The road-tripping Canucks fell 5-2 on Tuesday to John Tavares and the red-hot New York Islanders in a tilt where the visiting Vancouver squad looked a day late and a buck short.
Anders Nilsson allowed 5 goals on 36 shots as an early shorthanded marker by BC boy, Andrew Ladd seemed to knock the young Canucks a little off kilter for the remainder of the contest. After Tomas Vanek (who is tempting me daily in my hockey pool) drew the teams even on the same powerplay for his 6th goal and 17th point of the season – but two quick goals for New York to end the period proved to be nails in the coffin for a slower-than-advertised Vancouver side.
Travis Green attributed the team’s sluggish play -in part- to fatigue, which, surely contributed to their defensive woes after what has been an arduous East-coast travel schedule.
Bright spots for Vancouver were sparse; however, the tenacity of Bo Horvat on a game-to-game basis has cemented him as the future captain of this team – last night was no exception. His lead-by-example approach has set the bar high for the rest of the team, and he’s still only 22 years old. Bo scored a shorthanded goal half way through the second to reduce the deficit by two – but it proved fruitless in an uneventful third period.
Looking ahead, Vancouver faces off against Nashville on Thursday night, which is no picnic for visiting teams. Nikolai Goldobin, who has been travelling with the team and watching from the press box, may finally get his shot against the Preds. I sincerely hope the young Russian gets a good look with some decent line-mates before he goes the way of Tryamkin and disappears back to the motherland for a lack of opportunity here.
Kid’s got scoring chops and has been a consistent producer in Utica. This whole concept of “keeping players honest” by giving prospects the opportunity to earn a roster spot only works when the coach grants them that opportunity. Let’s hope Travis Green decides to roll the dice on him soon.