With their fifth win in a row, the Vancouver Canucks continued their improbable playoff push with a victory on Wednesday night. It was yet another night where the Sedins didn’t have to carry the load offensively.
That responsibility went to Sven Baertschi and Bo Horvat. The two young forwards led the way for Vancouver once again with one goal each in the contest. They’ve been the Canucks’ best players over their last 10 games, and are two catalysts behind the Canucks playoff push.
More importantly, Horvat made some kid’s night after scoring a beauty in the third period.
— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) January 5, 2017
Hot Dog Horvat. Scoring goals, winning games, making kids smile. What’s not to love?
The Canucks registered their first shutout of the season with Ryan Miller between the pipes. He has been on a tear lately, with wins in his last four games. Mr. Underappreciated in Vancouver has been rock solid between the pipes lately.
Not to take anything away from the Canucks’ victory, but the Coyotes sure look like a team that has mailed its season in. They looked slow and lethargic, especially in the second period where they registered only two shots. Their loss against the Canucks was their eighth in a row.
When you’re hot, you’re hot. In Baertschi’s case, he’s sizzling.
The Swiss winger put the Canucks on the board in the first period, displaying a complete 200-foot game on his shift. Baertschi prevented a scoring opportunity in his own end and moved the puck up the ice. Kevin Connauton ended up with it in his own zone, right before coughing it up to Baertschi in the slot. Baertschi made no mistake, burying the shot to score his 11th goal of the season.
The fourth line of Brendan Gaunce, Michael Chaput, and Jack Skille must be feeling the heat with the presence of Anton Rodin and recent waiver pickup Reid Boucher. They had a couple of promising shifts in the first period, but couldn’t display any kind of finish. Chaput made a brutal pass to Ben Hutton on a three-on-one, which resulted in nothing. A pat on the back for a good effort, but the long leash for these players should be tightened.
One player who isn’t playing for his job is Jayson Megna. This is his fifth game with the Sedins, but he’s still pointless on that line and hasn’t shown much promise. Maybe the win streak has Willie seeing things through rose-coloured glasses?
With Bo & Sven rolling, the Canucks would be more entertaining if Willie would stop tying a boat anchor to the Sedins
— Satiar Shah (@SatiarShah) January 5, 2017
In the great words of John Shorthouse: “It’s been a rather uneventful period.”
He said this about halfway through the second, and his statement held true throughout the rest of the period.
It’s periods like this that make you wonder, how can the Canucks be a playoff team? The correct answer is that they aren’t a true playoff contender. They couldn’t sustain much pressure, even against a mediocre opponent.
On the other hand, some might say that the Canucks played within their defensive structure to a tee in the second period. They held the Coyotes to just two shots, looking like the old New Jersey Devils with Scott Stevens and Scott Niedermayer on the back end. If Willie is still looking through his rose-coloured glasses, Nikita Tryamkin and Troy Stecher probably fit that mold.
The referees seemingly thought this game was a little boring as well, so one of the zebras decided to call a penalty shot after Luke Schenn hooked Brandon Sutter. It was a borderline call considering that Sutter wasn’t on a clear cut breakaway, although Schenn clearly hooked him.
On his first career penalty shot, Sutter swung wide and came across the crease, putting his shot past Smith on the backhand. Sutter’s goal was his 10th of the season. Despite all of his critics, he is on pace for 20 goals, providing adequate secondary scoring.
One player who doesn’t have many critics is Horvat. He continued his hot streak in the third period with a fantastic goal. After once being criticized for his skating ability, that’s clearly no longer an issue. Horvat put on the jets and blew past Connor Murphy for a breakaway. He went forehand, backhand, and put it right past Smith. Thus, Hot Dog Horvat was born.
🚨 = 🐶!!! pic.twitter.com/B1GWQiLWbp
— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) January 5, 2017
The Coyotes seemed to awake from their slumber on a late power play, as Radim Vrbata hit the post, while Miller made a good save in close on Brendan Perlini. Miller hung on for the shutout as the Canucks won 3-0.
Sven Baertschi (11) unassisted
Brandon Sutter (10) (penalty shot)
Bo Horvat (12) assisted by Alex Burrows (9) and Chris Tanev (4)
THW Three Stars
1) Ryan Miller (22 saves, shutout)
2) Bo Horvat (goal)
3) Sven Baertschi (game-winning goal)
Arizona Coyotes at Anaheim Ducks
Friday, Jan.6, Honda Center, 8:00 p.m. MST
Broadcast Channels: FS-W, FS-A
Calgary Flames at Vancouver Canucks
Friday, Jan. 6, Rogers Arena, 7:00 p.m. PST
Broadcast Channels: SNP, SNW
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.