Canucks fall 3-1 as Avalanche spoil Tryamkin's debut

 

One night before St. Patrick’s Day, Canucks ice a lean, green team and come up wee bit short

 
 
 
 
Vancouver Canucks goalie Ryan Miller (30) looks on as teammate Dan Hamhuis (2) tries to clear Colorado Avalanche center Shawn Matthias (18) from in front of the net during second period NHL action in Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, March 16, 2016.
 
 

Vancouver Canucks goalie Ryan Miller (30) looks on as teammate Dan Hamhuis (2) tries to clear Colorado Avalanche center Shawn Matthias (18) from in front of the net during second period NHL action in Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, March 16, 2016.

Photograph by: JONATHAN HAYWARD, THE CANADIAN PRESS

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His first shift in the National Hockey League lasted 12 seconds, he didn’t touch anything but the ice and he was cheered by fans at Rogers Arena both when he left the bench and when he returned to it a few ticks later.

That’s how excited people were to see Nikita Tryamkin, the 6-7 Russian defenceman whose Vancouver Canuck debut was, absurdly, almost as eagerly anticipated as Pavel Bure’s a quarter-century earlier.

The 21-year-old has lots to learn, which is why the Canucks rushed him over from the Kontinental Hockey League when his season in Russia ended.

Ten points out of a playoff spot, the Canucks can afford to audition their semi-mysterious 2014 third-round draft pick and try to encourage Tryamkin to stay in North America next season even if it means forsaking a few KHL rubles to develop in the American Hockey League. Tryamkin is from Yekaterinburg; how bad could Utica, N.Y., be?

If he sticks around beyond the dying embers of this season, there will be growing pains for the 21-year-old and the Canucks, who iced a lineup Wednesday that included seven rookies and were beaten 3-1 by the Colorado Avalanche.

It’s a tough way to try to win in the best league in the world.

“You have to come back to look at our team and the personnel and what we’re trying to do here,” Canucks captain Henrik Sedin said. “It would have been tougher if we would have been a Stanley Cup contender and going through this. But we know where we are (as an organization). It’s tough to win games in this league; we’re trying to understand that. We’ve just got to get better and move forward.”

Missing eight injured players during a rebuild in which depth and experience are lacking, this was probably the youngest Canucks lineup in a generation.

“Whenever you have new guys coming in, they bring their game to the team and they bring their energy,” 23-year-old winger Sven Baertschi said. “Fresh energy is always good. Nothing changes — we still have a winning mentality. That starts with the older guys passing it along to us. It doesn’t matter who’s in the lineup: The mentality is always the same, and that’s to win.”

The Canucks are 7-13-1 the last eight weeks. They can afford to experiment.

We’re not sure how impressed the Minnesota Wild were with the Canucks lineup that allowed the Avalanche to move a point ahead in the race for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, but Desjardins dressing Tryamkin and six other rookies gave fans and reporters something to talk about.

Tryamkin seemed unsure on his first shift whether he was in the right place or with the right defensive partner. But when he quickly looped back to the bench confused, assistant coach Doug Lidster smiled and reassuringly patted him on the back.

Tryamkin felt much better a few minutes later when his first shot, from an offensive-zone faceoff win, led to Sedin’s rebound goal that made it 1-0 for Vancouver at 12:00. Tryamkin earned an assist and was plus-one for his NHL career.

The Canucks, however, fell to even on the night just 66 seconds later when rookie Ben Hutton’s turnover preceded a tying goal by Mikkel Boedker, who chipped the puck past goalie Ryan Miller after it slid to him from Jarome Iginla’s partially blocked shot.

Boedker also victimized Hutton on the winner, 37 seconds into the third period, when he zipped just enough past the defenceman one-on-one to beat Miller on the short side.

“He’s a faster player and he made a great play,” Hutton said. “I had him on the outside and he slipped (the puck) under my stick and shot it in pretty much the same motion. I wish I could have put a little more body on him or taken away his stick, but he made a great play.”

Tryamkin’s night soured a little, too, as he failed to react to Colorado forward Andreas Martinsen skating around Linden Vey, giving Martinsen enough ice to get to the net and beat Miller with another short-side shot that made it 3-1 at 5:31.

“It’s a tough situation for him,” Baertschi, who is Swiss, said of Tryamkin. “I remember my first game. You leave home, go to a different country, different culture, different language, everything. The way he played tonight, I thought was great.

“It’s not easy to go from the big ice sheet to a small ice sheet, and just everything new. I think he did great. He’s got quite the future ahead of him.”

We’re not sure about that, but it was an exciting night, and that alone constitutes victory these days for the franchise.

“Especially his first shift, when he jumped on and everyone was cheering,” Hutton said. “I don’t know if he knew they were cheering for him, because five or 10 seconds later he came right off. I think he was pretty nervous, even though he was hiding it well. He played great tonight. I was happy for him.”

Tryamkin did not come as hyped, but as expected. His shot is nearly as big as his frame, but he appears to be a fairly raw prospect who needs to work on his mobility and conditioning. The Canucks will help him all they can.imacintyre@postmedia.com

THE SKINNY

Mikkel Boedker broke a 1-1 tie 36 seconds into the third period with his second goal of the night and Andreas Martinsen added an insurance goal five minutes later as the Avs beat the Canucks for the first time in three tries this season. Russian rookie defenceman Nikita Tryamkin, playing in his first NHL game, earned the second assist on Vancouver’s only goal by Henrik Sedin. The Canucks finished their homestand 2-2-0.

