IWTG: Canucks can't crack John Gibson, succumb to Ducks in overtime

Pass it to Bulis

Never mind the game, is Quinn Hughes okay?

With five minutes remaining in the first period, Hughes went down to the ice on what looked like a pretty routine play. He wasn’t tripped or hit by anyone, but fell as he was pivoting to defend an Anaheim Ducks rush.

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The first sign that it was a cause for concern was that the referees blew the play dead immediately. Clearly they saw something go wrong and quickly stopped play so Hughes could get medical attention.

The replay showed why: as Hughes was pivoting on his left skate, his right knee collided with the back of his left heel, causing it to twist violently as the toe of his left skate dug into the ice. It was an ugly moment that caused Canucks nation’s hearts to collectively sink. Hughes has been an essential part of the Canucks’ strong start in October and if he’s out for any extended period of time, that will make November that much harder.

According to Canucks GM Jim Benning, however, the initial assessment of Hughes looked positive, even though he didn’t return to the game. There’s even a possibility that he might play in Saturday’s game against the San Jose Sharks, but they should be cautious.

My general rule of thumb with these soft-tissue injuries is wait and check for pain and swelling in the morning. That’s just my experience — not a doctor — but the prolonged inactivity caused by, y’know, sleeping, tends to cause the joints to stiffen, swell, and hurt. All I’m saying is that the Canucks should be careful with Hughes, because they can’t afford to rush him back into action and risk further injury if, like My Chemical Romance, he’s not okay.

After all, Benning doesn’t exactly have the greatest track record when it comes to assessing injuries

Hopefully Hughes will be fine, as he’s a player the Canucks can’t afford to lose, which was demonstrated by the rest of the game against the Ducks, which rudely continued even after he left. I guess I’m part of the problem, because I watched this game.

  • I’m not going to post a gif or video of Hughes’ injury, because they showed enough replays during the game itself, like he was Jared Schleff, and you can find video easily enough with a quick google search. I just don’t feel the need to show it again, mainly because I don’t really want to see it again and maybe you feel the same way. Watching and rewatching gruesome injuries just isn’t for me.
  • The Canucks spent the first half of this game utterly dominating the Ducks, but couldn’t buy a goal because John Gibson simply wasn’t selling. Through the first 27 minutes, the Canucks out-shot the Ducks 27-to-7. They were on-pace for 60 shots and zero goals. 
  • In the past, the Canucks have made some bad goaltenders look like the best goaltender in the world, like a misleading Tinder photo. The Canucks are the Facetune of hockey teams. At least this time, they made the best goaltender in the world look like the best goaltender in the world. Gibson is ridiculous, knowing exactly when to be aggressive and when to sit back in his crease, with incredible athleticism to match his flawless technique.
  • Brandon Sutter had a strong game and got one of the Canucks’ best chances early in the game, plowing his way through to the net while surrounded by three Ducks. Gibson got a toe on Sutter’s final effort on net, however, making his efforts all for nought. Personally, I prefer that my efforts are all for nougat. It’s delicious.
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  • To make it doubly aggravating, the Ducks opened the scoring as far against the flow as you can get: with a shorthanded goal. Rikard Rakell broke out shorthanded, but Hughes cut him off at the Canucks blue line. The puck was knocked off Hughes’ stick, but J.T. Miller was back, so it shouldn’t have amounted to anything. Instead, Miller missed the puck with his stick as he swooped past, so Jakob Silfverberg was able to go in alone and roof the puck into the top corner.
  • Without Hughes, the Canucks’ power play looked completely out-of-sorts, a far cry from their 4-for-6 performance in their previous game. In their two third period power plays, the Canucks didn’t manage a single shot on goal and had just two shot attempts. The biggest issue was the breakout: they couldn’t move the puck through the neutral zone and into the offensive zone. I haven’t seen someone struggle with breakouts like that since I looked at my face in the mirror while I was going through puberty.
  • Halfway through the game, it took a turn. After the Canucks were up 27-7 on the shot clock, the Ducks out-shot the Canucks 22-13 for the rest of the game. That’s when Jacob Markstrom stepped up in a big way, keeping the Canucks within one with some enormous saves, none bigger than his fantastic glove stop on Adam Henrique. He flashed the leather like a photographer for a saddle catalogue.
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  • A pair of skate saves on Nick Ritchie in the final minute of the second period kept the score 1-1. Chris Tanev got things started, kicking out his left skate in the crease to rob Ritchie. Seconds later, Tyler Myers boofed a backcheck, allowing Ritchie to get another glorious chance, but Markstrom stacked the pads in desperation and barely got the blade of his skate on the puck.
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  • In an interesting development, Adam Gaudette was bumped to the second line with Bo Horvat and Tanner Pearson late in the second period, moving Jake Virtanen to the bench. Virtanen played just one shift in the third. Gaudette, who hadn’t played since October 12th, showed a lot of jump and it made sense to get him more ice time.
  • Gaudette finally cracked the code to solve Gibson in the third period. Since he stopped every single shot he faced, Gaudette probably thought, what if I don’t shoot the puck at all.. Sutter gained the offensive zone, drew in three Ducks, then passed off to Gaudette. When Gaudette tried to return the favour, his pass was behind Sutter, but right into the skates of Korbinian Holzer, who kicked the puck past his own goaltender.
  • It was like Gibson was the Witch King of Angmar declaring to Eowyn, “No man can kill me,” and Eowyn replying, “I am no man.” Except Gibson declared, “No shot can beat me,” and Gaudette replied, “This is no shot.”
  • There were a pair of odd calls on the Canucks in the third period that conveniently made the power plays a little more even in the game. First there was a baffling crosschecking call on Brock Boeser when Rakell lost an edge. Even the Anaheim play-by-play announcers were befuddled by the call, while Boeser looked more shocked and confused than a Pikachu meme.
  • “He just fell,” said Travis Green at the Canucks bench to the referee, which is also what my kids tell me when I walk into the room and their little brother is crying.
  • The other bizarre call was for delay of game on Jacob Markstrom late in the third period, with the score tied 1-1. Markstrom came out of his net to jump on a loose puck and the refs invoked the little-used rule. Some argued that, according to the letter of the law, the call was correct, as goaltenders aren’t supposed to come out to play the puck and cover it up, but the puck was so close to Markstrom’s crease that it seemed like a real grey area and a tough call to make in a tie game.
  • Getting no goals out of their dominant first half, but still getting a point out of the game isn’t the worst result for a team facing a top-of-his-game Gibson. The Canucks even came agonizingly close to winning in regulation, with Pettersson ringing the post in the dying milliseconds. Pettersson finished the game with no shots on goal, but came a hair’s breadth away from winning the game
  • Instead, Ryan Getzlaf scored the gamewinner in overtime on a breakaway. He snuck in behind Chris Tanev and Bo Horvat, then dashed in on Markstrom. Getzlaf seemed to lose the handle on the puck for a moment, and Markstrom charged out hoping to pokecheck the puck away. Getzlaf managed to regain the puck and avoided the sliding Markstrom to tuck the puck in the open net
  • Look, I respect anyone that tries to emulate Dominik Hasek, but Markstrom got in trouble twice in this game for aggressively leaving his crease. Maybe he needs a leash attached to the posts.
  • Despite playing most of the game with just five defencemen, Troy Stecher had just 12:17 in ice time. Alex Edler soaked up the bulk of the extra minutes, with 30:25 in ice time. Given Edler’s injury history and the fact they’re playing again on Saturday, overworking Edler doesn’t seem like the best idea.
     

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