It should have been a happy night for Canucks Nation.
Playing against the Anaheim Ducks – a team they never seem to have success against – they played really well. Ryan Kesler is still a Duck, of course, and fans got into the game by booing him, as they usually do.
Vancouver outshot the Ducks 30-24, and outscored them 4-1 to win the game.
It was also Henrik Sedin bobblehead night.
— Jeffrey Nordstrom (@jeffnords) March 28, 2018
And while fans at Rogers Arena seemed to enjoy themselves, it was a different story with Canucks Nation on Twitter.
With Vancouver mathematically eliminated from the playoffs and only five games left in the season, a victory at this point does about as much good as winning a preseason game in September. And for many fans, it’s much worse.
The win, the Canucks’ third in four games, put them into 28th spot in the overall league standings – just two points behind Detroit for 27th and three points away from Montreal for 26th. A loss would have put them in 30th position and kept them within three points of last-place Buffalo.
Here are the standings – as many fans in Vancouver view them – in reverse order:
With astute fans having their eye on the Canucks’ draft position – this is not good news. Making matters worse? The players that did the damage on Tuesday were not players that are likely to fit into the future of the franchise.
Players that never seem to score, scored. Brandon Sutter scored twice, bringing his goal total up to 10. Sam Gagner scored his ninth goal of the season. Alex Biega, of all people, scored the second goal of his career – the first since his NHL debut three years ago.
Biega’s goal stood up as the winner.
If the goals were scored by Bo Horvat, Jake Virtanen, and Troy Stecher – I think you’d see a different reaction from fans.
But they weren’t.
All of this was just a little too much for Canucks Twitter to handle. They were pissed.
— Gr8WhiteBUFFalo (@JRockSmitty8) March 28, 2018
This team is absolutely goddamn infuriating and I hate them and they're ruining me on a personal level and frankly I'm not sure what I did in a previous life to be stuck with these bunch of losers. #Canucks
— BoestMode (@BoestMode) March 28, 2018
What a time to go on a winning streak. This team can't do anything right. #Canucks
— Dylan Nicholson (@radiocodex) March 28, 2018
Sure…win when we don't want you to #Canucks
— Aron Weinstein (@Aron_Weinstein) March 28, 2018
Why? Why do you punish me for my fandom #Canucks
— Willie Stroker (@craigdacritic) March 28, 2018
Sigh did #Canucks not get the team tank memo?
— Bob | Tawcan (@Tawcan) March 28, 2018
True to form, the #canucks have historically saved their best effort and performances for RIGHT AFTER THEY'RE MATHEMATICALLY ELIMINATED FROM THE FUCKING PLAYOFFS.
— Sporting Vancouver (@vansport) March 28, 2018
— GD (@Dhaliwal_86) March 28, 2018
Maybe you should try winning when it matters! Good goalies win under pressure not in this circus to end the season #canucks
— Robby (@Dosange) March 28, 2018
this is such a shit win. Guys who were invisible all year score mean nothing goals when it doesn't matter and screws our draft position. This franchise is cursed. @Canucks
— Brian (@BoldMoverr) March 28, 2018
The #Canucks won! That's good! But they lowered their lottery odds. That's bad. But they could win it anyway. That's good! But the Canucks ping pong balls are cursed. That's bad.
— New Kid On The Brock (@new_brock) March 28, 2018
— Michael Paweska (@mrpaweska) March 28, 2018
Now, to be clear, not every Canucks fan on Twitter or otherwise are members of ‘Team Tank.’ But a large portion is.
You can understand the anger from fans who want the best for their team long term – the lower you finish in the standings, the better your odds are at a high draft pick – but really there’s nobody to be mad at here.
Every player and coach does their best to try to win. It’s their job. So you can’t be mad at individual players for trying. Management can make moves for the future, thereby lessening the chance of winning in the present, so you can be mad at them (and fans have been), but that’s about it.
And besides, given how many injuries Vancouver has right now, Tuesday’s roster was set up for failure.
So when Alex Biega comes out of nowhere to score, all you can do is shake your head… And hope that Buffalo, Ottawa, and Arizona win their next game.
It’s a weird time to be a Canucks fan.