Vancouver – The Vancouver Canucks hit the National Hockey League quarterfinal on Thursday, but it feels more like a quarter-final to beat them.
The Canucks jumped from a two-goal deficit to just two more goals as the Dallas Stars defeated Vancouver 4-2 at Rogers Arena.
The Stars, 9-1-1 in 11 games played since the start of the 1-7-1, are now as warm as they ever were Kanaks. October heat in Vancouver has cooled off. At 10-7-3 through 20 games, Kanax still leads the Western Conference standings, but the teams seem to be heading in the opposite direction.
The Canucks have been 1-4-1 in their last six games and failed to build momentum on Thursday after a 5-3 win Tuesday against the Nashville Predators. It was the only game of the six in which Vancouver managed to score more than twice.
Outside of the offense, which was unsustainable from its October levels, there are several other uncertain trends.
Starting goalkeeper Jacob Markstrom, who over the weekend tackled the emotional agony of his father's terminal illness and subsequent cancer deaths, allowed four goals on 29 shots on Thursday and posted a 0.895 save percentage in his last six starts. And injuries to the lower part of the squad appear to reach critical mass.
Coach Travis Green acknowledged on Thursday that the absence of third-and-fourth-graders Brandon Satter and Jayne Beagle, both big, experienced players who feature in penalty shoot-outs and in defensive situations, felt against the "heavier" stars.
However, Kanaks was within the Dallas goal with three minutes remaining and continued to play hard and stay competitive. And those 23 points from 20 games played to a season of 94 points, which would put them in a frenzy at the playoffs in April.
"You catch me at night when we lose a game of hockey," Green said when asked in a post-game brief assessment of the first quarter of the Canucks. "If you catch me after the Nashville game, I'm probably going to be a little more optimistic, I guess. I think our team played well.
"If you go over 20 games, man, there weren't many games that we didn't play a good hockey game. We learn some things as we go along, though. Tonight was one of those games. Heavier team came and played a good game on the road. Our team learns as it goes. Overall, after 20 games played, I guess I'm pretty happy with how our team played. "
Defender Troy Stacher summed up: "We work hard. I think we prove that we will compete and fight every game. We try to make it difficult for other teams to play against (us). We take pride in our speed son and play straight. This is year 4 for me now (at NHL) and I feel like the pre-season is one level, until Christmas is different, and then it goes away.
"Definitely, we need to continue to improve. We need to be better as a group. "
They should have been a better Thursday in winning and managing their pussy.
Physical Stars defend fiercely and feed on mistakes to score goals. Green said Kanax didn't win enough battles and didn't care for her pussy.
Alex Radulov's two-in-one clinical play goal with 2:36 left came after Canuk's top defender Alex Edler flipped the puck into the neutral zone and then followed his bad pass and was caught.
Tyler Seguin's entry broke the 2-2 lead at 18:29 of the second period when Canuk Bo Horvat allowed Dallas defender Miro Faiskanen to counter in front of him after Jordi Ben's shot was blocked in the Stars' blue line.
"When you overturn the pile, you give up the quick chances," Green said. "That's what happens in the league and they are good at it.
"I thought we turned the pack a couple of times it seemed to us. And I thought they won a few more battles than us. They are a tough team. They know how to defend themselves hard. You've got to have a skateboard, you have to play straight, and you can't turn the pickup against them or they'll go the other way quickly.
"I don't think we had a lot of guys that were great tonight."
Seguin's goal was a disappointing end to a strong midfield for the Kanaks, who started their comeback at 5:21 on the Uday Wirtenen goal and tied it 2-2 at 11:30 am when Stecker's ankle dipped through a thick dense player and the last Stars goalkeeper, Anton Kudobin.
Driving an 8-1-1 tie in the standings, Dallas led 1: 3, 3:45 after an opening face-to-face, when Justin Justin Dowling skated past Canouk defender Tyler Meyers, drove a pass from Seguin and badly dealt Marxtrom. move.
The goalkeeper then allowed a comeback from Blake Cotto at 4:03 of the second period after the Dallas striker embarrassed Steiner with an outside and quick move.
"Whenever you walk so bad, you just want to hide almost," Stecher said. "Moresso, I felt bad for the team. You put them in a difficult spot when you go down. To come back, it feels good. “
Stehr was referring to his tying goal – the last of the night for the painstaking Canucks.
"It felt like we had a pretty solid game," Wirtanen said. "We have had pressure on them and they get the last of it. We could have done some smarter shows. "
• Green said on the morning skate that Sutter, who left Nashville with a groin injury, will miss at least a week and then be re-examined. Beagle missed his second straight game with an undisclosed injury. Solid forward Tyler Mott (leg) and Michael Sherland (concussion) are also out.