So instead of getting Mike Smith or Carter Hart, who gave away goals as a gift to the Canucks in Edmonton and Philadelphia, Vancouver instead had to face Thomas Greiss of the Detroit Red Wings.
Playing their third road game in four nights, less than 24 hours after beating the Philadelphia Flyers in a savage shootout, the Canucks outscored the Red Wings in the third period and outscored them 41-21 for the game but lost. 3-1 because Greiss was almost unbeatable.
Wonderfully entertaining and consistent in providing a mountain of talking points every time they play, the Canucks probably deserved more from the game and umpires Mitch Dunning and Brian Pochmara (see below).
But they had enough scoring opportunities to dictate the outcome and render unnecessary what the Wings or the officials were doing. The Canucks simply couldn’t finish on Greiss, and Vancouver’s special teams were beaten 1-0 by Detroit as Filip Zadina scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal on a power play in second period.
Outshot 23-6 in the third period, the Wings won with an empty net.
Welcome to hockey.
“No matter how many shots you think you got or how well you played, you don’t always get the win,” said Canucks captain Bo Horvat. “This is how you bounce, this is how you come and try to win the next one and put this one behind you.” “
The 1-1-1 Canucks get a day off Sunday and an equally important training day on Monday before continuing their road trip to the opening season of the National Hockey League on Tuesday in Buffalo.
The biggest event was neither a goal nor any of Greiss ‘saves, but a play at 11:05 of the third period when the Canucks’ Conor Garland, who is five-foot-eight, protected the puck with a backhand on Zadina. . , who reached out and was unprepared for the contact and banged his head against Garland’s lower back.
The clinical term for the Red Wing team’s reaction to the play was “Cuckoo for Coco Puffs”. With Zadina injured on the ice – a game after Detroit captain Dylan Larkin was tackled from behind by Tampa’s Mathieu Joseph – the Wings roster has invaded Garland.
Referees Dunning and Pochmara initially reported no penalties to Garland, but after the scrum decided the Canuck should be assessed a major penalty, allowing for a full review of the video. They watched Zadina’s movie as if it were Zapruder’s movie, then reduced Garland’s penalty to a minor for illegal head failure and, with two brutal miners in Detroit and one in Vancouver, the teams continued tied.
Given that Canucks coach Travis Green and Red Wings bench manager Jeff Blashill both yelled at the refs, we assume Pochmara and Dunning fairly judged the incident. It was what happened later that was dangerous.
Unsatisfied with the referees’ interpretation, the Wings spent most of the last nine minutes attacking Garland and leaving Greiss alone to deal with the other 19 Canucks.
Robbi Fabbri slashed Garland with impunity as the Red Wings’ Lucas Raymond was called in to hold, and at the start of another shift, Detroit’s Adam Erne appeared to punch the Canuck in the face as soon as the puck was dropped.
“I don’t know how that’s not a penalty,” Green, who rarely dabbles in refereeing in his post-game commentary, told reporters on Zoom.
Long ago, the NHL did away with the odd notion of players controlling themselves and took control of all matters of conduct and discipline. It’s the referees’ job to protect the players, and they’ve clearly put Garland at risk. Zadina went to the locker room but finished the match.
Even before the dusting of Detroit, Garland was at the center of it all. He scored the Canucks’ lone goal, beating Greiss from a sharp angle to tie 1-1 at 4:56 of the second period. Garland has come for miles, most apparently on an outing against Danny DeKeyser, who has been circled so many times by the puck-carrying Canuck that the Wings defenseman may have sought to pin a tail on a donkey. . And Garland was physically engaged, even intervening on behalf of teammate Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who was maimed by heavyweight Givani Smith after the Canuck knocked down Nick Leddy in the first period.
“It’s a big part of his game; he’s a competitive guy, ”Green said of Garland. “The competitive guys go to tough places and they get involved around the puck and do whatever it takes to win. You can’t have enough ultra-competitive gamers, and that’s what we’re looking for in gamers.
For the record, Garland’s description of his hit on Zadina included this: “I kind of braked trying to create space. I know there is a guy behind me. He skated behind my back. I caught the puck, I stopped, and like I said, I got a penalty for a blow to the head.
Of the retaliation he faced in his only three shifts that followed, Garland said, “They thought it was a bad move or whatever, you want to defend your teammates. It’s like that. This is what happens. I was hit like that and my team went after someone. Someone on our team got hit like this, I’m sure we would expect the same.
It’s become a cliché – the chance for new teammates to bond as they start the season on the road – but the Canucks look like a closer, more cohesive group after their three games in four nights, including back-to-back games. in hostile environments.
“Everyone was supporting each other tonight,” Horvat said. “Regardless of the costs, we will support each other during the game and I think we did a good job tonight. Obviously, things heated up in the third, and we kept our feet on the ground. Again, we have to find ways to put the puck in the net to get these wins.
PK NOT OK
It was an issue even before training camp, became a bigger issue with Tyler Motte injured and neither Brandon Sutter nor Travis Hamonic appearing for the preseason, and could soon reach a crisis point. The Canucks must find a way to eliminate the penalties or find one or two other players who can.
All in all, the squad have been pretty impressive in nine periods, two overtime and two shootouts. But the Canucks started the season allowing three power play goals out of seven disadvantages. This followed a seven-game preseason in which they had gone just 22 for 32 on the shorthand – a win rate of .688.
The Canucks’ discipline in the first week of the season has been excellent, but their penalty kill rate is unsustainable.