Canucks Weekly Fares: Week 7 Recap

By: Brayden Fengler / November 27, 2023  

Game 19: November 20th vs. The San Jose Sharks

The Vancouver Canucks faced off against the San Jose Sharks for the second time this season on Monday night. For Vancouver, the expectation going into this game was that it should be an easy victory for the club, as their last meeting with the Sharks of course ended in a lopsided 10-1 victory.

After a brief brush with royalty, the game got underway, with the Canucks predictably taking control of pace and possession in the early minutes of the initial frame.

The Sharks didn’t register a single shot until over six minutes into the first period, and even when they did, their first shot was a chance sharp angle shot by a solo shark while the rest of his team was changing lines.

Noah Juulsen impressed with a solid defensive play off of a rare potentially dangerous offensive breakout by the Sharks. However beyond this highlight in the second half of the period, the rest of the clock ticked down without any further development from both teams. By this time during these two teams’ last meeting, the Canucks had already netted four goals.

Nearly a quarter of the way into the second period and the Canucks were sitting with a comfy shot differential of 14 to 7, yet unfortunately had nothing to show for it in the way of goals. Around this time, off the back of some San Jose puck luck, Givani Smith was left all alone with possession in front of the Canucks end, forcing Thatcher Demko to stretch out his big toe and make an impressive save that kept the game knotted at zeros.

It was looking like this may be one of those games where the team that dominates play can’t get one to go, and the team with half as many shots on net, gets lucky with a few garbage goals.

In keeping with that feeling the Sharks did net the game’s first goal. However, it ended up being overturned due to goaltender interference against Thatcher Demko. With this break, the tides soon turned for the Canucks overall.

Quinn Hughes, in what can only be described as an addition to his Norris Trophy highlight reel, did it all himself and walked in from the blue line off the back of zone possession by the Canucks, to net the team their first goal of the game.

The Canucks saw a minor setback minutes later as very uncharacteristically Nils Höglander, in frustration with Mike Hoffman, fairly blatantly slew-footed the player while battling for the puck. Nils was assed a match penalty for this, and as a result, his team had to play without him for the rest of the contest.

Another break came in the dying seconds for the Canucks. As the Sharks sent a muffin of a pass up the middle of the ice while in their own zone, allowing Canucks Teddy Blueger to walk right up Main Street and secure his team a two-goal lead heading into the third.

Early in the third, the Sharks did earn their first of the game on the power play. It was clear at this point that although the Canucks were controlling possession and held the lead, this contest look to be far from the blowout that was their last meeting with the Sharks.

The Canucks did answer back before the halfway mark of the third period as J.T. Miller scored the Canucks third goal of the game, much to the delight of Meghan Markle as it seemed.

This was the last goal of the game, and despite a few key chances for the Sharks towards the end, and the fact that the Sharks did get 27 shots on goal overall, the results of this game felt inventable from the jump.

Game 20: November 22nd vs. The Colorado Avalanche

It’s Hughes. It’s Makar. It’s the Norris Bowl.

On Wednesday night, the Canucks and the Colorado Avalanche squared up for a heavy-weight bought of two of the best teams in the west. Headlining the battle were Hughes and Makar, both trying to prove they were the best defenceman in the league.

Over 16 minutes of high-octane back-and-forth hockey, Nils Höglander opened the scoring. Beauvillier and Lafferty worked the puck off the boards and Beauvillier had a chance on net. Nils was ready to collect any rebound there might be as he floated through the crease, sure enough, he was able to get a backhand chance off, which went off the post, and he collected that puck and put it in the net.

That goal was Höglander’s third goal and fourth point in four games, all while being the low-minute man for the Canucks.

The Avs wouldn’t go quietly into the first intermission however quickly responding with a goal of their own. Nichushkin made no mistake putting home a pass that came right through the blue paint. The Avs scored a second in the final minutes of the fame when Cale Makar let a slapshot go from the point and Jonathan Drouin redirected the shot for his second goal of the season.

Makar was the first on the board tonight in his battle against Hughes.

Entering the second period there was flow, there was pace and there was exciting hockey. Unfortunately, the refs wanted none of it. There were six two-minute minors, a ten-minute misconduct and a five-minute major all assessed in the second period. Any flow that may have carried through into the second was dead on arrival once the punishments were handed out.

JT Miller opened the frame’s production with a power move to the middle and scored a highlight reel goal that gave us all butterflies.

With this goal, Hughes scores to match Makar’s point total on the night. Just in case anyone was counting. The rest of the period passed without any more goals. In all situations, the Canucks had the edge in the fancy stats, and this game was tied a twos to end the period.

The first goal of the third period came from Riley Tufte less than a minute and a half into the final 20 minutes. This would foreshadow what was to come in the rest of the period.

At 12:38 into the period Cale Makar put the Norris Bowl on ice for the night. Makar stripped the puck from JT Miller in the Avs zone and skated up the ice on a breakaway scoring unassisted to bring the game to 4-2.

Not a bad way for Makar to defend his title as the best defenceman in the NHL. You also can’t really fault JT Miller too much for that goal due to Makar’s impressive demonstration. When you play against the best players in the world, sometimes the best players do things that are just unfair.

Rick Tocchet pulled Thatcher Demko with four minutes left in the game to try and rally his team back, and with this, the Canucks had a few chances to score, but unfortunately, nothing went in. The game was officially put to rest when Miko Rantanen scored on the empty net.

The game was much closer than a 5-2 scoreline implies, but moral victories aren’t something we are looking to collect this year, the Canucks want real victories, and they didn’t get one on Wednesday night. However, it’s good to know that moving forward, the Canucks can truly hang with the heavyweights in the division.

