After suffering back to back 4-1 losses, the Vancouver Canucks were looking to get back on track against the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday night. They came out flying early and grabbed a 2-0 lead after 21 minutes of hockey. However, it was Ryan Miller the rest of the way for Vancouver, as he stopped 36 of 37 shots in a 2-1 Vancouver win.
The Kings played their typical brand of hockey, with lots of physicality, neutral zone turnovers, and pucks being directed towards the net. However, they didn’t get a whole lot of spectacular chances against Miller. Despite all of the shots they gave up, the Canucks managed to limit the amount of scoring chances from the Kings.
Alex Edler returned to the lineup, and he played well on a pairing with Troy Stecher. Those two were the only positive possession players for the Canucks in the game, which isn’t surprising considering that they were outshot 37-20, and 31-8 in the last two periods.
The Canucks rebounded from their last game with a strong effort in the first period. They registered 12 shots in the period, just two fewer than the 14 shots they had against Calgary.
Coming into this game, the Canucks had the second-worst power play in the league, while the Kings had killed off 26 straight penalties dating back to Dec. 4. Loui Eriksson broke the Kings’ streak by putting home the game first goal on the power play. He took the puck from the end boards before walking right out in front of Peter Budaj and snapping it home. Eriksson’s goal was his first since Nov. 29 against Minnesota.
The Canucks had some good looks on three separate power plays in the period. Bo Horvat’s shot was tipped by Jayson Megna off of the crossbar, while Sven Baertschi was absolutely robbed by Budaj after a cross-ice pass from Daniel Sedin.
The Canucks had a frantic start to the second period, as Henrik Sedin tipped in a shot from shortly after to make the game 2-0. Less than two minutes later, Sven Baertschi tipped in a shot from Nikita Tryamkin, but the goal was waved off because the referee believed that Tryamkin lost the puck outside of the blue line. It was a close call, but upon review, it looks like Tryamkin was able to keep the puck in despite the referee’s call.
The Kings played their brand of hockey for most of the second period. They limited the amount of chances in their own end, they forced turnovers in the neutral zone, and they directed pucks towards the net. It’s easy to see why they are always one of the best possession teams in the league. Anze Kopitar came awfully close to busting his goalless drought, but Miller stymied his rebound attempt late in the period.
The Kings continued to show their dominance throughout the third period, as the Canucks sat back and played on the conservative side. They were able to limit most grade-A scoring chances from the Kings despite all of the shots they gave up. The Kings would close the gap when Tanner Pearson’s shot deflected off of Alex Burrows stick and over the shoulder of Miller to make it 2-1.
Despite some late chances, Miller was able to stop 36 of 37 shots and hold on to get the 2-1 win for the Canucks. It probably wasn’t the 60 minutes the home team was looking for, but they managed to take away two points from Los Angeles, who wrap up their season-long nine-game road trip against the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday.
Loui Eriksson (7) (PP) assisted by Bo Horvat (12) and Ben Hutton (5)
Henrik Sedin (8) assisted by Troy Stecher (9)
Tanner Pearson (8) assisted by Jeff Carter (11)
THW Three Stars
1) Ryan Miller (.973 save percentage)
2) Tanner Pearson (goal, 68.7 Corsi-for %)
3) Drew Doughty (29:23 total ice time)
Anaheim Ducks at Vancouver Canucks
Rogers Arena – 7:00 p.m. PST on Friday, Dec. 30
Broadcast channels: SNP, FS-W
2016-17 Season Series: Oct. 23 – Vancouver Canucks 2 – Anaheim Ducks 4; Dec. 1 – Anaheim Ducks 3 – Vancouver Canucks 1
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.