Yeah, the Vancouver Canucks looked fatigued on Sunday — playing their second game, on the road, in less than 24 hours.
It was only a matter of time before their opponent, the Washington Capitals, was able to extend the lead in the third period.
Justin Williams finished off a pretty passing play, with Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin setting it up, giving Washington a two-goal lead in a game where the Canucks could not manufacture much of anything offensively, particularly on the power play.
Anton Rodin may be getting closer to eventually making his debut for the Vancouver Canucks.
Signed by the Canucks to a one-year deal in March, Rodin has yet to play a regular season game in Vancouver because of injury.
Rodin suffered a severed tendon, which required surgery, last season while playing in Sweden. At the end of July, he admitted he still wasn’t 100 per cent healthy. After playing in the NHL pre-season for Vancouver, the 26-year-old forward was held out of the lineup when the regular season got underway because there was swelling and soreness in his surgically repaired knee.
On Sunday, however, the Canucks sent Rodin down to Utica on a conditioning assignment.
The plan, per News 1130 Sports in Vancouver, is for Rodin to play two games for the AHL’s Comets, and then the Canucks will evaluate how his injured knee is doing.
It’s easy to see why the Canucks would be eager to get Rodin in the lineup at the NHL level.
Originally drafted by Vancouver in 2009, he’s got tantalizing skill, coming off 37 points in 33 games last season in Sweden, where he was named the Elite League’s most valuable player — despite the injury.
Despite issues with his knee, he was still impressive during the pre-season with the Canucks.
Meanwhile, the Canucks continue their road trip today in Washington.
Talk about the ideal start.
Patrick Marleau scored just 12 seconds into the first period and the San Jose Sharks had a 2-1 lead before Saturday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes was even four minutes old.
The Sharks held on for a 4-3 win over the Hurricanes, Kevin Labanc‘s goal late in the second period standing as the winner, as the two teams traded three goals in the span of just over three minutes.
It remains awfully crowded in the Pacific Division. The Flames lead with 34 points, while the Sharks, Ducks and Oilers are all one point back.
The victory came with bad news for the Sharks.
Defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic left the game in the second period and didn’t return. He’s now day-to-day with a lower-body injury, according to coach Pete DeBoer following the win.
Is there a changing of the guard in the Pacific Division?
It’s the middle of December and the Calgary Flames, now with six straight wins, lead the same division dominated last season by the California powers in Anaheim, San Jose and L.A. The Edmonton Oilers have been inconsistent at times this season but they are right there, too, one point back. Same goes for the Ducks. The Sharks and Kings are definitely in contention.
There is plenty of hockey remaining in the season. Plenty of chances for change in the NHL’s division standings, including in the Pacific. But there’s no denying the Flames are on an impressive run.
Late last month, they had a particularly frustrating loss to Philadelphia and coach Glen Gulutzan voiced his displeasure about it. They followed that up the next day with an overtime loss to the Islanders. Prior to that weekend, there had been rumblings about the future of Gulutzan with the club, despite being only a few months into his tenure.
But since then, the Flames have yet to lose. They continued their winning streak with a convincing 6-2 victory over the visiting Jets on Saturday.
Dougie Hamilton — remember all that trade speculation surrounding the Flames defenseman and Brian Burke’s classic response? — had two goals for Calgary. Chad Johnson was solid in net again. It was a pretty dominant performance all around.
Frustrating night for the Jets and it showed when Dustin Byfuglien dropped the gloves with Garnet Hathaway late in the third period.
There are more difficult tests ahead for Calgary.
The Flames face the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday and then the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday.
In previous seasons, a Friday night game between the Flames and Blue Jackets in the middle of December might not garner much interest. But they are both among the hottest teams in the league right now and it’s likely not many would’ve predicted that a short time ago.
The Arizona Coyotes have moved out of last place in the NHL’s overall standings, courtesy a 4-1 win over the Nashville Predators on Saturday.
Minus forward Max Domi, placed on IR and expected to be out on a week-to-week basis, the Coyotes got a 44-save performance from goalie Mike Smith and recently recalled forward Brendan Perlini pitched in with his first career NHL goal.
That goal gave Arizona a 3-1 lead. Thanks to the play of Smith, the Coyotes wouldn’t relinquish the lead, snapping a six-game losing skid.
It wasn’t all good news for the Coyotes.
Defenseman Connor Murphy played only 4:12. He left the game with an upper-body injury and didn’t return. Per reports, Murphy is considered day-to-day at this point.