The Canucks road trip continued with a loss to the Lightning in Tampa 4-3 as Vancouver’s record evened up at 2-and-2 on the young season. That hyper sense of invincibility following the back-to-back wins over the Edmonton Oilers to open the season is long gone.
After those initial Vancouver performances, 8-1 and 4-3 victories over the highly touted Pacific Division rivals, many believed the re-tooling Flyers would be a pushover. Instead it was a 2-0 road loss for the Canucks on Tuesday night.
The effort was better Thursday night, but mistakes made the difference. It’s why you’ll often hear coaches say “hockey is a game of mistakes.” Make them, get caught and you lose; take advantage of them enough and you win.
That’s what the Lightning did.
Tyler Myers led the Canucks in the boo-boo department. Big ones. A blatant turnover with a pass in his own zone led to pressure, a scramble, and to the opening goal of the game for Tampa.
His bizarre check that forced him off his feet and on to prone teammate Elias Pettersson during a puck battle in the defensive zone took them both out of the play and led to the 3rd period game winner for Nikita Kucherov.
In between those two events, Myers ripped home his 89th career NHL goal and his first of the season. It didn’t make up for the night in general.
“I know he threw the puck away, that’s the first mistake, but I think if he stays on his feet …,” Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet said postgame. “He’s gonna have to bounce back, we’ve got some people hurt so he’s … we need him to dial in for us.”
Tocchet was pleased with the play of his third pair Carson Soucy and newbie Mark Friedman, acquired last week in a deal with none other than the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Top D-pair Quinn Hughes and Filip Hronek played more than 26-minutes, with the Czech righty nearly eclipsing 27. Hughes has yet to give up a goal this season defensively. We’ll see if the workload starts to catch up to them.
Up front it’s a mystery. Or maybe it’s not.
Is Brock Boeser’s the poster boy for the Canucks woes in recent years. We’re only four games in and the head coach is already talking about Boeser picking his game back up. This, after his dramatic four-goal game in the season opener. Where does he go? He re-appeared last night and scored his fifth goal of the season.
We’ll see who shows up Saturday night when the Canucks take on the 2023 Stanley Cup finalist Florida Panthers in Sunrise. The Cats are coming off a 3-1 home victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.