Coming off of an encouraging performance against the Kings Tuesday night the Canucks took two giant steps back against the Golden Knights. It was an inexcusable and listless performance for a team that simply can’t afford to take nights off and expect to win, even against an expansion team from Vegas who were coming off of an 8-2 drubbing against the Oilers just a few nights ago.
With the Golden Knights starting their fourth string goaltender you would have thought the Canucks would have thrown everything including the kitchen sink at Maxime Lagace. Instead the Canucks could only muster a measly 21 shots on the goalie that was pulled just two nights before for a goalie fresh off of a junior team roster. After going down 2-0 the Canucks battled back to tie the game going into the 3rd period. Momentum appeared to be on their side, but instead they could only direct 5 shots in the final frame, and were completely dominated, ending in a 5-2 loss.
There will be a lot questions asked leading into the Canucks next game against a St. Louis Blues team who are off to their best start in franchise history. This performance should see the return of Jake Virtanen to the lineup, after being a healthy scratch the past 3 games. The coaches have implored him to play a more physical game and he should get a chance to do just that against a Blues team who always play a robust style. It could be a real chance for him to make his mark and solidify his place in the lineup. Anders Nilsson may also get a chance to get back between the pipes. After letting in a soft goal early in LA he fought his way back and had a very strong outing Tuesday night. With Markstrom seemingly unable to solidify himself as the team’s number one goaltender the door may be open for Nilsson to take the job.
The Canucks have 48 hours to forget about this performance and get set for St. Louis. A strong game Saturday night may help fans forget just how poor they have been on home ice to start the season and get them set for another long road trip.
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