That should do it, right?
All that talk about the Canucks pulling themselves up by their bootstraps and back into the playoff race by taking nine points from their last 10 games can be laid to rest.
Sure, it’s nice that the Canucks are playing hard and having some success in another lost season (well, it isn’t when it comes to the draft lottery or long-term health for the franchise, but whatever).
But in those aforementioned 10 games, the Canucks played one playoff team—the Dallas Stars, who are holding onto a Wildcard spot. So the Calgary Flames represented a test of sorts. Even if the Canucks won the game, the playoffs would be a pipe dream. It might go to show that the recent run wasn’t all smoke and mirrors, though.
The Canucks play hard and compete most nights, but they just aren’t nearly as deep as good teams in the league. That showed tonight, even as the Canucks attempted to come back in what was a strong third period.
In the end, Calgary’s skill was simply too much.
Here’s what else we saw in Vancouver’s 3-1 loss at the hands of the Flames.
Three that impressed
1. Brock Boeser
The sophomore is enjoying the longest points streak of his young career, with an early third period goal extending it to nine games.
He’s also played well in his own zone. It’s been nice to see as Boeser has battled injuries and some bad luck this year.
2. Tanner Pearson
It’s been a couple good games for the veteran in a row now, as Pearson seemed like someone intent on earning and keeping a spot in the top six. He was all over the ice, hustling and making plays with his centre, Bo Horvat. There is skill there and one wonders if a good end to the season can earn him a spot on the top line going into next season.
3. Mark Giordano
The Canucks got a close look at Giordano’s campaign for the Norris Trophy (best defenceman), and it was something else. The veteran had a goal and two assists in 20 minutes of ice time.
Hard not to notice Jay Beagle just sort of…stop skating there.
Three that didn’t
1. Jake Virtanen
Speaking of which, Virtanen is already taking a lot of heat for a fly by play in which he didn’t commit to checking Giordano at the blueline. It led to the Flames’ third goal and was the type of play Travis Green has made very clear he doesn’t appreciate.
Will Virtanen come out of the lineup tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets? Probably not, but there will likely be changes and he could be one of the victims.
2. Guillaume Brisebois
Yeah, not the best night for the rookie. Though he started the night with Troy Stecher, he played himself off that pairing, giving way to Ashton Sautner (who was solid as usual). Overall he was a minus-3 with some ghastly advanced stats.
3. Mike Smith
Sure, he let in one goal on the night and got the win, but come on. What is this?
The Swiss judge is giving that dive 10 points.
- Though he was a minus-2, Luke Schenn provided the Canucks blueline with some nice pushback and physicality. He takes no prisoners and against the rival Calgary Flames that’s not a bad attitude to have.
- The Canucks scratched Ryan Spooner, Nikolay Goldobin and Sven Baertschi tonight, as the latter is reportedly ready to return to the lineup. You have to think at least two of them will get back on the ice tonight against Columbus. So who comes out? Tim Schaller, yeah. And maybe Markus Granlund. Loui Eriksson’s been playing with Horvat and that would seem to be where Baertschi might slot in, so does he visit the press box again?
- The Flames fourth line did some work, with rookie Andrew Mangiapane and veteran Garnet Hathaway in particular doing some damage. It’s the type of fourth line that has some skill but can also bang it up that is destined for success in today’s NHL.
- By contrast, the Canucks iced Jay Beagle, Tim Schaller and Tyler Motte on their fourth unit.
- “Some small details in the game that cost us, but we need to clean those up.” – Brock Boeser
- “I like his game; he’s got a strong two-way game right now. But you lose a game 3-1, I’m not going to pump everyone’s tires.” – Travis Green on Boeser
- “Good intensity out there thought the crowd was involved. We knew it was going to be like that though. They’re trying to get into that last playoff spot and are fighting for every point.” – Mark Giordano