It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.
A motto for the entire existence of the Vancouver Canucks? Sure. But also an apt summary of the last two games for the franchise.
On Saturday morning, the Canucks played a highly entertaining contest against the Washington Capitals that saw the visitors sneak out of Capital One Arena with a 2-1 shootout victory.
The only similarity between that match and the one against the Philadelphia Flyers tonight was the score.
It was a slow, sloppy game from Vancouver that likely would have been a blowout had goaltender Thatcher Demko not put on a show.
There was one real positive in the game’s aftermath: if the Canucks can play that badly and only lose 2-1, it’s not necessarily a bad sign. Hopefully games like that are very few and far between.
Here’s what else we saw in the Canucks’ 2-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.
Summary of the night
That’s how John Shorthouse summed it up. And we can’t really put it any better than that, honestly. The Canucks were outhustled and never looked fully engaged in this one.
Irony of the night
Much has been made lately about how the Canucks have gotten off to terrible starts and are hardly ever the first team to score.
So big things were expected when J.T. Miller was able to give the Canucks the first tally, as Vancouver has not been used to playing with an early lead.
It didn’t happen that way, obviously. The Flyers came out in the second period and absolutely dominated the play. The home team accounted for an absurd 94.5 percent of the expected goals in the game. That’s downright embarrassing.
Maybe the Canucks are better off not scoring first?
Battle of the night
That has to go to Miller and Flyers coach Vigneault. The former Canucks bench boss also used to coach Miller with the New York Rangers, and he jokingly threw some shots across the bow at the forward in his pregame comments.
“Just tell him AV said: ‘You get it now,’” Vigneault reportedly told media.
Miller apparently learned some hard lessons from the coach when he was 20 years old and struggling to find a permanent spot in the Rangers lineup.
Vigneault is right: Miller does get it now. He’s been one of the Canucks’ best players this year (if not the best player) and is making the team look smart for targeting him in the offseason (even if the price is still a bit troubling).
And Miller did his best once again, burying his team’s only goal. But it wasn’t enough to beat his former coach (who also got a win against his former team).
Summary of the night II
“We kind of hung in there tonight and probably got what we deserved.”
That was Canucks coach Travis Green. He’s right on the mark here. Yes, the Canucks are on a cumbersome road trip right now but they had ample time between Saturday’s game and this one to prepare.
Stat of the night
You know it’s a tough night when...
Word of the night
It has to be “Gritizens” in an absolute walk.
News of the night
No, it wasn’t all the Canucks updates flying around about Micheal Ferland (going to join the team in Pittsburgh), Brandon Sutter (might play next game) and Antoine Roussel (going to Utica on a conditioning stint).
The real hockey news of the night could be found on Twitter where former player Akim Aliu had a particularly horrifying story to tell about current Calgary Flames coach Bill Peters.
The Flames coach was not made available to press after tonight’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
This is a massive story, obviously, and we don’t have all the information.
But if it’s true—and why would Aliu make it up?—Peters should be fired immediately. In the wake of revelations that Mike Babcock treated his players terribly, there will be a reckoning for all who try those tired "tough guy" motivation tactics.
This isn’t “millennials not being able to tough it out,” just in case you were about to go there.
No news of the night
Green provided all those Canucks updates but notably had nothing to say on Olli Juolevi. Usually no news is good news, but one has to think that the longer there is silence on Juolevi, the more concerning it is.
Hopefully the defenceman can be an asset for the Canucks organization going forward. But more important is the health of a young man.
Performance of the night
Thatcher Demko was once again excellent for the Canucks, and the only reason this game was as close as it was.
The youngster is giving Vancouver every reason to believe in him as the goalie of the future. And you know what? The future could start next season.
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