Jacob Markstrom makes most of second chance as Canucks edge Coyotes

 

 
 
 
 
Vancouver Canucks' Yannick Weber (6), of Switzerland, celebrates his goal against Arizona Coyotes goalie Mike Smith (41) as Coyotes' Klas Dahlbeck (34), of Sweden, and Canucks' Daniel Sedin (22), of Sweden, skate in the background in NHL  game Sunday, March 22, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz.
 
 

Vancouver Canucks' Yannick Weber (6), of Switzerland, celebrates his goal against Arizona Coyotes goalie Mike Smith (41) as Coyotes' Klas Dahlbeck (34), of Sweden, and Canucks' Daniel Sedin (22), of Sweden, skate in the background in NHL game Sunday, March 22, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz.

Photograph by: Ross D. Franklin, AP

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GLENDALE, Ariz. – Jacob Markstrom insisted his previous start as a Vancouver Canuck had been pretty much erased from his memory.

What happened March 3 wasn’t there in the back of his head Sunday night when he finally got his second start of the season.

Well, he may have forgotten about that game, but Canuck fans hadn’t.

Maybe now they will and Markstrom hopes the media will, too.

“It was mostly you guys who can’t let it go,” Markstrom said after backstopping the Canucks to a 3-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes. “You guys keep talking about it. I barely remember who we played against.”

Okay, Jacob, one last reminder. It was the San Jose Sharks, who scored on three of their first four shots before you got the hook.

Coming back to you?

“It was such a long time ago,” Markstrom said. “For me the next day is a new day. It’s hockey. That happens. Obviously, you don’t want it to happen, but it is going to happen to everybody. You are going to have highs and lows, but it was so long ago and I played a couple of games in the minors, practised for two weeks and played a game here now. I think you guys can let it go, too.”

Alrighty then, case closed.

There is no denying, however, that Markstrom faced some big-time pressure here Sunday night. Another start like the one on March 3 would have likely finished him as a Canuck.

Thankfully, he made the most of his second chance.

Markstrom wasn’t overly busy, especially early when he only saw a couple of shots in the opening minutes.

“There’ a reason why I didn’t get many shots today because we had a great game for 60 minutes,” Markstrom said. “The guys played their hearts out and blocked a ton of shots, so that made my job a lot easier.”

Markstrom stopped 24 of 25 shots. The only one that beat him came on an end-to-end rush by Arizona defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who scored on his second rebound.

Markstrom could have done a better job of clearing his rebounds, but he also didn’t get much help from his defence on the play.

“Same as the minors, if you leave rebounds out there you are going to get punished,” he said. “Obviously, I’d like to get that one back, but it happened. You have to leave it behind and keep fighting and come up with a couple of saves when the team needs me.”

He did just that and the Canucks finally snapped a 1-1 tie at 16:47 of the third when defenceman Alex Edler rattled a shot off the post and past Phoenix goalie Mike Smith on a Vancouver power play. The goal came after the Canucks had been hitting posts all night.

“Yeah, it was ringing quite a bit tonight, so it was nice one went the right way,” Edler said.

The goal came after winger Radim Vrbata won a big offensive zone faceoff after Canuck captain Henrik Sedin had been waved out of the circle.

Vrbata was taking some good-natured ribbing from his teammates about his clean faceoff win against Kyle Chipchura.

“Just ask him about it,” said Vancouver winger Chris Higgins.

“All the centres keep telling me how hard it is to win a faceoff,” responded a smiling Vrbata. “It was clean. But it was lucky. Good thing we won, we kept it in and that shot found a way in.”

Vrbata had another big game for the Canucks. In the first period he combined with Daniel Sedin to set up Yannick Weber’s game-opening goal.

The win capped a perfect weekend for the Canucks, who on Saturday beat the Los Angeles Kings 4-1 at the Staples Center. The Canucks now have 88 points and a four-point cushion in the race for second place in the Pacific Division standings.

“Everybody was talking about the game yesterday and how big it is, but today was as big as that one,” Vrbata said. “It’s two points, and we haven’t got a lot of points off them (Arizona) this season, so this was a big game.”

Arizona had won two of the three previous meetings with the Canucks this season and for a time it looked like they might steal another one.

“It was one where we had to be patient and stick with it,” Vrbata said. “We had lots of chances with posts and Smith made some really good saves. Then it kind of opened up a little in the third. It was a little dangerous because if they would score the other way then it would be tough to get back. We were able to find that second one and that’s what counts.”

“A big road trip for us,” added Edler. “Points are huge at this point of the season, so it was nice.”

Nice. That’s a good way to describe this past weekend for the Canucks. Very nice.

GAME ESSENTIALS

THE SKINNY

Defenceman Alex Edler broke a 1-1 tie at 16:47 of the third period when he scored on a power play as the Canucks completed perfect weekend. Edler’s shot from the left point bounced off the near post and the back of Phoenix goalie Mike Smith before entering the net. Fellow defenceman Yannick Weber and Henrik Sedin, into an empty net, scored the other Vancouver goals. Jacob Markstrom stopped 24 of 25 shots to earn the win.

BY THE NUMBERS

Edler led Vancouver skaters with 21:49 of ice time. Fellow defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson had a game-high 23:51 for the Coyotes. Eckman-Larsson scored his 20th of the season and became the fourth Coyotes defenceman to record 20 or more goals in a season. . .Winger Derek Dorsett played in his 400th NHL game. . .The Canucks won only 41 per cent of their faceoffs. Nick Bonino had a tough night, going 3-13.

