Vancouver Canucks, Straight Up: Big win against Capitals might come with major injury loss

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      The Vancouver Canucks coming into the best team in the league’s barn and leaving with a win seemed like a stretch given how November has gone for the club so far.

      But they did exactly (well, slightly different in execution) what the Caps did to them earlier in the year, in pulling out a shootout victory as the road team.

      It was Nicklas Backstrom who scored that shootout winner for Washington, and he wasn’t on hand to help out today. Perhaps that’s why the Canucks were able to down the league-leading Capitals in a 2-1 shootout victory, with Bo Horvat scoring the winner.

      Vancouver also benefited from a solid second half after spending much of the firs 30 minutes chasing the puck.

      Here’s what we saw in Vancouver’s 2-1 shootout win over the Washington Capitals.

      Stat of the day

      Jakub Vrana’s marker less than three minutes into the first period made it 17 out of 24 games in which the Canucks have given up the first goal.

      It’s a narrative that will continue to follow this team until they can string together a few hot starts.

      Response of the day I

      And it will follow Canucks’ goaltender Jacob Markstrom, too.

      Some were surprised that the veteran Swede got the start again after some solid play from youngster Thatcher Demko of late.

      But it was Hockey Fights Cancer night in the American capital, and given what Markstrom has gone through this year, it had to be him.

      And after the first goal, he was a total wall. Or maybe a tree.

      Overall he faced 33 shots and seven shootout attempts, and only let one by.

      (Though there was some question about that…)

      Response of the day II

      After defenceman Radko Gudas bodied Brock Boeser, Canucks forwards Tanner Pearson and Jake Virtanen made sure to get in his face a little bit.

      Was it a nothing gesture? Perhaps. But a response of some kind had to be there.

      It probably should have been there when Tom Wilson knocked Elias Pettersson down right next to the Canucks’ bench, too.

      Confusion of the day

      Vancouver’s tablets on the bench weren’t working, so the club insisted that Washington turn theirs off.

      Fair enough, and a nice move from coach Travis Green.

      Reaction of the day

      Start off every day the way Jay Beagle celebrates a win against his old team.

      Coach of the day

      That would be assistant coach Nolan Baumgartner, who didn’t miss a beat when Edler went down with an injury. Green was very complimentary of his staffer.

      Setup of the day

      When a defending player breaks his stick on a 5-on-3 powerplay, you’d better score. J.T. Miller smartly noticed the break and set up Elias Pettersson on a platter.

      Not much Braden Holtby (who was also fantastic) could do about that.

      Push of the day

      After losing the puck at the blueline, Miller had to get on his horse to try and catch breakaway god T.J. Oshie.

      Luckily, he had a little help from Quinn Hughes.

      Puzzling decision of the day

      It’s going to be Miller again, who, with a delayed penalty in overtime, the puck in the Caps’ zone and Washington desperately needing a change, threw the puck at Holtby to get a whistle and the powerplay. The team already had the extra attacker out there and was facing down a dead tired Caps team. It seemed like the ideal time to bear down.

      Blow of the day

      Say what you will about Alex Edler, but he’s among the more important members of this hockey team.

      He was crushed by an Alex Ovechkin hit early in the game and went to the medical room a few plays later.

      There was also a run-in with Tyler Boyd.

      The team would only say it’s an upper body injury and had no update after the game.

      We’re not sure that bodes well for Edler, or the Canucks, who were giving the defenceman around 25 minutes a night.

      At the very least, it looks like the Canucks will have a chance to really see what they have in Oscar Fantenberg, who hasn’t played in a game this year due to his own injuries and status as the team’s seventh defenceman.

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