Canucks Score First, but Can’t Hold On to Beat Nashville

The Canucks have not scored first very often this season, nor have they won many road games. Tonight they did the first, but couldn’t do the second.

New road trip, same story for the Canucks.

They have won only six times in 25 road games this year. At this critical time of the year, they cannot afford to give away any points. Vancouver had already played two one-goal games against Nashville this season, and this one was close heading into the third.

It just isn’t happening for them on the road.

Final Score:

VS.

1 2 3 T
Predators 2 0 2 4
Canucks 1 0 1 2

Recap:

Vancouver did themselves one favor tonight by scoring first, something else they have struggled to do.

Markus Granlund put them ahead on their first shot of the game. The goal was his 13th of the season, which ties him Sven Baertschi.

Speaking of Baertschi, he left the game after just two shifts. Cody McLeod caught him unawares with a clear elbow to the head. There was no penalty on the play.

After Baertschi left, the Canucks quickly reported that he had sustained a concussion. Vancouver was finally returning to full health after a string of injuries to Jannik Hansen, Chris Tanev and Ben Hutton.

Philip Larsen also missed several weeks with a concussion. Now the team may have to do without their fourth-best point-scorer for the time being.

Nashville responded to Vancouver’s early goal with two of their own in the first period:

Victor Arvidsson and Calle Jarnkrok did the damage for the Preds. Wilson’s shot was a knuckler from in close, which trickled through goaltender Jacob Markstrom.

Tough to be Markstrom

Markstrom is stuck between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, he isn’t being given many starts. When he finally does start, he is backstopping a team that gives him so little room for error, which makes any mistake look much, much worse.

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Tonight he made a couple such errors. The first happened on the Jarnkrok goal. Then on this play, he overplayed to one side and then was caught. Troy Stecher had to bail him out on the wraparound:

Finally, on the Predators third goal, Markstrom did not quite have control of the puck when Alexander Edler ran into him.

This goal by Filip Forsberg was ruled no-goal on the ice. But in the overhead replay, the puck was visible through the mesh of Markstrom’s glove, and it appeared to be across the line. The NHL ruled it a goal.

On that particular play, you could blame Edler or the goaltender for knocking the puck into the goal. But Vancouver needs their goaltending to be razor-sharp, and Markstrom was not tonight.

Personally, I don’t believe that’s his fault. It’s tough to stay sharp when you are starting just your fifth game since Christmas. In my opinion, Willie Desjardins has over-played Ryan Miller, and let Markstrom gather rust on the bench.

As a result, the team has now allowed four or more goals in each of their last three games. One goaltender is tired, and the other is rusty. Neither has been quite good enough.

Hopefully, the younger goaltender will get a bigger share of the starts from here on out. But I have a feeling this game will further convince Willie D to run with Miller instead.

Edler Makes it Interesting

After the Preds went ahead by two, Edler partly made up for his mistake by scoring himself:

The goal came on the power play, which is ever-so-slowly improving. But it is improving enough to make a difference to Vancouver’s results? Not this game, anyway.

With Markstrom on the bench, Pekka Rinne robbed Loui Eriksson of a tying goal. Eriksson had six shots on the night, but could not bury any of them.

It took Nashville three tries, but they finally managed to hit the empty net to hand the Canucks their fourth straight loss. Vancouver is now 3-6-3 in their last 10 games.

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