Talk about a bad first period for the Vancouver Canucks.
The team came into Rogers Arena on Wednesday night, looking to secure the much-needed two points against Mat Barzal and the New York Islanders.
Just like Tuesday night’s contest against Arizona, the Canucks were forced to play without a few key players in the line-up, including Quinn Hughes and Matthew Highmore, both of who were placed on the team’s COVID-19 protocol list on Monday morning.
The Canucks also had to make one more modification in their forward group, bringing in Justin Dowling to replace Jason Dickinson, who did not hit the ice for the pre-game warm-up.
With Vancouver looking to secure their second victory in as many nights, the team also turned to Jaroslav Halak between the pipes. Despite what his record might say, Halak has been solid in his back-up netminder role so far, providing quality goaltending when his teammates needed it most.
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen in the first period on Wednesday night.
It was a tough start for Vancouver, who appeared slow and sluggish right from the opening puck drop. The Islanders were able to take advantage early on as a result, registering four shots on goal in the opening three minutes, including a 2-0 breakaway that was turned away by Halak.
The big save didn’t phase New York, who were able to net the first goal of the game just moments after, thanks to Zach Parise. The veteran forward, who was playing in his 1100th NHL game, managed to get inside positioning on defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson before tapping in his fourth goal of the season from the blue paint.
The Islanders made sure to keep their foot on the pedal afterwards, registering two more goals in a span of 13 seconds to make it 3-0 not even four minutes into the game.
The onslaught continued for the remainder of the period, with Casey Cizikas and Barzal eventually netting goals #4 and #5 for the visitors.
Vancouver was able to cut the lead down to four before the first intermission, but that was the only bright spot of the frame for them.
Simply put, Vancouver was outhustled and outplayed for the first 20 minutes, essentially leaving Halak out to dry before he was replaced by Thatcher Demko. The team didn’t even manage to register as many shots as New York had goals, a true testament to how poorly they played.
Despite the horrendous start, the Canucks somehow managed to turn their gameplay around in the second period, throwing eight shots at Ilya Sorokin in the first six minutes, including three on the man advantage.
The team almost hammered the last nail in their coffin shortly after but, like we’ve seen so many times before, were luckily bailed out by Demko, who robbed Pageau on another 2-0 breakaway for the Isles.
Pettersson’s tally marked his seventh goal in his past 11 games, bringing his point total to 27 on the year, while Schenn was able to notch his third goal of the year.
Schenn finished the evening with one goal, one fight, three shots, four blocked shots and eight hits in just under 18 minutes of ice time.
Unfortunately for the Pettersson and the Canucks, the team wasn’t able to carry the offensive momentum into the final frame, eventually surrendering one more goal to the Islanders in the final five minutes.
With the loss, Vancouver remains seventh in the Pacific Division, six points behind the Calgary Flames, who currently hold the second and final wild card spot in the Western Conference.
Vancouver will get a few days off before hosting Auston Matthews and the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night. Puck drop is set for 4:00pm PST.
What are your thoughts from Wednesday’s disappointing loss to the Isles? Make sure to drop a comment below!