BY THE NUMBERS

The Canucks dropped to 13-18-5 at Rogers Arena this season. Only the Toronto Maple Leafs, with 11, have fewer home-ice wins. . .Rookie centre Jared McCann continues to struggle in the faceoff circle, where he went 0-for-10 on the night. Henrik Sedin was 9-2 and Bo Horvat 12-5. . .Defenceman Dan Hamhuis logged a game-high 28:18 of ice time. . .Colorado outshot the Canucks 34-29

THIS AND THAT

Henrik Sedin’s goal was his 11th of the season and his first regular-season marker since a Nov. 10 game in Columbus. . .Jarome Iginla played his 98th game against the Canucks and picked up an assist. . .Rookie Alexandre Grenier played on the top line with Daniel and Henrik Sedin. He logged 14:24 of ice time and had one shot on goal. . .The win moved the Avs back into a wildcard playoff spot.

QUOTABLE

“He played really good. I liked the way he reads off me and Daniel. He was able to get to the spots when he needed to. You can tell that he understands what to do out there.” -- Henrik Sedin on the play of linemate Alexandre Grenier, who was playing in just his third NHL game.

WHO’S NEXT

The Canucks are scheduled to practise today before heading to Edmonton, where they meet the Oilers on Friday night. This will be the third of five meetings between the teams. The Canucks dropped a 2-1overtime decision on home ice on Oct. 18 and beat the Oilers 2-1 on a pair of Jannik Hansen goals at Rogers Arena on Dec. 26. The teams meet in Edmonton on April 6 and close out the season April 9 at Rogers Arena.

bziemer@postmedia.com

 
 
 
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Vancouver Canucks goalie Ryan Miller (30) looks on as teammate Dan Hamhuis (2) tries to clear Colorado Avalanche center Shawn Matthias (18) from in front of the net during second period NHL action in Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, March 16, 2016.
 

Vancouver Canucks goalie Ryan Miller (30) looks on as teammate Dan Hamhuis (2) tries to clear Colorado Avalanche center Shawn Matthias (18) from in front of the net during second period NHL action in Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, March 16, 2016.

Photograph by: JONATHAN HAYWARD, THE CANADIAN PRESS

 
Vancouver Canucks goalie Ryan Miller (30) looks on as teammate Dan Hamhuis (2) tries to clear Colorado Avalanche center Shawn Matthias (18) from in front of the net during second period NHL action in Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, March 16, 2016.
Colorado Avalanche defenseman Nick Holden (2) battles Vancouver Canucks’ Brendan Gaunce during second period NHL action in Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, March 16, 2016.
Colorado Avalanche right wing Jack Skille (8) and Vancouver Canucks right wing Emerson Etem, bottom, fall to the ice as Canucks’ Nikita Tryamkin looks on during first period NHL action in Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, March 16, 2016.
Colorado Avalanche center Andreas Martinsen (27) tries to get a shot past Vancouver Canucks goalie Ryan Miller (30) during first period NHL action in Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, March 16, 2016.
Colorado Avalanche right wing Jarome Iginla (12) fights for control of the puck with Vancouver Canucks defenseman Chris Tanev (8) during first period NHL action in Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, March 16, 2016.
Vancouver Canucks defenseman Chris Tanev (8) jumps onto the net after trying to get a shot on Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov (1) during second period NHL action in Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, March 16, 2016.
Colorado Avalanche right wing Jack Skille (8) and Vancouver Canucks right wing Emerson Etem, bottom, fall to the ice as Canucks’ Nikita Tryamkin looks on during first period NHL action in Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, March 16, 2016.
Colorado Avalanche center Andreas Martinsen (27) fights for control of the puck with Vancouver Canucks defenseman Matt Bartkowski (44) during first period NHL action in Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, March 16, 2016.
Vancouver Canucks goalie Ryan Miller makes a save during second period NHL action against the Colorado Avalanche in Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, March 16, 2016.
Colorado Avalanche right wing Jack Skille (8) fights for control of the puck with Vancouver Canucks right wing Radim Vrbata (17) during first period NHL action in Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, March 16, 2016.
Vancouver Canucks defenseman Chris Tanev (8) jumps on to the net as teammate Canucks right wing Radim Vrbata (17) tries to get a shot past Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov (1) during second period NHL action in Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, March 16, 2016.
Vancouver Canucks defenseman Ben Hutton (27) fights for control of the puck with Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) during first period NHL action in Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, March 16, 2016.
Vancouver Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis (2) and Colorado Avalanche left wing Cody McLeod (55) battle along the boards during first period NHL action in Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, March 16, 2016.
Colorado Avalanche center Andreas Martinsen (27) celebrates his goal with Shawn Matthias (18) and Eric Gelinas (44) during third period NHL action against the Vancouver Canucks in Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, March 16, 2016.
Vancouver Canucks goalie Ryan Miller (30) gets sprayed with snow from Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) as Canucks right wing Jake Virtanen (18) looks on during first period NHL action in Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, March 16, 2016.
Colorado Avalanche left wing Mikkel Boedker (89) celebrates his goal with teammates Jarome Iginla (12) and Matt Duchene (9) during first period NHL action against the Vancouver Canucks in Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, March 16, 2016.
Colorado Avalanche right wing Jack Skille (8) and Vancouver Canucks right wing Emerson Etem, bottom, fall to the ice as Canucks’ Nikita Tryamkin looks on during first period NHL action in Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, March 16, 2016.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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