Vancouver’s power play has been a subject of concern as of late, and that isn’t about to change after its overtime loss to New Jersey.
The Canucks dropped their fourth straight game on Sunday, a 2-1 decision to the Devils after forward Taylor Hall beat goalie Jacob Markstrom 1:28 into the extra period.
Vancouver came into the game with a woeful 19 for 139 on power-play opportunities this season (13.6 per cent), including going 1 for 8 in its last game, a 5-4 shootout loss in Philadelphia.
On Sunday the Canucks squandered three chances with the extra attacker, including a prime opportunity near the midway mark of the third period with the game tied at one. Vancouver didn’t even manage a shot on goal on that particular advantage.
“None of those guys are happy with the way (the power play) is going,” said Vancouver head coach Willie Desjardins. “We’re all frustrated. From the top of the organization all the way through.
“I said at the start of the year that if we wanted to make the playoffs we needed our power play. I believe that.”
The Canucks are two points back of the L.A. Kings for the last wild card spot in the West.
“We’re getting points, we’re staying in the race,” said captain Henrik Sedin. “If you would have told us we would be in this spot a few weeks before Christmas we would have taken it, so we move on and prepare for next game.”
Kyle Quincey scored in regulation for the Devils (18-18-9), who have won two straight after losing four in a row. Former Canucks goalie Cory Schneider made 21 saves for New Jersey.
“It’s nice when you can get the wins where you feel like you’ve been in a competitive hockey game,” said Devils head coach John Hynes. “It wasn’t a situation where, maybe, a goaltender stole the game. I thought both teams played really well. We were fortunate to get the extra point.”
Hall’s overtime winner came on a 2-on-1 with Damon Severson. Hall chose to hold the puck and beat Markstrom through the legs from the right face-off dot.
“On that 2-on-1, when both guys have a lot of speed, it’s tough for Damon to pivot and open up for a one-timer there,” said Hall. “So I thought the play was to shoot and I just tried to get a shot off as quickly as possible and luckily it looked like I surprised him a bit.”
Loui Eriksson scored for the Canucks (20-19-6) while backup Jacob Markstrom got the start for Vancouver and made 20 saves.
Vancouver made it 1-0 at 6:31 in the second with Henrik Sedin dishing from his office behind the opposing team’s net. He found Eriksson streaking in and the winger banged it past Schneider for his 10th of the year. The assist inched Sedin two points away from 1,000 in his career.
The Devils tied it with three minutes left in the second. Quincey’s blast from the blue line caromed off Markus Granlund’s defending stick and over Markstrom’s left shoulder.
Blake Coleman looked to have scored in the third by banking it in off Markstrom’s pad. But Vancouver head coach Willie Desjardins successfully challenged the play was offside and the goal was called back to stay 1-1 with just over three minutes left.
Eriksson had a glorious chance from the slot in the final minute, while on a 4-on-4, but he shot wide, sending the game to overtime.
Jason Keller, The Canadian Press