Jannik Hansen was a late scratch for the Canucks. By the third period, the Canucks had announced they’d traded Hansen to the San Jose Sharks for Nikolay Goldobin and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2017.
The Red Wings scratched Steve Ott right before puck drop, and he ended up being traded to the Montreal Canadiens for a conditional sixth-round pick in 2018. While Ott was only in Detroit for 42 games, Hansen spent the better part of 10 seasons in Vancouver. The Canucks will miss the veteran leadership provided by Alex Burrows and Hansen, but the fans know this needed to be done. Snagging Goldobin is yet another solid return for Canucks GM Jim Benning.
Henrik on facing Hansen on Thursday – "It's going to be really tough. We'll recognize his voice, that's for sure." #Canucks
— Irfaan Gaffar (@irfgaffar) March 1, 2017
“It’s definitely sad right now, saying goodbye to all my friends,” said Hansen after the game. “There’s a big leadership void in the dressing room, and someone will have to step up.”
— Dan Murphy (@sportsnetmurph) March 1, 2017
As for the game on Tuesday night, it was a close matchup between two struggling sellers. Both teams had their moments, with veterans such as Henrik Zetterberg, Frans Nielsen and the Sedin twins cracking the scoresheet. The Red Wings ended up pulling out the victory after a Brandon Sutter penalty in overtime sealed the Canucks’ fate.
This game between two struggling teams was asking for a breakthrough player. That player was Nielsen early on.
Nielsen snapped a perfect shot post-and-in past Ryan Miller, less than five minutes into the game. Later, the Red Wings’ woeful 7% road power play went to work. Nielsen ended up with the puck in the slot and fired home his second goal of the game, up in the top right-hand corner of the net.
— Detroit Red Wings (@redwingspress) March 1, 2017
The Red Wings had some dominant shifts in the period against the Canucks AHL-heavy lineup. With players such as Borna Rendulic, Alex Grenier, Joseph LaBate, Brendan Gaunce and Jayson Megna rounding out the bottom six, there were some adventurous shifts. Turnovers led to chances for the Red Wings, but only Nielsen was able to beat Miller.
suddenly 65 points doesn't seem so hilarious
— Jason Botchford (@botchford) March 1, 2017
The battle of sellers went in favour of the home side in the second frame. Markus Granlund continues to impress on a line with the Sedins, and he potted his 16th goal of the season. Both twins assisted on the goal. With Alex Burrows and Jannik Hansen leaving town, the spot alongside the Twins is Granlund’s to grab for the foreseeable future.
On some nights, Bo Horvat looks like the only Canuck worth the price of admission. He just does things most on this team could only dream about. Although he doesn’t throw his body around, his strength is underrated. On a couple of occasions, he managed to force a turnover in the offensive zone. He would follow that up by muscling the puck to the net. He looked bound for a goal in the third period.
It wasn’t a great period for the Red Wings, but Nielsen had a glourious chance to pick up a hat trick. Ben Hutton lost the puck in his own zone, and Nielsen went in all alone on Miller. The Canucks netminder managed to shut the door, but the nightmare season continues for Hutton.
The Canucks desperately needed one of their young guys to step up in the third period. That man ended up being Reid Boucher. He earned a nice little promotion onto Horvat’s line with Loui Eriksson, and got some good looks in the game. He ended up tying the game a 2-2 with a nice move out front of Petr Mrazek.
Both teams had great chances to win it late. The Boucher, Horvat and Eriksson line almost buried one with a mad scramble in front of the net, while Mike Green forced Miller to make a great save with five seconds left. Both Mrazek and Miller made some key saves to force overtime.
It’s worth noting that Brendan Gaunce had a solid game for the Canucks. With so many holes in their lineup, Gaunce was playing a veteran role in the bottom six. He looked determined to score his first goal of the season and had three good shots in the game.
Brandon Sutter was an overtime hero for the Canucks earlier in the season. In this overtime, he did his team no favours. Sutter took a lazy interference call by pushing Mike Green offside even though he didn’t have the puck. It was the kind of penalty you hate to see your player take as a coach, especially in overtime.
Miller calmly made a good glove save early on in the power play, and the Canucks were able to clear the puck twice. However, they got some late pressure from the unit of Zetterberg, Nielsen, Justin Abdelkader and Niklas Kronwall. With a beautiful saucer pass, Zetterberg set up Abdelkader for the game-winning goal. With the game over, both teams have the odd feeling of going back to the dressing room, just to find out that their teammate has been traded.
Frans Nielsen (12) assisted by Andreas Athanasiou (7) and Xavier Ouellet (9)
Frans Nielsen 2 (13) PPG assisted by Henrik Zetterberg (33)
Markus Granlund (16) assisted by Daniel Sedin (23) and Henrik Sedin (26)
Reid Boucher (2) unassisted
Justin Abdelkader (5) PPG assisted by Henrik Zetterberg (34) and Niklas Kronwall (8)
THW THREE STARS
1. Frans Nielsen (2 goals)
2. Henrik Zetterberg (2 assists)
3. Bo Horvat (4 shots, 22:06 TOI)
Detroit Red Wings at Calgary Flames
Friday, March 3, Scotiabank Saddledome, 9:00 p.m. EST
Broadcast Channels: SNW, FS-D
2016-17 Season Series: Flames lead 1-0
Vancouver Canucks at San Jose Sharks
Thursday, March 2, SAP Center, 7:30 p.m. PST
Broadcast Channels: CSN-CA, SNP
2016-17 Season Series: Sharks lead 2-0
KPU Journalism Graduate. Trevor has been writing for The Hockey Writers since October 2014. He has contributed articles related to the Ottawa Senators, Vancouver Canucks, and other issues/stories regarding the game of hockey. Trevor currently lives in White Rock, B.C.