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Game 21: November 24th vs. The Seattle Kraken

The Canucks faced off against the Seattle Kraken for the second time so far this season, with this second match-up coming nearly a week to the day that the two teams met for the first time. Andrei Kuzmenko would be a scratch for the first time this season due to some poor play in recent games.

The Canucks showed good pressure early on, with a well-timed breakout chance organized by Anthony Beauvillier and Brock Boeser. Shortly after the game got underway, however, newly certified goon Nils Höglander earned himself a penalty for holding on the Kraken’s Tye Kartye. Thankfully for the Canucks however, nothing would come from this early man advantage for Seattle.

The Cancuks were hungry during Seattle’s powerplay. Vancouver put up two breakaway attempts while shorthanded. The first came from Dakota Joshua, which unfortunately did not result in a goal. Moments later the second chance came from Beauvillier who made no mistake and put the Canucks up 1-0.

The Kraken didn’t take long to answer back, as the Canucks gifted them another powerplay opportunity thanks to JT Miller, and this time the Kraken would score… or so they thought, as after a coach’s challenge the goal was called back for being offside.

Seattle had the bulk of chances during the second half of the first period, in large part thanks to a Tyler Myers double minor at the halfway mark of the period. But after all was said and done the Canucks kept their lead heading into the second frame. The Kraken left the period without a goal but definitely kept Höglander’s number after the massive hit he delivered on Tanev at the end of the period.

The first half of the second period saw no production from either time, in fact, it took the Canucks over ten minutes, 11:30 to be exact in order to even get their first shot on net of the period. Despite earning few opportunities at the start of the second frame Vancouver was ultimately the team that would score next.

Dakota Joshua, who had been in the right place at the right time for most of this game, found that paying off as he capitalized off a rebounded puck left in front of the Kraken net during continued Canucks pressure.

The Kraken finally earned their first of the game just as the second period was winding down. Seattle’s Tye Kartye slipped a wrist shot from the slot past Thatcher Demko thanks to a brick wall of a screen by Canucks Ian Cole.

Despite the Kraken earning the last laugh in the second period the Canucks entered the final frame still up by one. Similar to the start of the second period, production in the final frame didn’t pick up for either side until the halfway mark.

At 10:17, off of a clean Canucks face-off win, Elias Pettersson sent the puck back to Quinn Hughes who in turn delivered it to his linemate Philip Hronek who sent a laser to the net that was tipped by Sam Lafferty. Lafferty taking full advantage of his new top-line deployment deflected the puck into the net, making the score 3-1 Canucks with half the frame to go.

Minutes later a two-on-one rush by the Canucks spearheaded by Nils Höglander put the Canucks in a position to further their lead. Höglander brilliantly evaluated his passing options, and when he determined the best option was to shoot, he riffled a wrist shot past Joey Daccord, to firmly put the game out of reach for Seattle.

With minutes to go, off of Canucks pressure in the Seattle end, a true team effort goal was put on the board by Ilya Mikheyev. This was largely thanks to clinical passing by Conor Garland and Tyler Myers, and the Canucks as a whole who made Seattle pay for even the slightest blunders in their own end.

The game would end 5-1 Canucks, a score that one might typically suspect might be inflated by one or two empty net goals. However in this case every goal was earned by the Canucks the hard way, a way that they made look not so hard after all.

Game 22: November 25th vs. The San Jose Sharks

On Saturday night the Canucks geared up to take on the San Jose Sharks for the third time this season. The lineup would remain the same as the previous game against the Seattle Kraken with the exception of Casey DeSmith. This also means that Andrei Kuzmenko will be a scratch for the second time in as many games.

It’s hard to argue with scratching Kuzmenko after the results of the previous game, but it’s never easy to see a star, first-line player scratched in back-to-back games.

Nils Höglander enters this game leading the NHL in goals per 60 minutes as per Natural Stat Trick (minimum 10 games played). Which as we know is just fancy talk for “he’s on fire”. Höglander is looking to continue his five-game point streak (four goals, one assist).

The first goal of the game came off the stick of Sam Lafferty. However, the early excitement would be taken away after the goal was called back due to goaltender interference. Lafferty’s skate regrettably clipped the goaltender right before the goal was scored.

The first real goal of the game, and the first of this player’s career, came from Ty Emberson. Emberson scored with a shot from the blue line at the ten-minute mark to give the Sharks their first lead of the game.

Defender scoring was a theme early as the next goal of the game came on the power play from Hronek. The Canucks were running two defencemen on the power play with Kuzmenko out of the line-up. Hughes fed a hard pass to Miller, who one-timed the pass to Hronek who then one-timed the puck on net for his second goal of the game.

The first 15 minutes of the period were slow and uneventful but just as a Canuck power play came to an end, Fabian Zetterlund scored his fifth goal of the season with a one-timer in the slot.

In the final minute of the second period, Brock Boeser scored his 14th goal of the season on the power play. The Canucks had been moving the puck around the offensive zone very well before Boeser was able to finally put home a rebound.

Hronek now has a goal and an assist on the power play in this game, despite the conservative approach of having two defenders on the first unit.

The third period started more eventful than the first and second periods did. Mikael Granlund opened the scoring to put the Sharks up 3-2. Shortly after Mike Hoffman scored a power-play goal. Both goals came inside the first two minutes of the start of the frame.

Pettersson tried to get his team going again when he threw a big hit on Addison. Immediately following this, Benning ran Pettersson from behind and Sam Lafferty immediately went after Benning. This caused everyone to grab a dance partner. Ultimately no real fights came of the scrums, but a lot was certainly said between players.

Brock Boeser hit the 15-goal mark to bring the game to 4-3. With an exciting final push, the Canucks nearly tied the game multiple times, but no closer a chance came than Miller’s miss high.

The Canucks couldn’t get the final goal and lost to the Sharks for the first time in 12 head-to-head matchups.