Canucks 4 Avalanche 3 (OT): A bounce back win the Canucks really needed


Michael Del Zotto is congratulated by Christ Tanev after scoring.

Michael Del Zotto is congratulated by Christ Tanev after scoring.

Photograph by: Jeff Vinnick, The Province

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The Vancouver Canucks are just as good as the Colorado Avalanche.

Well, at least they were Tuesday night.

The Canucks got a third-period goal from Daniel Sedin to push the Avs to overtime at Rogers Arena. Then Sven Baertschi scored the winner at 1:07, taking the game 4-3.

This is what we learned:

They’re alive. Barely, but the Canucks are alive.

The Canucks rallied from a brutal performance last week to give a hot Avalanche team everything it could handle.

When we last saw the Canucks they were getting shut out by the lowly Buffalo Sabres. That version of the Canucks was slow and lifeless. It was as gloomy as it gets.

They didn’t take long to make amends. The Canucks got two goals in the first 12 minutes Tuesday. One was from Bo Horvat and another from defenceman Michael Del Zotto.

Sure, Vancouver blew its two-goal, first period lead. But when they needed a power-play goal in the third, the Sedins made it rain.

There are plenty of troubling parts about the Canucks, but their power play isn’t one of them.

Before Bo Horvat busted his ankle, he was centring the Canucks’ best line with Brock Boeser and Baertschi.

But since Horvat’s return, in pursuit of more balanced scoring, the Canucks head coach has been shying away from reuniting his three Bs line.

The game started with Boeser playing with the Sedins and it was, well, underwhelming.

One of the obvious problems is that Green likes his matchups, and in the first period it meant the Sedins played around four minutes while other lines got nearly double.

It can’t be acceptable if it means Boeser’s hardly playing. No one wants to see that. Boeser did get an assist with the twins but it was on that power-play goal.

In the third, Green lined Boeser and Horvat together and they were glorious.

They didn’t score but man they were a lot of fun to watch.

Jacob Markstrom often can’t get out of his own way

He did it again. He gave the opponents a goal. This time, Markstrom chose to handle a deflected shot with his mask. Literally.

It was as though he was on a soccer pitch. Markstrom attempted to control a rebound by driving the puck into the ice with his head.

The move put him off balance and he fell, essentially face -planting leading to an easy goal against.

Markstrom has been OK this season, but he’s had a couple of consistency issues. One, is his rebound control. He’s made decisions, like the head shot attempt, that put the puck into high danger areas when there were other options.

Two, he’s had pucks go through him, which means under his arm and pads.

Both of those issues have led to soft goals against, and there have been an alarming number of them.

Are the Canucks really willing to go into next season with the same defence?

It could start looking that way if they re-sign Gudbranson. The big defenceman has been seen all season as one of their most valuable chips to play at the trade deadline.

The underlying data suggests Gudbranson has had a poor season. Actually, that’s been true of his entire time in Vancouver. Oh, and it’s been true for most of his NHL career.

But a lack of toughness has Vancouver circling back to see if they can sign him to a multi-year deal before the Feb. 26 trade deadline.

The trade to get him wasn’t a good one, but bringing him back will only compound that problem. The alternative is to deal him but the Canucks haven’t been blown away by any of the offers, and it’s believed Gudbranson’s value is a mid-round draft pick.

Doesn’t seem that bad.

He was in a walking boot for four weeks, and unable to put any weight on his foot.

He came out of it with condition tests that suggested he was in better shape than he was at training camp. Wait, what?

It was a pretty remarkable feat for Horvat, and it sure showed in the game when he blasted through the neutral zone, cutting in for a goal scored on a partial breakaway.

The shot was great. His speed was stunning, given he missed seven weeks because of a broken ankle.

Here’s everything you need to know, but Jake Virtanen has 11 points and so does Markus Granlund. That’s incredibly disappointing for both players.

Who has improved among the developing younger players? Brock Boeser, for sure. Troy Stecher, too. And not many others.



Chicago Blackhawks vs. Vancouver Canucks

7 p.m., Rogers Arena, SNETP, SNET 650 AM

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Michael Del Zotto is congratulated by Christ Tanev after scoring.

Michael Del Zotto is congratulated by Christ Tanev after scoring.

Photograph by: Jeff Vinnick, The Province

Michael Del Zotto is congratulated by Christ Tanev after scoring.
Chris Tanev fights for control of the puck with Avalanche centre Tyson Jost.
Michael Del Zotto is congratulated by Chris Tanev after scoring.
Michael Del Zotto (4) looks on as Colorado Avalanche right wing Nail Yakupov (64) crashes into Vancouver Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom.
Sven Baertschi celebrates his overtime game-winning goal with Chris Tanev.
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