Vancouver Canucks 4 at Tampa Bay Lightning 5 – 2023-01-12 recap

Again, the Canucks were horribly outplayed, and again, they had a chance to win.

I don’t watch games live. Since it takes hours to track games after the fact and I’m already pressed for time doing other things, spending two-and-a-half hours watching an NHL game I will watch later is simply a waste of the day. But I do tune in when games are close or particularly meaningful and I want to get the full live experience.

Frankly, I’d tuned out of this game, until I saw that the Canucks had somehow turned a 5-2 deficit into a 5-4 deficit. Then I pulled the game up on my iPad and saw replays of Conor Garland getting punched in the head by Mikhail Sergachev, and referee Kyle Rehman choosing to ignore it.

I’ll get into my thoughts on the state of NHL officiating and Tampa Bay benefiting from it when I’m a little looser. It barely matters if Sergachev got suspended or even fined, since it ultimately cost the Canucks a chance a great chance at tying the game, giving them 40 seconds of a 6-on-3.

What else cost the Canucks a chance to win the game? The fact that the 6-on-4 lineup at the end of the game was Elias Pettersson, Bo Horvat, JT Miller, Brock Boeser, Quinn Hughes, and… Curtis Lazar? Lazar wound up getting a glorious chance right at the buzzer that didn’t fall, because Lazar isn’t a good finisher and couldn’t elevate the puck in tight. Depending on where you stand with regards to tanking, this was a positive outcome. From where I stand, even though I think the Canucks would be better off losing more games than they win, the losses will come. Losing lots of close games is miserable and won’t make players want to play there if they can be elsewhere and win. You don’t want core players to accept losing games all the time. It becomes an inevitability later on for them.

As I said, the Canucks were outplayed, horribly.

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