The Vancouver Canucks had arrived!
Things were looking absolutely roses through October, when the Canucks were good for an 8-3-1 record. Elias Pettersson was back for round two (and boy, did he ever look sharp!). Tyler Myers, despite mockery and
Then, November rolled around.
The Canucks struggled to solve the puzzle that was Anaheim Ducks goaltending – then after resoundly stomping out San Jose, they lost an overtime heartbreaker to the defending Stanley Cup champs (in the most Canucks way possible) and then put up a massive turd against the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night and fell victim to fatigue against the Winnipeg Jets tonight immediately after.
The team is still third in the Pacific thanks to a miserable outing by the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday night, and the effort to take a step forward after the Chicago fiasco was definitely there on Friday night. But given the fact that the team would love to take a big step forward, November should be their month to capitalize on other teams starting to slump – not starting to slump themselves, too.
Thatcher Demko still looked stellar on Friday night, giving up just three goals on 34 shots – and overall, the score doesn’t necessarily reflect the game itself. Bo Horvat had what should have been a shoe-in goal that only didn’t go in by the grace of God and the skill of Connor Hellebuyck. The Canucks looked like the better team in the first, only barely let the game slip away in the second, and allowed just one goal with Demko on the ice in the third to go from what looked like a potentially close game to one that saw the team skate away disappointed.
The game itself also looked better executed for Vancouver than the matchup in Chicago, although back-to-back penalties for the Canucks were what would ultimately seal their fate. Still; at the very least, the team can console themselves with the knowledge that in a league driven on luck, they at the bare minimum had the effort to take home a win when they went out east.
This was the fifth straight game that the Vancouver Canucks have failed to take home a win against the Winnipeg Jets while on the road in Manitoba, getting outscored 22-5 in the process and scoring no more than one goal-per-game in each of those outings.
Plenty of that can be circumstance. As plenty of people have pointed out, it’s chilly as shit in Winnipeg. The Canucks were wrapping up a back-to-back on the road, which is full of fatigue. Their fourth goal against was an empty-netter, and Connor Hellebuyck – who has been an inconsistent mess this year – put on one of his Vezina-worthy performances just as the Canucks were rolling into town.
Still, five goals for in seven games is the kind of pattern that can start in ingrain itself in the minds of the players. And eventually, they can start to beat themselves when they arrive at the Bell MTS Place.
Tyler Myers tribute video. pic.twitter.com/86HOFnmQHD
— Scott Billeck (@ScottBilleck) November 9, 2019
After five years in Winnipeg, Tyler Myers returned to the city that saw him take some of his biggest strides as a player. He went from being a statistical liability on defense in Buffalo to posting some of Winnipeg’s best relative numbers from the blue line, working with skills coach Adam Francilia to help with his mechanics and helping him become the player that Vancouver has grown to like in his first month with the team (when he’s not bowling down his own teammates in OT, that is).
It was good to see him get a nice tribute back in the ‘Peg, even if the Jets fandom’s collective relationship with his play was mercurial at best.
These are the kinds of heat maps that you want to see. The Canucks went hard in the slot, and they largely limited the ability of the Jets to put pressure on Demko from in close. If both teams had been icing league-average goalies on Friday night, the Canucks could have resoundly won this one.
The Canucks out-Corsi’d the Jets 54-45% and had the advantage on expected goals, 64.78% to 35.22%. The reasoning? The Canucks had almost 71% of the game’s high-danger chances at even strength, and they even managed to maintain possession and drive even harder when they started to fade on the scoresheet. This game was a win for Connor Hellebuyck, but it was a moral victory for the Canucks – who put together, statistically, a game that gave them almost every single opportunity to win. And leading that charge? None other than Captain Canuck himself, Bo Horvat. He’s been proving why he earned the captain’s C from the moment his name was announced as the team’s successor in captaincy.
THE BEST TWEET OF THE NIGHT
Canucks gotta stop giving up these 3 on 0s pic.twitter.com/Ej7tIguQMC
— Wyatt Arndt (@TheStanchion) November 9, 2019