Canucks mired in road skid heading into Washington
The good mojo Bruce Boudreau brought with him to the Vancouver Canucks seems to have run out.
The Canucks suffered their third straight defeat Saturday, dropping a 4-1 decision to the host Carolina Hurricanes.
Vancouver will try to snap that skid when they play Sunday afternoon at Washington.
The Canucks won their first seven games under Boudreau, who replaced the fired Travis Green in early December, but have gone 1-3-1 since while being hampered by coronavirus concerns.
Jaroslav Halak was scheduled to start in goal Saturday but was placed in the COVID-19 protocol before the game. Thatcher Demko took his place and made 29 saves.
“Any time you get those curveballs, it sort of throws off all your prep and planning,” Boudreau said. “The players, all they’re doing is talking about it and worrying whether it’s them next and what’s going to happen.”
Bo Horvat scored the lone goal for the Canucks, who have started a five-game trip by going 0-3-0. It began with a 5-2 loss at Florida and a 4-2 defeat at Tampa Bay.
“I thought we did deserve a little bit better,” Horvat said of Saturday’s game. “I didn’t think we were too far off, personally, but obviously we weren’t good enough to win.”
The Capitals were also in action Saturday, snapping a four-game losing streak (0-2-2) with a 2-0 victory against the New York Islanders in Elmont, N.Y.
Washington’s Vitek Vanacek, making his first start since Dec. 19, stopped 23 shots for his first shutout of the season.
“I wasn’t thinking about it; I want to try and help the team,” Vanecek said. “I know we’d lost four games in a row, and I tried to help the team win the game.”
Tom Wilson and Alex Ovechkin scored for the Capitals, the latter an empty-netter with 11 seconds remaining. It was the 36-year-old Ovechkin’s 25th goal of the season, second in the NHL to Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl, and the 755th of his career, fourth in league history.
“We had a little disconnect the last couple of games,” Wilson said. “(The Islanders) have a heavy forecheck, so we were forced to come back in the zone, help our ‘D’ break it out, break out with speed, get our feet moving.
“We were rolling them over for the first 40 minutes. I think they had a bit of a wave in the third where they pushed a little bit, but that’s expected. We weathered it for two or three shifts and got back to work. We’ve got to take the two points and keep building on that.”
Two of Vanecek’s three career shutouts have come against the Islanders, after beating them 1-0 last April 27.
“I thought Vitek was really good,” Washington coach Peter Laviolette said. “He’s had some good practice days to get back into a rhythm. He wasn’t real busy, and sometimes those are the tougher games to stay into, just because the action’s not as heavy. But when we did need some saves, I thought he was focused.”
Capitals forward T.J. Oshie left Saturday’s game in the first period because of an upper-body injury. He’s considered day-to-day.
–Field Level Media