The Canucks fell to the Sharks 4-3 at Rogers Arena to drop their second consecutive game, but it wasn’t the final score that will make headlines tomorrow as Vancouver was once again up against a veteran filled roster.
The biggest loss for the Canucks came in Aaron Rome’s broken finger and Steve Pinizzotto’s dislocated shoulder.
Rome, playing in his second pre-season contest, blocked a shot early in the third period and coach Alain Vigneault confirmed post-game that the finger in question is broken. Pinizzotto, still turning heads in trying to land a roster spot, was hit by Douglas Murray early in the first period; the collision sent him to the ice awkwardly and Vigneault also confirmed his dislocated shoulder diagnosis post-game.
Two tough blows weren’t what coach Vigneault went into the game expecting, but it actually made his evaluation process a little easier.
“I was able to try a couple of different guys in different positions at different times, so for me the picture got clearer,” said Vigneault, adding the Canucks will soon be down to six forward lines and 10 defencemen and two of the final three pre-season games will be played by veterans, including Roberto Luongo.
Vigneault and Canucks management have some tough decisions to make in the next few days, especially with how impressed everyone has been with Vancouver’s last three first round picks: Cody Hodgson, Jordan Schroeder and Nicklas Jensen.
All three played in the back-to-back games this weekend and all three held their own against some of the stiffest competition the Pacific Division has to offer.
“I was expecting that from both Cody and Schroeder, but the young man that has impressed me probably more than those two as far as being able to handle the workload is Jensen.
"There’s a kid that went to Penticton, played three games, came back here, has been put through the paces of the NHL and hasn’t missed a beat - that’s very impressive for an 18-year-old young man. We’ve got a very good kid there and we’ve got to do everything we can to develop him the right way.”
Jensen didn’t dent the scoreboard, but he had a team-high four shots and an assist on a late Canucks goal in the third period. Hodgson found the back of the net for the first time by tipping a bouncing puck in midway through the second period to briefly tie the game up at 2-2 before the Sharks took over.
Eddie Lack was beat on two of his first six shots, but rebounded with a strong 30-save outing. Coming into this game he had yet to surrender a goal during two-half games.
The Canucks are back on the ice Wednesday and Thursday in Anaheim and San Jose before closing out the pre-season at home next Saturday against the Edmonton Oilers.