The Vancouver Canucks gave up a 2 goal lead in uncharacteristic fashion on Sunday morning as the visitors fell 4-3 in a shootout to King Henrik and the Rangers.
While the optics of a squandered two goal lead are not good, the game was a crap-shoot off the get-go and a little more or less puck luck on either side could have been the difference. Chances were plentiful and as far as I’m concerned, shootouts are almost always a coin-toss.
The most glaring criticisms might fall on the shoulders of Jacob Markstrom who allowed a bad-angle squeaker past him only seconds into the third period to draw the teams even. This goal was one of three in only 17 shots against. Gagner pulled the Canucks back in front a few minutes later, but some sloppy play in our own end led to New York pulling even yet again and forcing overtime – which solved nothing despite Vancouver owning most of the puck.
But let’s not dwell on the heartbreaking shootout and the extra point that slipped through our fingers like sand.
As far as positives are concerned, we saw three goals from three guys who are in redemption mode – Jake Virtanen, Loui Erickson, and Sam Gagner. With the red hot Nikolai Goldobin getting called up due to injuries to Brandon Sutter and Derek Dorsett, the three aforementioned “goal scorers” must be feeling a little pressure. Granted, Goldie didn’t see any ice outside of the warm-up, his presence should have a few full-timers a little nervous. Goldobin is producing at over a point per game pace in the AHL and is now rocking number 77… yeah, that’s a stud number, so watch out.
The final point I will make is about Jake Virtanen, who was arguably the best Canuck in this one. He was using his shot more than he typically does (5 SOG) and his goal was Boeser-esque as he fired a quick hard wrister over the glove or Lundqvist. The problem with Virtanen this season; however, has been consistency… Call me crazy, but I have a feeling we’re about to see the young stud turn a corner. To net a dandy gino like he did on Sunday may help provide the confidence boost he needs to keep letting the shots fly.
Shit, it’s been working for Brock, and I think Virtanen is taking note. Time will tell, but there’s no reason for pessimism these days with the growing list of promising young talent on the rise in Vancouver.