Author: Cam Tucker

Canucks’ Dorsett: ‘We’ve got to come with our best effort every night’


Facing the Arizona Coyotes, losers of 10 straight heading into Thursday and in the battle for the Connor McDavid sweepstakes, the Vancouver Canucks looked to have two points just waiting for them.

All they had to do was put in the time, take them, and move on to the San Jose Sharks on Saturday.

Instead, the Coyotes came away with a 3-2 shootout victory after the Canucks got off to a horrendous first-period start and needed a third-period comeback just to earn the single point. Against a team that is in a quick spiral down the Western Conference standings, the Canucks were guilty of some egregious turnovers and Eddie Lack was forced to make some huge saves in overtime.

Just seven days before their loss in Arizona, the Canucks were beaten in Buffalo.

In a playoff race, teams can’t afford to throw away points against lesser opponents. In seven days, the Canucks wasted four points against the Coyotes and Sabres alone. Could mean the difference between a post-season berth or another early start on the golf course.

“It’s something that we get reminded of but we have to take it on as players and be professional,” said forward Derek Dorsett, speaking on TSN 1040 radio in Vancouver on Friday.

“We all want to get to the playoffs, and we know what we have to do to get to the playoffs, and that’s win games. We’ve got to get as many points as we can, when we can. It doesn’t matter if we’re playing (Arizona) or San Jose, we’ve got to come with our best effort every night this time of year.”

And at this time of year, there are going to be injuries and ailments.

From The Province:

Shawn Matthias back on wing, Linden Vey back from purgatory and Ronalds Keninis back to reality.

In what looks more like a playoff-ready lineup — one that will be bolstered when Brad Richardson returns from an ankle injury — the Vancouver Canucks talked Friday about getting their heads and their games into postseason mode as they prepare to face the San Jose Sharks on Saturday.

Chiarelli believes Krug, Smith deals give cap-crunched Bruins ‘flexibility’

Peter Chiarelli

With the summer off-season only a few months away — feels odd writing that because the playoffs haven’t started yet — the Boston Bruins will have a number of decisions to make, with pending unrestricted free agents and restricted free agents, as they try to squeeze in under the salary cap.

(It’s not yet known exactly what the salary cap will be for next season, although it’s expected to be in the range of $71 million to $73 million, according to a report in late January.)

On Friday, the Bruins took care of some of that business, announcing they had signed defenseman Torey Krug to a one-year, $3.4 million deal and forward Reilly Smith to a two-year, $6.85 million deal.

The Bruins, facing a cap crunch that limited what they were able to do at this week’s trade deadline, are nearing $58 million committed to 13 players for next season, according to the Boston Globe.

But general manager Peter Chiarelli believes these two deals will give the Bruins some room to move going forward.

“These are players we always liked and have a bright future for us. Term was important. It’s shorter term and gives us more flexibility and it gives them more flexibility as far as performing on a short term platform and becoming more of a fixture of us going forward,” said Chiarelli, as per CSN New England.

“The one and two year terms were important to us. These were deals that came about, the ideas and the philosophies came out a little bit more after we signed the one year deals.”

Kings defeat Habs in shootout to tighten up West playoff race

Marian Gaborik, Drew Doughty

With less than a minute remaining in regulation, his team needing a win and down a goal, Marian Gaborik came through. And he did so again in the shootout, too.

Gaborik scored early in the period, and then the tying goal with 45 seconds remaining in the third period to send Thursday’s game between his L.A. Kings and the visiting Montreal Canadiens to overtime. In the shootout, Gaborik scored L.A.’s first goal and the Kings eventually prevailed over the Habs, with Dustin Tokarski in net, by a final score of 4-3.

After getting dominated through the opening 20 minutes — the Kings held a 13-2 advantage in shots on goal — the Habs got back into the game and took the lead in the third period.

That was before Gaborik’s heroics. Jeff Carter and Anze Kopitar also scored in the shootout.

And that has only tightened up the playoff race in the Western Conference.

The Kings came back to win in a shootout.

The Minnesota Wild won in regulation.

The Calgary Flames won in a shootout.

The Vancouver Canucks lost in the shootout.

These are results that could eventually determine the post-season picture.

With a single point, the Canucks stayed second in the Pacific Division. But both the Flames and Kings are right on their heels, each sitting with 74 points, two back of Vancouver.

Each of those three teams have now played 64 games. Eventually, something has to give.

‘Looked like we thought they were just going to stop playing,’ says Backes after loss to Flyers


When it comes to winning percentage after scoring first, the St. Louis Blues are among the best teams in the National Hockey League. On Thursday, against the Philadelphia Flyers, they were less than 11 minutes away from improving on that statistic.

Then it all fell apart.

The Blues surrendered three goals in the final 10:13 of regulation, losing to the Flyers by a final score of 3-1. Philadelphia got goals from Michael Del Zotto and Wayne Simmonds less than two minutes apart, taking the lead from St. Louis.

Blues captain David Backes offered a critical assessment of his team’s play in the final period, which cost them two points.

“It almost looked like we thought they were just going to stop playing and give us the last 20 minutes off,” said Backes, as per Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The Flyers now move to within four points of the Boston Bruins for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Lack sensational but Canucks lose to lowly Coyotes in the shootout


The Vancouver Canucks looked doomed from the start. On the road, up against the Arizona Coyotes, who have only lost 10 in a row. And the Canucks fell right into the trap.

Despite a late third-period comeback and some sensational saves from goalie Eddie Lack — which only came after his teammates, including Daniel Sedin, were guilty of some atrocious turnovers — the Canucks fell by a final score of 3-2 in the shootout.

Maybe it was Arizona’s jerseys. The Coyotes were wearing their original throwback uniforms. Just like old times.

Sam Gagner scored the lone goal in the skills competition. Other than that, Lack was solid later in the game. He was forced to rob Shane Doan on a breakaway early in overtime after a horrendous pass from Sedin, and made another glove save in OT. Giving his team a chance, at least.

The win snaps Arizona’s losing streak at 10 games.

This skid has gotten the Coyotes right into the thick of the Connor McDavid sweepstakes. Odd, because the Canucks, fighting for a playoff spot, have now lost to the Coyotes and Buffalo Sabres, another team in the running to land the top pick in the 2015 draft, in the span of seven days.

In this case, the Canucks still get the single point. They maintain the second spot in the Pacific Division, two points ahead of the Calgary Flames, who, thanks to a beauty and unlikely shootout goal from David Schlemko, topped the Boston Bruins earlier in the evening.