Canucks Post Game: Green plays defence, Boeser bagged, Doughty ‘pissed’, Markstrom miffed?


Nic Dowd celebrates after giving the Canucks a brief 3-2 lead Saturday.

Nic Dowd celebrates after giving the Canucks a brief 3-2 lead Saturday.

Photograph by: DARRYL DYCK, The Province

Points to ponder as the Canucks managed three goals against the Kings, who lead the NHL with just 2.32 allowed per outing, but they also managed to blow a 3-2 lead, play too loose in their own zone and play Brock Boeser too much in falling 4-3 on Saturday at Rogers Arena:


Not sure what it’s going to take because you can only watch so much video.

You simply can’t have a free-fly zone in the slot because of poor back pressure — stemming from a poor forecheck and easy D-zone escapes — and you can’t have defencemen defending by waving their sticks at the opposition.

Those cracks in the armour figured in the first two Kings goals.

Adrian Kempe worked around Derrick Pouliot, lost the handle on the puck and Sam Gagner was late picking up Tyler Toffoli driving to the net. Then on a Kings power play, Trevor Lewis got around Loui Eriksson and nobody tied up Marian Gaborik who re-directed a feed at top of the crease.

Same deal on the third goal. Bouncing puck. Bodies. Nobody touches Kyle Clifford.

However, Canucks coach Travis Green wasn’t buying all the post-game media analysis.

“I didn’t think our D-zone coverage was that bad,” he started. “On two goals, we had a couple of breakdowns up the ice that I didn’t like that resulted in goals. There were breakdowns up ice with our forecheck and we weren’t skating hard enough to allow them to gain speed to break out of their zone.

“The third goal, a rush play and we allow two of their guys to get to our net. Those are little details in this league and your structure has to be good.”


Sam Gagner nearly made it 3-3 in the third period when he rang a shot off the post.

“I tried to shoot it by their D-man coming out to block it and get it by his shin pads and get it upstairs and it was a matter of inches,” said Gagner.

He also was late arriving on the back check on the Kings’ first goal. And as much as the forecheck and easier D-zone exits and details figure into all of it, the lack of defensive support was a big deal Saturday.

“They make you work for everything offensively and defensively you have to be really sharp,” said Gagner. “That was difference tonight. We were on the wrong side on a couple of their goals. Those are things we have to shore up.”

Added Ben Hutton: “We gave them a couple of chances in tight alone and that hurts. They’re a pretty structured and hard-nosed team and we have to tighten up defensively. It seems like we’ve been saying that the last few games and once we do, wins will come. But there has to be back pressure and the D has to have tight gaps.”


Brock Boeser didn’t score. Stop the press.

In his first 44 career games, the only active player to amass more goals was Alex Ovechkin with 32. Boeser had 25.
Boeser had four shots Saturday — including two rockets off the mask of goalie Jonathan Quick — and he missed coverting a Thomas Vanek feed while bolting to the net in the second period.

However, the bottom line is that the rookie winger played a whopping 23:47 — his previous high was 21:09 on Dec. 21 at San Jose — and Green admitted it was too much.

Going to the well too often with such a talented multi-dimensional player is understandable when pressing to get or maintain a lead. This time is was too much.

“I probably played him too much tonight,” admitted Green. “But when you’re looking for a goal, you double-shift guys at the end of the game, but I thought I played him a little bit too much.”


The Canucks purposely taught Nikolay Goldobin to hound pucks by having the winger play the penalty kill in Utica before he was recalled last month.

The idea was that it would make the mercurial Russian a more aggressive and complete player and not one simply waiting for sweet feeds in the offensive zone. It had merit and has made a difference because he’s now better in transition.

However, it was what the Canucks can’t teach that brought the Rogers Arena faithful to their feet.

In the second period, the Canucks were trailing 2-1 when Goldobin bolted down the left side, manouvered around a stick-checking Drew Doughty, worked his way into the slot and snapped a backhander that caught Quick moving the wrong way.

“I was pretty pissed and embarrassed — I don’t get dangled often,” said Doughy, who got his revenge by netting the game-winner.”