THIS AND THAT

Kings winger Tyler Toffoli received no supplemental discipline for his hit from behind on Alex Burrows during Vancouver’s 4-1 win Saturday at the Staples Center. Burrows played Sunday night and took a vicious cross-check to the head courtesy of Eckman-Larsson. No penalty was called. . .Hunter Shinkaruk, Darren Archibald, Frank Corrado and Sven Baertschi scored in Utica’s 4-1 win over Rochester Sunday. The Comets now lead the AHL’s Western Conference.

QUOTABLE

The Canucks have fired 40 or more shots at the opposition the last four games. They peppered Mike Smith with 44 shots Sunday night. “We haven’t done that since the start of the year when we were putting up pretty good numbers,” coach Willie Desjardins said after the game. “I thought we played hard, I thought we played pretty smart, too. There was a little bit in the third that was open when both teams were trading chances.”

WHO’S NEXT

The Winnipeg Jets and Canucks haven’t seen much of each another this season. But they’ll get familiar with one another down the stretch. The Canucks play host to the Jets on Tuesday night at Rogers Arena and then visit Winnipeg on the last stop of a four-game road trip on April 4. The Canucks won the only meeting this season on Feb. 3 in Vancouver by a score of 3-2 when defenceman Luca Sbisa scored the overtime winner.

bziemer@vancouversun.com; twitter.com/bradziemer

 
 
 
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Vancouver Canucks' Yannick Weber (6), of Switzerland, celebrates his goal against Arizona Coyotes goalie Mike Smith (41) as Coyotes' Klas Dahlbeck (34), of Sweden, and Canucks' Daniel Sedin (22), of Sweden, skate in the background in NHL  game Sunday, March 22, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz.
 

Vancouver Canucks' Yannick Weber (6), of Switzerland, celebrates his goal against Arizona Coyotes goalie Mike Smith (41) as Coyotes' Klas Dahlbeck (34), of Sweden, and Canucks' Daniel Sedin (22), of Sweden, skate in the background in NHL game Sunday, March 22, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz.

Photograph by: Ross D. Franklin, AP

 
Vancouver Canucks' Yannick Weber (6), of Switzerland, celebrates his goal against Arizona Coyotes goalie Mike Smith (41) as Coyotes' Klas Dahlbeck (34), of Sweden, and Canucks' Daniel Sedin (22), of Sweden, skate in the background in NHL  game Sunday, March 22, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz.
Vancouver Canucks’ Henrik Sedin (33), of Sweden, shoots past Arizona Coyotes’ John Moore (17) for a late empty net goal.
Vancouver Canucks' Derek Dorsett (51) and Arizona Coyotes' John Moore, left, battle for the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, March 22, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz.
Arizona Coyotes’ Oliver Ekman-Larsson (23), of Sweden, celebrates his goal against the Vancouver Canucks.
Arizona Coyotes’ Mike Smith (41) makes a stick save as Coyotes’ Oliver Ekman-Larsson (23), of Sweden, and Vancouver Canucks’ Alex Burrows (14) look on.
Arizona Coyotes’ Mike Smith, left, goes sprawling onto the ice after Coyotes’ Michael Stone (26) was shoved into his goalie by Vancouver Canucks’ Daniel Sedin (22), of Sweden.
Vancouver Canucks’ Derek Dorsett (51) and Arizona Coyotes’ John Moore, left, battle for the puck.
Arizona Coyotes’ Mike Smith (41) makes a save on a shot as Vancouver Canucks’ Daniel Sedin (22), of Sweden, and Alex Burrows (14) chase the puck.
Arizona Coyotes’ Shane Doan (19) tries to get to the puck as he is tripped up by Vancouver Canucks’ Alex Burrows (14) during the first period.
Arizona Coyotes’ Mike Smith (41) blocks a shot by Vancouver Canucks’ Daniel Sedin (22), of Sweden.
Vancouver Canucks’ Daniel Sedin, of Sweden, tries to control the puck as Arizona Coyotes’ Kyle Chipchura (24) reaches for it.
Vancouver Canucks’ Jacob Markstrom (35), of Sweden, makes a save on a shot by Arizona Coyotes’ Shane Doan (19) as Canucks’ Henrik Sedin (33), of Sweden, defends.
Vancouver Canucks’ Daniel Sedin (22), of Sweden, and Arizona Coyotes’ Mike Smith, left, watch the puck go into the net on a goal by Canucks’ Alexander Edler.
Vancouver Canucks’ Yannick Weber (6), of Switzerland, celebrates his goal against Arizona Coyotes goalie Mike Smith (41) as Coyotes’ Klas Dahlbeck (34), of Sweden, and Canucks’ Daniel Sedin (22), of Sweden, skate in the background.
Arizona Coyotes’ Shane Doan (19) skates off the ice after an NHL loss to the Vancouver Canucks Sunday,
Arizona Coyotes’ Mike Smith makes a save but loses the puck in front of him as Vancouver Canucks’ Alex Burrows (14) moves to try to get a stick on the puck as Coyotes’ Michael Stone (26) moves in to cover.
Vancouver Canucks’ Jacob Markstrom, right, of Sweden, makes a save as Arizona Coyotes’ Tobias Rieder (8), of Germany, looks on.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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