It was a milestone night for a few Canucks on Monday night, as they beat the lowly Colorado Avalanche 3-2. It was a close contest between two lowly teams, unless you’re considering putting Canucks and playoffs in the same sentence.
The Canucks are back to .500 for the first time since early November, as they won their fourth straight game in a row. The Avalanche on the other hand, lost their fourth game in a row. They are now only one point out of the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference thanks to their recent run. The Canucks are showing signs of regressing down and barely held on to beat the worst team in the NHL right now.
#Canucks have 4W streak. Last 5W streak was part of a 7-gamer under Torts
— Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff) January 3, 2017
Still, the Canucks are finding ways to win. Their power play started to find its groove as the game went on. They still sat back too much in the third period and coughed up a 2-1 lead before winning the game on a power play winner from Sven Baertschi. The Swiss winger now has 11 points in his last ten games since sitting as a healthy scratch.
With Daniel Sedin’s primary assist on Baertschi’s game winner, he registered the 600 assist of his NHL career. Both he and his brother are inching closer towards the 1,000 point plateau. Daniel is still 35 points back, but with two assists, Henrik pulled within four points of 1,000. Ryan Miller also recorded his 350 career victory, making some big saves late to hold on for the win.
It was a pretty slow-moving first period between the Canucks and the Avalanche. It was a period you might expect to see from two bottom-dwellers. Both teams looked like they were still hungover from New Years.
The Canucks/Avs game is so bad that GCL keeps crashing while trying to load it.
— . (@mikeFAIL) January 3, 2017
The shots on goal through one period were a 6-6 tie, although the Avalanche had seven shot blocks compared to one for Vancouver late in the first period. Gabriel Landeskog also hit a post after Henrik Sedin turned the puck over in his own end.
getting a shot on net has never looked so hard
— Jason Botchford (@botchford) January 3, 2017
The best shift of the period came from the line of Brendan Gaunce, Michael Chaput and Jack Skille. Skille looked especially determined to score against the team who cut him loose last season. Gaunce and Chaput are both still looking for their first goals of the season, despite playing a combined 59 games. The fact that this line had the most dominant shift of the period tells you exactly what the first 20 minutes of this game was like.
Both teams must have recovered from their early hangovers after 20 minutes, as the pace got better in the second period. The Canucks hottest player, Bo Horvat, opened up the scoring with a beautiful wrist shot upstairs past Calvin Pickard. Anton Rodin picked up his first career NHL point on the goal with a secondary assist.
Goals off of beautiful wrist shots were a common theme in the period. On a Colorado power play, the Avalanche dominated after Alex Edler broke his stick. Mikko Rantanen was able to roof one past Ryan Miller on a wrist shot even more impressive than Horvat’s. With seemingly no room, Rantanen found a small gap above Miller’s shoulder as he tied the game up at one.
alex edler: "new year, new me"
alex edler: *breaks stick*
— Matthew Henderson (@mhenderson95) January 3, 2017
The Canucks, who had a couple brutal power plays in the game, looked dominant with a late power play in the period. Their first unit spent the entire two minutes in the Colorado zone, but they were unable to score with the man advantage. However, they kept control of the puck after the game returned to five on five, and Sven Baertschi was able to finish off a feed from Brandon Sutter, giving the Canucks the advantage going into the break with another beautiful wrist shot.
The Canucks entered the third period with the lead for only the ninth time this season. When the Avalanche enter the third period while trailing, they have two wins and 18 regulation losses. See where this is going?
The home team was lethargic to begin the opening frame, sitting back and letting Colorado apply some pressure, however, it was Brandon Sutter who put the home team up by two goals midway through the frame.
Except that, the puck never crossed the line.
The play stopped dead despite the fact that the puck never crossed the line. With the two goal lead returning back to one, the Avalanche went to work. Victoria native Tyson Barrie would throw the puck passed a screen Miller to tie the game up at 2-2. Colorado would try their best to give the lead back to Vancouver by giving up a two-on-one. Thankfully, it was an odd man rush to Chaput and Skille, so the game remained tied.
Still, Colorado was on a mission to give the lead back to Vancouver. Cody Goloubef decided to take matters into his own hands by shooting the puck over the glass to put Vancouver back on the power play. Baertschi would go on to score, giving Vancouver the 3-2 lead. Although Loui Eriksson made a brutal pass and gave Landeskog a glorious chance to tie the game, Miller shut the door and the Canucks hung on to win their fourth straight.
Bo Horvat (11) assisted by Ben Hutton (7) and Anton Rodin (1)
Mikko Rantanen (6) PP assisted by Nikita Zadorov (6)
Sven Baertschi (9) assisted by Brandon Sutter (10) and Henrik Sedin (16)
Tyson Barrie (3) assisted by Francois Beauchemin (8), Gabriel Landeskog (6)
Sven Baertschi 2 (10) PP assisted by Daniel Sedin (13) and Henrik Sedin (17)
THW Three Stars
1) Sven Baertschi (2 goals, GWG)
2) Bo Horvat (1 goal, 2 shots)
3) Mikko Rantanen (1 goal, 18:48 TOI)
Colorado Avalanche at Calgary Flames
Scotiabank Saddledome, 8:00 p.m. MST on January 4
Broadcast Channels: SNW, ALT
Arizona Coyotes at Vancouver Canucks
Rogers Arena, 7:00 p.m. PST on January 4
Broadcast Channels: SNP, FS-A
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.