The Vancouver Canucks gave it their all again, and again they fell short by a goal. This time it seemed to just come down to talent; more of it for the Rangers. Hard work is admirable, obviously a key to success for any hockey team, but sometimes it can’t overcome mistakes, a line-up in flux, and players getting banged up.
There was some bad mojo Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden. What could have been the worst injury of the night wasn’t. Rangers forward Chris Kreider had his legs violently taken out from under him on a sideways, open-ice spill by teammate Vince Trocheck early in the 3rd period. After hobbling off and missing a shift, Kreider returned to play.
Same for Canucks defencemen Luke Schenn and Quinn Hughes, one with an apparent back problem, the other with a broken nose, injuries that came about in the second period.
Schenn left the game after a somewhat harmless hit along the benches that earned him a two-minute minor for interference. He went to the Canucks dressing room as Conor Garland served his penalty. Schenn would eventually return and play, but never sit on the bench. He stood throughout the remainder.
Hughes returned in the third period with a full plastic shield protecting his nose that continued to bleed. He ended up picking up an assist on a bizarre, late 3rd-period goal from Elias Pettersson that should have been icing. At least the one linesman with his arm up on the play, and the Rangers bench, thought so.
It brought the Canucks as close as they would get, to the final margin of 4-3.
All Vancouver head coach Rick Tocchet could do on the bench in the closing seconds was shake his head. He’s definitely wasn’t upset about the effort. His penalty kill also shut down all three New York power plays.
In a game that means nothing to the BC Boys in the standings, they put up a valiant effort and played it as tough as you can.
That speaks volumes.