Vancouver Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom came into tonight's game on the verge of a dubious record: four games away from the most career games for a starting NHL goaltender without recording a shutout. Welp...
Such is the way the Carolina Hurricanes longest road trip of the season began, as the Canes fell to the Canucks 3-0 for their first shutout loss of the season. The game followed an all too familiar pattern for the Canes; a solid first period which bore no fruit, followed by a second period that began with the Canucks taking control of the action and never relinquishing it.
Their stranglehold on the game began almost three minutes into the second period, as Derrick Pouliot breezed down right wing on the rush, and slipped over into the slot to snap one past Scott Darling on his glove side, making the score 1-0.
As play continued in the second, the Canucks continued to assert themselves, applying pressure in all three zones of the ice. That pressure was rewarded when Josh Jooris was sent off for slashing at 12:11 of the period. In the resulting power play, Thomas Vanek, parked himself in front of the net behind Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce, got his stick on a Sam Gagner shot, and directed it past Darling to make it 2-0.
During the power play, Marcus Kruger was upended by Sven Baertschi and fired the puck toward the official after the goal was scored, earning a 10-minute misconduct.
While the Canes controlled play for the first six minutes of the third period, they were again one-upped by the Canucks, as Nikolay Goldobin found his way to the front of the net, taking a pass from Horvat in the corner. Goldobin clanged one off the left post, then gathered the rebound and beat Darling to put the nail in the Canes coffin at 3-0.
A main driver of play for the Canucks, Pouliot, who was acquired 8th overall by the Penguins in the 2012 draft after the Canes traded the pick for Jordan Staal, recorded a three-point night.
The Canes were again able to out-shoot an opponent, 29-22. The inability to turn opportunities into goals, particularly early in the contest, led to what has become a somewhat consistent pattern. They have now been outscored 25-18 in the second period this season.
The Canes will look to right the ship on the next leg of their road trip as they head to San Jose to take on the Sharks at 10:30 on Thursday night.
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