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I Watched This Game: Canucks 0, Jets 2

Vancouver at Winnipeg, March 22, 2016
I Watched This Game
I Watched This Game

This has been a record-setting season for the Canucks. Some of those records have been good, like Daniel Sedin becoming the franchise’s leading goalscorer with his game-winning goal against the Bruins back in January.

Okay, one of those records was good. Just one. All the rest of the records have been bad. For instance, they’re the first team in NHL history to lose four-straight games by an identical 5-2 score. Most Daniels injured by a puck to the face. And unless they score 26 goals in the next 10 games, they’re going to be the lowest scoring team in franchise history.

Then tonight, they set a franchise record for most minutes without a goal—228—and have now gone goalless in three straight games for just the second time in franchise history.

“It can’t get any worse!” I said, knowing that it most certainly can, after I watched this game.

  • That was a woeful performance, particularly considering Daniel Sedin’s entirely warranted criticism of the team after their loss to the St. Louis Blues. But, you know what they say: Red hair’d scorning, bad game warning.
  • Frankly, their performance against the Blues was a lot more understandable: second night of back-to-backs against one of the best teams in the West with numerous key players injured? Yeah, you’re going to get dominated. But against the Jets, one of the few teams left in the NHL below the Canucks in the standings? No one wants you to tank that badly.
  • Since shots on goal have been recorded, the Canucks have never given up 50+ shots on goal in back-to-back games. They came ridiculously close, giving up 49 in this one after giving up 50 to St. Louis. That’s 99 shots against in the last two games, which is so depressing that I can’t even think of a “99 Problems” joke about it.
  • Jacob Markstrom was simply magnificent, stopping all but one shot directed his way, and that one required what looked an awful lot like goaltender interference, with Matt Halischuk’s stick wedging Markstrom’s pad to the post to prevent him from coming across to stop the wraparound. Hilariously, if you watch the replay on the NHL’s own explanation page, you can hear the Winnipeg announcers pointing out Halischuk’s stick, trying to come up with reasons for why it’s not goaltender interference, and failing, just before the video cuts to the referee calling it a good goal. Oh, NHL. You’re such a gong show.
  • In any case, that goal isn’t on the refs: it’s on Andrey Pedan. He gets spun around on the initial zone entry, trying to chase the bank off the boards rather than his man, then stands around the edge of the crease looking for the puck while Adam Lowry finds it, then reacts too late to prevent Lowry from tucking it in. I’m not trying to be pedantic, but these details matter.
  • Markstrom’s best moment came on a 4-on-2 in the third period, as he tracked the puck perfectly, made an outstanding glove save on Mark Scheifele, then had the presence of mind to sprawl back across the crease to stop Scheifele again on the rebound. He said to Shei-Shei: hush-hush.
  • Ondrej Pavelec has honestly been one of the worst goaltenders in the NHL this season. Only three goaltenders who have started at least 20 games have a worse save percentage than his .904. The Jets allow the fifth most goals against per game in the NHL. The Oilers, against whom the Canucks started this streak, allow the sixth most. The Canucks are bad.
  • Speaking of bad, Linden Vey and Emerson Etem. They had some good moments when they were first put on a line together, but the bloom is off the rose, the shine is off the apple, and the sparkle is off the vampire. They got out-shot 12-2 when they were on the ice together. They were joined by Jared McCann, who is looking more and more like he’ll be AHL-bound next season.
  • Now for some Canucks that were not bad: I kind of love Nikita Tryamkin and his pokechecks. Brendan Gaunce had another solid game, firing a team-high 5 shots on goal, including a great shorthanded chance that he created, and leading the team in corsi. Dan Hamhuis played over 25 minutes and jumped up offensively, nearly scoring a goal off a Sedin setup. Nearly.
  • And that’s it for positivity. A good goaltender, one defence pairing that isn’t awful, and maybe some of the forwards aren’t the worst.
  • There are still 10 games remaining.