It was a perfect game for the Canucks. Not 2011 perfect – Vancouver comes back from three goals down, Daniel scores the OT winner – no, it was nothing like that.
The teams scored eight goals in regulation and it went all the way to the shootout. Philadelphia won 5-4, but it wasn’t boring… which is pretty much all you can ask of a Canucks game this year.
That’s not what made it perfect though. What did that was how we spent the two days since the Predators game ripping Vancouver’s power play, their deployment of Brandon Sutter and Jayson Megna, and their OT lines.
All of those were front and centre against Philadelphia on Thursday.
And from a SixPack writer’s point of view, there was no shortage of material from this one.
1. Moratorium on the power play
It was what the old timers call a “parade to the penalty box.” Vancouver spent a total of 14:28 on the power play, while Philly had 6:30 with the man advantage.
By the end of the game, Vancouver went 1-for-8, scoring on one of two five-on-threes. The Flyers went 2-for-4.
Based on that discrepancy alone, the Canucks deserved to lose. Worse, they got a call with six minutes left in the game. Funny thing was hearing Flyers fans chanting “Refs you suck” at that point, clearly having no idea how inept Vancouver’s power play is.
Here’s what happened on that power play:
inexcusable to get late PP in a 4-4 tie and not get a single shot on goal
— Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff) January 13, 2017
I had those stats myself but it works so much better if you read JPat’s tweet to yourself in his voice, scathing disdain and all.
Earlier Wednesday, I tweeted out this layout of how I’d like to see the power play line up.
Horvat in for Sutter – that way he helps with puck retrieval, which he’s better at than Sutter.
Stecher to the left point – so he can use his right handed shot to sneak in off the point and open things up for the Sedins.
Edler on the right point – he should be able to man the blueline and back defenders off with his shot.
Here’s how the Canucks lined up.
Realize this isn’t how they were set up before Thursday. Stecher or Edler was playing the right point, Henrik was closer to the goal line, and Daniel was closer to the net.
The new formation is better, you have to give them that, but imagine a right hand shot (Stecher) out there in Baertschi’s place. Having the only RH shot standing in front of the net pretty much negates its effectiveness.
Anyway, they didn’t score on six five-on-four power plays, but the second unit did get this just as one expired.
Daniel Sedin also scored on the 5-on-3 in the first – his first goal in 12 games – proving that he still does have a shot, and helping explain why I’d like to see him placed further from the net so he can use it.
Before the game, John Abbott asked Patient Willie if he’ll be making any changes to the power play. His response:
“We’ll give them another one and evaluate them again afterwards.”
Question is, is 1-for-8 good enough to keep things the same?
Sadly, in Patient Willie’s world it probably is.
2. Questionable OT
On Tuesday against the Preds, Baertschi and Horvat – the team’s two most dynamic, fastest, hottest forwards – took one overtime shift. It was definitely Vancouver’s best chance to score, and that’s including the overtime power play.
They didn’t get on the ice on that power play – instead they watched from the bench as Vancouver lost the game.
Predictions for Thursday’s game against Philly?
@omarcanuck 1, not together
— Jason (@bowie_53) January 13, 2017
@omarcanuck together? 0
— Jared (@ChiefBeats916) January 13, 2017
Here’s how many shifts each forward got in Thursday’s overtime:
The predictions were close – Baertschi and Horvat got one shift together.
Couple of notes:
-Baertschi, definitely one of the Canucks top-two creative forwards, got one shift total. Surely he is the ideal player for the 3-on-3 format.
-Sutter leads the way – aren’t you supposed to be going for the extra point now that one has been secured in OT?
-Burrows, a guy who has stepped up time and time again when everything’s on the line for the Canucks, doesn’t see the ice. With the space and tempo of 3-on-3, I’d put him out there instead of Eriksson any day.
What’s Willie up to?
@omarcanuck trying to protect the tie
— Kevin Smillie (@smeez38) January 13, 2017
At this point, that wouldn’t surprise me.
3. Loving Megna
Of course, with all the criticism we’ve been giving Megna lately, he son’d all of us with a two-point performance Thursday.
Six points in 27 games? You’ll have to do better than that to make it stop.
Prior to the Flyers game, here are the career stats of the guy Willie’s using as a top-six forward.
Thursday, Megna had 6:43 of power-play ice time. That’s about a minute more than Horvat or Granlund, and about 6:43 more than Burrows.
Basically, he’s this year’s version of Emerson Etem or Linden Vey – a guy who’s bounced between bottom-six forward lines and the AHL affiliates of teams prior to Vancouver, and who the Canucks evidently believe have untapped potential.
Hey, I’m not alone in this thinking.
But guess what? The coach is all that matters.
Pictured, Canucks coach Willie Desjardins talking to Jayson Megna. pic.twitter.com/zoqYk7VFm7
— Andy Cole (@AndyCole84) January 13, 2017
Patient Willie doesn’t look as evil as Mr. Burns, but right idea.
- Play him or sit him? Canucks GM, coach differ on Rodin strategy
- Canucks fans: Meet Bo Horvat at Metrotown on Friday
4. Edler’s a beauty
Hope you can pick up the two Sedin-level plays from Edler here.
He’s the one who takes the cross-ice feed from Sedin. Instead of shooting it, he feathers it over to Eriksson for the tip. When that doesn’t work, he looks like he’s going to shoot again before backhanding the no-looker to Stecher who’s just inside the blueline.
No one noticed because neither Eriksson or Stecher scored, but Edler did that thing where he reminds us why he’s Vancouver’s best defenceman and why he helps the forwards so much.
Jordan Subban’s out with a short-term injury right now, but when he’s back, it sure would be nice to get a look at him in Vancouver.
Any objections Biega?
Watch out for those banana peels.
6. This is what you get
Here’s what a two-goal performance gets you in these parts.
Granny having a solid season…. pic.twitter.com/LkQ9FOL0hx
— Cory (@nine30shineshop) January 13, 2017
And here’s what you get for knocking the stick out of Tryamkin’s hands (good find by Biech here).
Just me or is Preds’ backup goalie Juuse Saros identical to a goalie we’re quite familiar with?
Note: Thanks to Ryan Biech for his always awesome gifs