Sven Baertschi shines, Canucks pick up 1 point in return to Rogers Arena
Thursday January 10 - Arizona Coyotes 4 - Vancouver Canucks 3 (OT)
I understand many of you were not able to watch Thursday's game on TV due to some kind of technical issue with the feed from Sportsnet.
So, here are your highlights from an odd game where Sven Baertschi stood out and Elias Pettersson was conspicuously absent as the Vancouver Canucks returned to Rogers Arena after a long absence:
In his first home game since October 22 against Washington, Baertschi scored twice and tied with Bo Horvat for the team lead with six shots on Darcy Kuemper. It has been so long since we've seen Sven that I completely forgot that he is now in the second year of a charity initiative where he contributes $500 for each goal scored to HEROS Hockey, and is also inviting participation from fans:
Baertschi is now up to five points in six games since returning from his concussion on December 29.
The Canucks definitely looked like they needed a little time to adjust to life back at Rogers Arena. Shots on goal were just 7-5 in favour of the Coyotes in the opening frame, and the Canucks went 15:27 before testing Kuemper for the first time.
They picked things up for the rest of the game, outshooting Arizona 14-6 in the second, 14-8 in the third and 3-1 in overtime.
I'm not too fussed about the end result. Yeah, it's disappointing not to get two points against a division rival, but the game really could have gone either way. And while all the pomp and circumstance of Star Wars Night was an odd distraction, there was a good-sized crowd on hand for the game, and they got more and more involved as the game went on. For a January game against the Coyotes, it was pretty fun to watch.
I can't remember Travis Green missing on a coach's challenge this season before last night. Because of the problems with the broadcast, we didn't have a replay in the press box until after the good goal was confirmed for Arizona's second tally of the night. My gut feeling was that there was enough traffic in front that it could have been called back—and that was before I saw that it was probably kicked in.
Despite a giveaway that led to Arizona's third goal, Adam Gaudette had a strong game in his return to the Canucks lineup after a brief sojourn in Utica. After getting out on Vancouver's secodn power-play unit late in the second period, he stuck with the play and was able to score his third NHL goal of the year.
It was nice to see Gaudette used in more of an offensive role—I think he has some potential as a scorer. He finished the night with three shots on goal in 10:37 of ice time.
The OT winner was a great shot off the rush, and came just after some good chances from Boeser and Horvat. I particularly liked how Horvat had channeled his inner Petey by making an extra move to cut to the middle before testing Kuemper during the 3-on-3 session, but the goalie won that showdown.
The Canucks are off today—but Elias Pettersson is getting closer to returning to action.
He was at the rink before Thursday's game.
How are we feeling about the fact that if he is ready to return, Pettersson's next game will be against Mike Matheson and the Florida Panthers?
Hopefully all the desire for revenge has simmered down since October. And I wouldn't think a Sunday afternoon game would be a powderkeg situation. But part of me wouldn't mind if Pettersson sits that game out and comes back in a somewhat more innocuous (?) situation—another head-to-head matchup against Connor McDavid and the Oilers on Wednesday.
On second thought, I guess every game is a test with an element of high drama when you're Elias Pettersson.
While we pass the time before the next Canucks game, the Utica Comets are back in action this weekend. They host the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Friday at 4 p.m. PT and the Syracuse Crunch on Saturday.
Fans will get another chance for a closer look at the Comets on Saturday–all games for the day are free on AHL TV.