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Struggling Canucks targeting road win vs. Kraken

Sportsnaut
Oct 24, 2022; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks head coach Bruce Boudreau on the bench against Carolina Hurricanes in the first period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Kraken finally overcame their home jitters Tuesday, defeating the Buffalo Sabres 5-1 for their first victory at Climate Pledge Arena this season.

The Vancouver Canucks would just like to find a way to win anywhere.

The Canucks, who are winless in their first seven games (0-5-2) will look to snap that skid when they play Thursday night at Seattle.

Vancouver’s skid was extended Monday at home as they lost 3-2 to Carolina, giving up two goals 37 seconds apart early in the third period.

J.T. Miller scored twice, and Thatcher Demko made 36 saves, yet the Canucks remained the NHL’s only winless team and failed for an eighth consecutive time, dating back to last season, to give coach Bruce Boudreau his 600th career victory.

“Night in and night out, losing, it takes a toll on you mentally, physically,” Vancouver captain Bo Horvat said. “It’s frustrating right now, obviously, and you’ve got to stay optimistic. You can’t just keep beating yourself up or keep feeling sorry for yourself, because it’s just going to get worse if you do that.”

Vancouver has been outscored 15-2 in the third period this season and was outshot by Carolina 15-3 in that period Monday.

“I’m not a psychiatrist,” Boudreau said. “I mean, sometimes coaches have to be. But I think maybe … they don’t want to make the mistake, to be the one that loses the game. But in effect when you’re doing that, that’s what you do. You become the player that makes the mistake because you don’t play forward, you’re playing waiting.

“It’s like we’re afraid to push. It’s like they’re standing around and looking like, ‘Oh, what’s going to happen now?’ And it’s unfortunate because I think they all care.”

The Canucks have by far the league’s worst penalty kill, stopping only 57.1% of the opponents’ chances (Anaheim is next at 65.4%) and injuries have started to take a toll.

Defenseman Quinn Hughes (lower body) was placed on injured reserve Monday and forward Brock Boeser didn’t play because of an undisclosed injury before also being placed on IR.

The Kraken had failed to hold a lead in any of their first three home games of the season before Jamie Oleksiak and Morgan Geekie scored in the opening 5:39 Tuesday.

Daniel Sprong had a goal and two assists and goaltender Martin Jones, shouldering the load with Philipp Grubauer on IR with a lower-body injury, made 15 saves. Jared McCann and Matty Beniers also tallied.

Sprong was playing in just his second game of the season after he was stuck in Alberta for a week following the preseason because of visa issues.

“I just wanted to have a good bounce back game,” Sprong said. “I had to miss the first two games because of the visa and I just wanted to get my rhythm back from training camp. I had a good week of practice and it felt good, so I wanted to play well.”

The Kraken bounced back after blowing a two-goal lead in a 5-4 loss Sunday at Chicago.

“I think it’s just about falling into a lull, you start cheating a little bit and getting away from our game,” Geekie said. “I think (Tuesday), maybe a couple of shifts we had that. But it was maybe one shift here and one shift there and then we got back on track.”

–Field Level Media