Photo credit: Jeff Vinnick
by Scott Rosenhek
Tonight, the boys from Beantown stormed into Rogers Arena for a late season clash with the Canucks. Do we see the heated rivalry from 2011 renewed for one more night? Was Brad Marchand still the pest Vancouver fans love to hate? At this point of the season, the games for the Canucks have become less and less meaningful, the answers to those questions are no and YES. Although the rosters are different from 2011, maybe the fire between these teams can be rekindled.
This game was also the Canucks debut for recently signed centre from the Swiss League, Drew Shore. The former Florida Panthers draft pick has only 80 career NHL games to his name, but had 48 points in 50 games in that league across the pond. The 26 year old forward was hungry and ready to go. Hopefully, the report on his warm up was a positive sign to come.
Drew shore got to play on a line with Brandon Sutter and Joseph Cramarossa. It looks like Coach Desjardins has a soft spot for Cramarossa as he is earning third line duties. Bo Horvat’s line was given the arduous task of being matched up against the Bruin’s top line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Backes. Don’t worry Jayson Megna, Reid Boucher will get ONE shift with Horvat and Baertschi, so you and he can trade places on the second line (sigh). At least there is the power play, Reid. Keep on shootin’ young man.
Ryan Miller had played an impressive game on Saturday night versus Pittsburgh, making the most saves he has had to all season: 45. You would think Ryan Miller would maybe like more than a day’s rest since he worked harder than any other Canuck, right?
The Bruins opened the scoring with a “deflection” off of David Backes’ skate.
That looked like a good goal at BC Place, but tonight’s game was in Rogers Arena on the ice and not the turf. It is just a little sad that there wasn’t even a discussion about reviewing the play. I guess this dismissive attitude is what we get as the season is winding down.
But don’t fret Canucks fans. One member of the Canucks is taking full advantage of his opportunities and that man is Markus Granlund. Coming off the rush with the Sedins (yes, the rush), Granlund beats Tuukka Rask high blocker side with a perfect shot.
Markus Granlund was not done there. So nice, he did it twice! Granlund beats the Boston goalie once again with a beautiful goal off of the rush.
After Granlund had tilted the pace in favour of the Canucks, Brad Marchand just had to be Brad Marchand when he comes to Vancouver. However, this time, Nikita Tryamkin was having none of this. Seriously, what did David Backes think was going to happen when he gave the Russian Giant a shove? I do get that warm and fuzzy feeling when the referee needs to shelter Marchand from Tryamkin like a parent would to a frightened child.
It was 2-1 Canucks after 20 minutes and the Canucks were carrying the momentum going into the second. The Canucks had a dangerous power play attempt and Markus Granlund was trying hard to get his first career hat trick. However, momentum ebbs and flows for the Canucks this season and towering Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara took advantage of a failed clearing attempt to tie the game.
It only took 21 seconds for Eagle to strike with the go-ahead goal. Drew Shore picks up his first assist in a Canucks jersey. Edler scores from a very difficult angle and his stick did not break to boot!
Things were looking good. The Canucks were leading after two periods, but took a penalty late that would spill over into the final frame of regulation. You know what that means. The Canucks will trap until the final whistle and players like Reid Boucher, Joseph LaBate and probably Michael Chaput will be seeing a lot less ice time.
Frankly, I am not a fan of just shutting down and trying to hang on for a win. It’s low event hockey and not enjoyable to watch. Plus, there always the nagging fear that with all of that bending, there is the off chance the Canucks will break, like right here:
The Canucks looked frozen on that goal. Caught puck watching on a long shift leaving Marchand with a clear shooting lane with no check in sight. At this point, we can see the Canucks begin pushing back, throwing more shots towards the net to try and swing the momentum needle in their favour. Yet, once again, the Canucks have allowed the opposition to put over 40 shots on goal against Ryan Miller. We can only ask Miller to do so much, so I can cut him some slack when the system that the Canucks keep preaching is not enough to stop the opposition.
As you can see, Brad Marchand just shreds through the Canucks due to a brutal turnover by Henrik Sedin. It really is hard to admit it, but it does look like age is having an effect on the Twins. Granted, it would nice if their line had a bit of breather, but since the coach likes to shorten the bench so often, it can’t be helped.
It hasn’t been the greatest night for Luca Sbisa and this turnover that led to the Krejci goal is a tough pill to swallow. Being down one goal is not impossible to overcome, as the Canucks have shown a few times this season. However, two goals was looking like too large of a gap for the Canucks to clear. That was 3 unanswered goals in the period with little to no push back by the Canucks. Marchand puts in the final dagger, completing the hat trick with an empty net goal and being instrumental in the 6-3 loss for the Canucks.
Reflecting on this game, I thought about the possibility of Ryan Miller returning next season. Honestly, I would welcome Miller back with open arms, given the right price. If he chooses not to re-sign, I can’t even imagine how badly games will look next year without his 40 save performances. At the moment, we do not know if Jacob Markstrom can shoulder a similar workload. However, this will be a bridge to cross when free agency arrives and the Canucks have been affected by the Expansion Draft and have made their selections in the Entry Draft.
In a way, this loss might be something management needs. If anyone still thinks that this team can still compete for a playoff spot, you are not being honest with yourself. I hate having to cheer for losses, and as a fan of the game, I never will. However, I do understand that losses are necessary to give the Canucks the best chance at drafting the best player.
I am just so torn. On the one hand, the loss is necessary since I would really like the chance for the Canucks to choose between Nolan Patrick or Nico Hischier. However, on the other hand, it stings seeing Brad Marchand score a hat trick in Vancouver. The contradiction between the two realizations is a captivating feeling, which in itself may be poetic.
NEXT GAME: Thursday, March 16 vs Dallas 7 pm PST (TV: Sportsnet, Radio: TSN)