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Hockey, Sports

SixPack: Gagner scores in overtime to bump Canucks' slump

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Omar Dec 16, 2017 2:08 am 877

After losing 7-1 to the Preds on Tuesday, the world was crumbling around the Canucks. In a week, the media had gone from talking about the team contending for a playoff spot to talking as if it was 2016-17 all over again.

Rob the Editor Guy was writing about trading away this summer’s free agent signings for assets and the owner was threatening to move the team… no wait, that’s Ottawa.

With the world crumbling around him, Henrik Sedin stood up and told his team they needed to play with pride.

Granted, he and Daniel made comments like those to the media several times as the ship was sinking over the past few seasons, but the difference in those times was they had to try to show that pride within Willie’s all-D-all-the-time system, and more importantly, without their new trigger man, the most gifted goal-scorer they’ve ever played with.

In Green’s system, and with three huge parts of their offence injured, it was all on the Sedins to back up Henrik’s words with actions on Friday night.

And like future hall-of-famers do, they stepped up. They had six points between them and the amazing thing is six points don’t do justice to the dominance they showed.

The Sedins had too many own-the-puck shifts to count, they nearly ended the game twice in overtime, and they carried the team as if it was 2011 again.

Am I going overboard on the Sedin hype right now? Maybe. But let’s be real, they’re quickly approaching the ends of their careers.

Nights like these – nights where they remind us of their Hart and Art Ross trophy winning seasons – let’s just say it’s not like old times when this sort of thing was a bi-weekly occurrance.

The Canucks came out flying, they snapped a four game losing streak, they won 4-3 in overtime, and the Sedins led like leaders do.

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1. The backdrop

The mood shifts so quickly with Canucks fans, it’s often hard to remember how it felt before the last game.

Leading into Friday’s game, the world really was ending as far as Canucks fans were concerned. This was the Canucks record in their last 10 games.

Horvat and Baertschi’s injuries played a huge part in those four losses, and to make it worse, Vancouver’s best defenseman, Chris Tanev, was injured in Wednesday’s game.

You better believe the tank was back on.

While JPat showed what a long shot beating the Sharks was.

Then the game began and it was all Vancouver. San Jose didn’t have a shot in the first six minutes until they got their first power play of the game.

The Canucks outshot the Sharks 22-13 in the first period and to be honest, it looked like Wednesday’s game against the Preds in reverse for the first 20 minutes. Unlike what Vancouver did then, San Jose fought back and made a game of it.

But again, the effort Vancouver put up should not be understated given what Vancouver was up against.

2. So much Sedinery

From the start of the game, the Sedins showed signs of what was to come.

They both assisted on Granlund’s power play goal – his first of the game – and you know that was meant to be a pass from Daniel.

Both Daniel and MDZ nearly scored here, and this is just a few seconds of a long shift of dominance in San Jose’s end.

And the Sedins and Granlund did it again, just after a power play expired, later in the first.

In the second period, they loaded up Boeser’s cannon for another power play marker.

Then came overtime, where you might expect their age to show. Nope, they nearly scored at the end of an exhausting near 2-minute shift here.

And later, just before Gagner’s OT winner, they nearly scored what could’ve been the prettiest goal of the season.

3. Following the leaders

The rest of the team followed their lead.

First, the SixPack Superstar Sam Gagner for his OT goal:

Nice goal Gagner, but now we know you’ve been holding out on us.

Second, here was Granlund being taken aside by Green in practice today.

Asked what Green said to him by Sportsnet in the first intermission of the game, Granlund said: “He just said he needs more from me and I have to work harder.”

Is two goals “more”?

Third, with Tanev out Biega deserved a ton of credit for his contributions and the jump he added for his team.

Biega didn’t have any points but from Keeping’s tracked stats you can see he was Vancouver’s best defenseman and may well have been their best player with the way he kept pushing the play.

Fourth, check out Troy Stecher going full Paul Coffey on this rush.

And then there was Jake, who finally, finally listened, and took the puck all the way to the net.

They were all on a mission in this one.

4. Markstrom bounce back

Marky had a rough ride in his last game, allowing five goals against Winnipeg.

But he bounced back with incredible saves like this.

And by drawing penalties with amazing acting skillz like this.

And really, he should’ve had a regulation win if not for a lucky deflection off Biega’s skate on San Jose’s game-tying goal late in the third.

In the end Markstrom outplayed Martin Jones, and that’s all that mattered.

5. Goldy time

After scratching Goldobin against the Jets Monday – a game the Canucks lost 5-1 – Green spent almost his entire press conference Tuesday answering questions about the 22-year-old.

This comment struck me:

“His skating style is not a fast skating style. Sometimes he looks like he’s not working hard. His opinion of working sometimes and my opinion of working are sometimes a little different.”

And in case you doubted Green’s take, the Sharks’ Pete DeBoer – Goldobin’s previous coach – echoed him on Friday: “You want honest skilled guys. I think Goldie’s learning to be an honest player and that takes time.”

So fine, his coaches want more work ethic, more consistency. Fans? They want more of this.

Goldy fakes pass so quickly there you almost can’t see it. The defenceman covering him saw it, though, and that’s why Goldy manages to get that shot off.

That was one of several plays where Goldobin showed his magical hands. The potential is so tantalizing, let’s just hope he finds a way to impress Green.

6. A (much) worse owner

Look, I’m not going to sit here and tell you being a Canucks fan is a party. You’ve never won a Cup and you’ve had your heart broken more than any other fans in the NHL so cheering for this team truly is a life sentence…

But anytime you’re crying yourself to sleep, thinking “woe is me” because your team fired the most successful GM in the team’s history and you hear his assistant GM spitting truths on the radio every Wednesday, just be thankful you’re not a Sens fan. Would you really want this guy being the owner of your favourite team?

He already did cut Kyle Turris, according to Turris himself, and now the future of the league’s best defenseman is up in the air.

And seriously, way to ruin the excitement around what is supposed to be one of the coolest games of the season in Ottawa one day before the outdoor game.

So again, just be happy you have team owner who is willing to spend to the cap every year, to sign ridiculous $36-million contracts for guys who aren’t close to worth it, and to spend whatever it takes on scouting staffs that can draft Brock Boeser and Elias Pettersson.

It sure beats having an owner who is the butt end of jokes like these.

Good joke though, you have to admit.


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Omar
Sports writer with Daily Hive Vancouver; University of Kings College journalism grad; worked at TSN.ca and 24Hours.

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