The home-side Canucks started well with a go ahead goal from enforcer Derek Dorsett. But the Coyotes responded quickly thanks to a partial breakaway goal, courtesy of forward Joe Vitale.
That goal seemed to shock the Canucks and shift the momentum of the game. A couple of unfortunate deflections gave the Coyotes a two goal lead midway through the game.
Former Coyote Radim Vrbata scored a powerplay goal to pull his new team to within one but veteran forward Derek Moss eliminated any chance of a comeback with a late third period goal.
Work in Progress
Despite the loss, head Coach Willie Desjardins will be pleased with several aspects of this game. All three of the Vancouver Canucks major off season additions played well in this game.
Radim Vrbata created chances and scored his second preseason goal. Derek Dorsett killed penalties, scored a goal and used his speed and size effectively to create chances. Despite the two deflections, goalie Ryan Miller looked solid in goal, stopping 31 of 35 shots.
The top three offensive lines for the Canucks did a wonderful job opening up the shooting lanes for their defensemen all game long. The Canucks proved to be the more physical side outhitting their opponents 21-17 in the game.
Out of all the preseason games the Vancouver Canucks have played, this was one of their best ones. However, there are still several areas that this Canucks team need to improve on. The major concern for this team now is to find another consistent faceoff specialist to help Henrik Sedin.
The Coyotes did a good job exploiting this weakness, beating the Canucks 39-26 in faceoffs. Monday’s loss proved that it’ll take some time for this team to find an adequate replacement for Ryan Kesler.
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The rookie line of Horvat, Shinkaruk and Jensen created several chances and forced several turnovers at various points in the game. These kids will certainly improve as the season progresses. They’ll provide that spark that energizes the crowd and boosts the team. This line is built on speed and will cause opponents a lot of grief. The challenge will be if this line will be able to contribute on a consistent basis.
The Vancouver Canucks next preseason game is against the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday. It will be interesting to see what kind of changes head Coach Willie Desjardin has in mind as a result of this defeat.