I Watched This Game: Canucks at San Jose Sharks, April 1, 2013

The best thing that can be said about this game is that it wasn’t as bad as the last one. Like their game against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday, the Canucks got soundly outplayed by the San Jose Sharks and similarly succumbed to their opposition thanks to a flurry of goals in a short period of time.

Unlike their game against the Oilers, however, the Canucks actually showed some gumption, battling back by creating scoring chances, scoring goals, and coming just short of tying the game in the final minutes. Thanks to that, it was a lot more enjoyable when I watched this game.

Canucks 2 – 3 Sharks

  • The beginning of this game was remarkably similar to the game against the Oilers, including the Sharks’ first two shots, which came in nearly the exact same situations as the Oilers’ first two shots, albeit in the opposite order. First, Marc-Edouard Vlasic took a shot from the top of the circle through traffic, then Martin Havlat took advantage of a defensive breakdown to go in alone on Cory Schneider down the right wing. The only difference was that Schneider bailed out his teammates and made both saves and continued to do so throughout the first period, making 14 saves in the first alone.
  • Nicklas Jensen made his Canucks debut and was immediately given the enviable, if intimidating, role of skating on the top line with the Sedins. Jensen didn’t look the least bit out of place, effectively using his size to protect the puck and frequently cycling the puck with the Sedins like he had been playing with them for years. The only problem is that he didn’t record a single shot on goal, though he had one blocked and one miss the net. Jensen will need to a little more trigger-happy if he wants to stick with the Sedins for any length of time; the last thing the Canucks need is yet another player on the first line who won’t shoot the puck.
  • Jensen finished with 17:32 in ice time, an impressive figure given Alain Vigneault’s supposed reluctance to give young players opportunities. A big reason why is that he wasn’t a liability defensively, as his positioning was solid and he had an active stick. He finished the game a minus-1 simply because he had the bad luck of coming onto the ice for a line change just 2 seconds before Joe Thornton scored the Sharks’ second goal of the game.
  • Putting Jensen with the Sedins freed up Alex Burrows to play on a line with Jannik Hansen and Chris Higgins, which was easily the Canucks’ best line against the Sharks, combining for both of the Canucks’ goals. On a more bizarre note, Burrows was the only Canuck over 50% in the faceoff circle, winning 9 of his 16 draws.
  • All of the Sharks’ goals came within a 2:13 timespan in the second period. It was the most horrifying 2:13 since, well, 2:13.
  • The Canucks have yet to score a shorthanded goal this season, though Jannik Hansen has had numerous chances. Just prior to Couture scoring on the powerplay, Hansen tipped the puck away from Patrick Marleau for a breakaway, but Niemi made like a PG euphemism and shut the front door.
  • With a three-goal lead and dominance of the faceoff circle, the Sharks were content to ice the puck repeatedly in the second period, including three times in 38 seconds shortly after Couture’s goal. Even Honey Boo Boo thought that was too much icing.
  • The Canucks pulled within two thanks to a turnover by Thornton. Burrows came back the other way and blasted a slapshot wide, but the Sharks never recovered defensively. Two quick passes by Bieksa and Hansen got the puck to Higgins in the slot and he whipped the puck under Niemi like it was a cigarette in the mouth of a bizarre, robotic pioneer woman.
  • Higgins came close to scoring his second on a spinning pass from Burrows, but Niemi played Higgins’ deke to the backhand perfectly. Higgins later set up Bieksa shorthanded, but like a bachelor in the 80′s, Niemi had a kickin’ pad.
  • Higgins did pick up an assist on the Canucks’ second goal. Dan Hamhuis pinched down the boards, freeing up the puck for Hansen, who passed to Higgins at the point. His shot deflected off Burrows as he went hard to the net and the puck dropped into the crease for Burrows to swat in. Burrows’ insistence on being called The Sultan at the bench, however, did not go over well.
  • Chris Tanev came agonizingly close to tying the game late in the third as his point shot snuck under Niemi’s arm, but deflected harmlessly off the post. Unfortunately, Tanev’s slapshot is a lot like Earth: mostly harmless.
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15 comments

