New year, same Vancouver Canucks.
After dropping their final two games of 2022, the team entered 2023 looking to change their losing ways against Ilya Sorokin and the New York Islanders.
It was a strong start for the home team, who controlled play and puck possession in New York’s zone in the first half of the period, which was once again highlighted by the line of Elias Pettersson Lane Pederson and Andrei Kuzmenko, as well as Luke Schenn ringing one off the post in his 900th NHL game.
There were a few moments where it seemed like the Islanders were about to flip the switch, including a 2-on-1 break that forced Spencer Martin to be sharp in the crease.
But, like we’ve seen so often this season, it was Bo Horvat that helped his team find the scoresheet, deflecting an Oliver Ekman-Larsson point shot past Sorokin for this 27th goal (and league-leading 11th tip-in tally) of the year, tying him with Thomas Gradin for eight all-time in goals in franchise history.
However, like we’ve also seen so often this season, it got ugly for the Canucks after the opening frame.
After some sloppy play in their own zone, and while Ekman-Larsson was in the dressing room dealing with an injury, the Isles found a way to level the game up again, thanks to Aatu Raty’s second goal of the year.
New York continued to swing the momentum in their favour, forcing J.T. Miller to get called for an unnecessary slashing penalty to send the away team to the man advantage.
The Canucks were luckily able to kill off the powerplay, but went right back to being shorthanded a few minutes later, thanks to another slashing infraction from Tyler Myers.
And this time, the Islanders made their opponents pay, with Jean-Gabriel Pageau tucking the point shot rebound past Martin for his team’s first lead.
Things went from bad to worse for Myers later in the period, with the giant blueliner sending an absolute gift to Coquitlam-native Mat Barzal, who made no mistake for his second point of the night.
Fortunately, it wasn’t all bad for the Canucks, with their fourth line managing to draw a penalty late in the middle frame en route to Horvat’s second goal of the game and ninth multi-goal game of the year to cut the lead to one.
You know what happens next.
Despite being down only one goal, the Canucks still managed to put up one of their more disappointing third period efforts this season, highlighted by another brutal defensive zone giveaway right before New York’s fourth goal, as well as Barzal continuing to burn his hometown team with his speed and play-making abilities en route to goal #5.
Pageau sealed the deal with an empty-netter, helping Vancouver land their third consecutive loss.
With the defeat, Vancouver fell two games below .500, keeping them eight-last in the entire league with a record of 16-18-3. They are also only four points up on San Jose for sixth in the Pacific Division.
The Canucks are back in action on Thursday night, facing off against Nathan MacKinnon and the Colorado Avalanche at Rogers Arena. Puck drop is set for 7:00pm PST.
What are your thoughts from Tuesday’s 6-2 loss against the Islanders? Let us know in the comments below!