Canucks fall to 0-2 after a 3-0 loss in Calgary on Saturday
Jacob Markstrom stopped 27 of 29 shots in the loss
1) For the first time since the start of the 2012-13 season, the Canucks have dropped their first two games of the season. However, that year they lost 7-3 to Anaheim and followed up with a 3-2 shootout loss to Edmonton. You have to go all the way back to the 2009-10 season to find the last time the Canucks dropped their first two games in regulation. In October 2009, the Canucks opened with a 5-3 loss to Calgary and followed that up with a 3-0 loss to Colorado. They also lost their next game 5-3 to Columbus. This makes this season just the second time in 18 years the Canucks have dropped the first two games out of the gate in regulation time.
2) The power play told the story of Saturday night at the Saddledome. The Canucks went 0 for 6 and are now goalless in 10 opportunities in the early going this season. Against the Flames, the Canucks had 10:21 of power play time and generated 10 shots on goal. That included a 5-on-3 for 61 seconds early in the third period when they trailed 2-0 and a goal would have got them right back into the hockey game. Unfortunately for the Canucks they managed just two shots on net while up two skaters. Their best chance came off a hard Brock Boeser wrist shot from the left face-off circle which was stopped by Calgary netminder David Rittich. The rebound bounced to Josh Leivo in the slot, but he was unable to corral it and it lay loose momentarily off to the right side of the net. Elias Pettersson's lone shot of the night came on the power play, but not during the two-man advantage. The Canucks need to find a way to isolate their most-dangerous weapon more often. Teams will do whatever they can to negate the Pettersson one-time, but the Canucks have to find ways to move the puck faster to free up the Pettersson bomb from the right circle.
3) It's just two games, so it's far too early to panic. But after scoring in bunches in the preseason, there was a sense of optimism that the Canucks offense would be ready when the games that matter started. That has hardly been the case. The Canucks leave Alberta with just two goals -- and only one by a forward (Tanner Pearson). On Wednesday in Edmonton, stars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl tipped the balance in the Oilers favour leading their team to a 3-2 victory. On Saturday, Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholm had the Calgary goals in their 3-0 win. Johnny Hockey was in on all three scoring plays and already has five points this season. Through the first three games of the season, the Canucks 'Big Three' -- Pettersson, Horvat and Boeser -- have combined for a single point and Boeser has it. Obviously, , their offense will come but it didn't arrive on the road trip and it's fair to suggest that the play of the best players in both games played a huge role in the outcomes of each.
4) Micheal Ferland hasn't been anywhere close to good enough in the first two games -- and he said as much following the loss in Calgary. Pointless in his first two outings as a Canuck, the big winger had just one shot and only one hit in 12:41 of ice time on Saturday. He only had four third period shifts and didn't see the ice in the final 7:36 of the hockey game. Of his third period shifts, only two were at even strength where he logged just 1:28 of ice time. At evens in the final frame, he was bumped from his line with Pettersson and Boeser and skated with Brandon Sutter and Jake Virtanen as Josh Leivo was moved up the line-up in Ferland's spot. Again, it's early and Ferland will be better. But a return to the Saddledome where he began his NHL career seemed like the kind of setting for him to make some sort of statement about his arrival on the other side of the Canucks-Flames rivalry. That certainly didn't happen. Maybe it will in Wednesday's home opener. Ferland and the Canucks have to hope so.
5) Of the few positives to come out of the loss to Calgary, Adam Gaudette got better as the night went along. The young centre barely played in the first period, but saw his ice time increase as the night went along. He logged just 2:09 in the opening 20 minutes, saw 3:50 in the second and took a regular shift and had some power play duties in the third period where he played 5:57. Overall, Gaudette's ice time was 11:56 which was more than Jay Beagle, Tim Schaller and Jake Virtanen -- and almost as much as Micheal Ferland. Gaudette finished the night without a shot on goal, but skated well and looked confident when he had the puck. He was even rewarded with a four-on-four shift with Bo Horvat early in the third when the game was still very much within reach. With the Canucks still searching for their offense in the early going this season, there may be more line-up juggling from Travis Green. Based on the effort level on Saturday, Adam Gaudette likely deserves to stay in uniform when the Canucks host Los Angeles on Wednesday.