  1. chicken hawk
    April 2, 2013

    (So now it’s clear whom they should trade
    Let’s hope that soon a deal is made
    Alex Edler and Cory too
    For right side “D” for Bobby Lu)

    Throughout the game I watched and saw
    Vancouver seldom win a draw
    It’s why they find themselves outshot
    And lose unless their goalie’s hot

    Which neither one can always be
    When facing shots so constantly
    And then of course there is to boot
    The boys up front so rarely shoot

    (And find some centre doesn’t suck
    While facing off to win the puck)

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  2. Dougster
    April 2, 2013

    A honey boo boo reference? The Canuck’s weakness at centre right now is embarrassing… burrows might be our best defensive centre right now. I love the guy but I would rather see him on the Sedin line where he belongs.

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  3. Cathylu
    April 2, 2013

    Well that was a long drive to watch us lose but I agree that at least we played better than we did Saturday. We were able to get 2nd row off the glass seats which was a thrill for me. There’s something amazing about watching the game that close up. I can confirm that Higgins was working his ass off. I thought it was funny that right after they played “Gold on the Ceiling” in the arena was when we scored our first goal. I guess we just need the DJ’s to give us some more inspiration in the future.

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  4. Chinstrap Joe
    April 2, 2013

    I know people have been piling on Edler lately but weren’t he and Tanev on the ice for all three Shark goals? Edler looked defensively inept out there. On the first goal his defensive move was to chip the puck right into the slot.

    He seemed lost out there.

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  5. Lenny
    April 2, 2013

    Please do a post on what you guys think of Derek Roy and the trade! 2nd and Connauton.

    Your WordPress told me to slow down so here I am writing just a bit more stuff with no real substance…

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    • ColbyD
      April 2, 2013

      What a steal of a trade, Roy was even on the 48 man roster for Team Canada in 2010. Hes fallen off a bit since then, but so have the Sabres and Stars teams hes played on. Lets hope he can handle the attention and pressure of the playoff race.

      Everyone thought Ott for Roy was a bad atrade for Buffalo, now we get him for a 2nd and a D prospect who never would of cut it under AV.

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      • Chris the Curmudgeon
        April 2, 2013

        Not to be rain on the Roy parade, but rumour has it there are persistent questions about his attitude. His last two teams wanted to be rid of him. I don’t think Connauton was a top NHL talent and hopefully those rumours are wrong about Roy, as on paper at least, he fills a pressing need.

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    • steveB
      April 2, 2013

      You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down.

      same here, I’m starting to wonder if I’ve been Moderated. :-\

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      • Daniel Wagner
        April 2, 2013

        It’s nothing to do with you guys, it’s the server having issues. Harrison and I get the same message from time to time.

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        • steveB
          April 2, 2013

          Is Newell Brown also in charge of the vansunsportsblogs servers in addition to his duties on the Canucks’ bench?

          because, ummmm… this blog page is working with a similar efficiency to the Canucks’ power play. :-\

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  6. Willie Nelson
    April 2, 2013

    Please tell me what to think PITB!!

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  7. obituary mambo
    April 2, 2013

    It seems that every time the Wild do the Canucks the favor of losing, Vancouver answers with a loss of their own. It’s going to be hard to reclaim the division at this rate. When, oh when, will the plague of injuries be over? With any luck Roy’s presence will immediately help smooth things out.

    This is my first comment in a couple of days; I can’t be posting too quickly.

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  8. madwag
    April 2, 2013

    i find if i include my e-mail address, then i have no (or at least fewer) problems.

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    • madwag
      April 2, 2013

      of course soon as i pressed submit, i got ,”you are posting too quickly….” cussing cuss.

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  9. Naturalmystic
    April 2, 2013

    I didn’t watch the game. No surprise the Casucks stunk out another arena. One round and done.

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