The goal reminded everybody of Goldobin’s debut in Los Angles on March 5 when he snapped a shot past goalie Ben Bishop on a breakaway. The bottom line? Green is giving the kids just enough playing rope and he knows when to give it a yank.


Jacob Markstrom could have talked a blue streak and pointed fingers.

The support in front of the Canucks goalie was questionable at best, but he wouldn’t go there. He wouldn’t wonder where the back pressure was or why there wasn’t more physical play in front of him.

As usual, he took ownership, even on the Doughty winner that first hit Alex Edler’s skate and went back to Doughty before he put it through the Swede’s legs and past Markstrom.

“Eagle goes down to block it and while he’s down, I’m standing up and he (Doughty) gets it right back on the tape and he’s going to score goals because he has a good shot,” said Markstrom.

But what about the play in front of him all night? Should have been better, no?

“I need to be better, he responded. “You can look at small things and if you want to find a place to improve, you can find it in any game. It would be great if we could box out every play and pick up every rebound and if the puck wouldn’t be bouncing.

“We need to do the same thing in front of their net. We need to crowd their crease and be harder to play against.”


Henrik Sedin was convinced Doughty’s winning goal should have been waved off.

The Canucks captain was convinced the traffic jam at the benches on a line change included one too many Kings on the ice.

“I get their argument, too, where we were pushing and shoving and I thought their centreman came over and did the same thing to us and their centre was in on the scoring play,” said Henrik.

Added Green: “I didn’t ask and I wasn’t going to bother. I saw it on the replay. It was a change. I don’t know. I’m not going to complain about it.”


Troy Stecher’s last goal came March 9 against the New York Islanders. It took 39 games to get his next one and his first-period effort Saturday was encouraging. The bad part was he left the game in the third period after taking Jake Muzzin hit, but later said it was just a ‘stinger’.

Stecher was tenacious moving in from the point. He worked his way around Alex Iafallo and even though his wrist shot through a maze deflected off the stick of defenceman Alec Martinez, the effort said everything.

The Canucks went 10 games without getting a goal from the back end — the last was Pouliot on Dec. 5 against Carolina — and just seven from defencemen isn’t going to cut it if they want win close games.

“Guys get paid to block shots and it’s pretty easy to say you’ve got to get pucks through — it just doesn’t happen that way,” said Stecher. “Teams crowd the net and there are different ways to get it through and I had a lot more success last year, but teams adapt.

“It depends on the route of the forwards. They come up the wall and you walk (the blueline) and they come up the middle and you walk the wall.”


Nic Dowd told anyone within earshot Saturday that there’s more to his game than being good in the circle and on the penalty kill.

He proved it by taking a cross-ice feed for his first goal of the season and first in 26 games. It gave the Canucks a brief 3-2 lead. That’s something. But so was what the Canucks didn’t do on the forecheck.

“A couple of times, I dove in on a D-man rushing the puck at their blue and all he does is make a simple pass by me and if I don’t get a body on him, they’ve got four guys rushing the puck,” said Dowd.

“A lot of it came from the fact that we didn’t get a lot of pressure in the O-zone and they came out easy. It’s challenge for the guys to get in and then get a (defensive) gap with their speed.”

And his goal?

“A nice pass from Granny (Markus Granlund) and I was just lucky enough to catch it and kind of throw it on net, said Dowd. “I’m sure Quicky probably want that one back. It was a rolling puck and I just kind of chucked it on there.

“I got lucky but found twine.”

Nic Dowd celebrates after giving the Canucks a brief 3-2 lead Saturday.

Nic Dowd celebrates after giving the Canucks a brief 3-2 lead Saturday.

Photograph by: DARRYL DYCK, The Province

Nic Dowd celebrates after giving the Canucks a brief 3-2 lead Saturday.
Kings defenceman Drew Doughty celebrates his winning goal Saturday at Rogers Arena.
Brock Boeser played a whopping 23:47 Saturday and Travis Green admitted it was a too much .
Ben Hutton didn't score Saturday but unloaded a heavy check on Dustin Brown.
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