Canucks Blast Capitals 6-2

Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

The Washington Capitals fell to the Vancouver Canucks 6-2 Thursday night at Rogers Arena in Vancouver. The loss dropped the Capitals record to 4-5-1 for the season. The Capitals are now off to Edmonton for a Saturday night showdown with Connor McDavid and the Oilers. Puck drop is 10:00 PM. 

Braden Holtby got the start in goal for the Capitals. This was his first start in six days. Anders Nilsson got the start in net for the Canucks.

Nicklas Backstrom (illness) did not play tonight. He is listed as “day-to-day”. Andre Burakovsky missed his first game due to a fractured left thumb suffered in the last game against the Panthers. Matt Niskanen missed his 5th game due to an injured left thumb.

A rather even start to the game with even offensive zone time through the first 10 minutes of the opening frame. Caps led is shots on goal 2-1 after 7 minutes of play. Christian Djoos was whistled for the game’s first penalty (hooking) at the 7:39 mark, giving the Canucks the game’s first man advantage, but the Canucks would be unable to convert. The Canucks had the third worst power play entering the game.

The Caps looked to be the first fresher team in the early going. This was the Caps first game since Saturday and the Canucks were playing their first home game after returning yesterday from a five-game road trip. Braden Holtby was also strong in the early going.

However, the Canucks would we the first to light lamp when Thomas Vanek batted home a close range shot at the 12:53 mark.

The Canucks would stretch the lead to 2-0 with a power play goal by Bo Horvat with 4:57 left in the first period.

The Canucks would extend their lead to 3-0 with a goal from Markus Granlund with 1:17 remaining in the first period. Dmitry Orlov misplayed a puck in the corner which was subsequently corralled by the Canucks and centered for the Granlund goal.

The period would end with the Canucks leading 3-0. The first 12 minutes were scoreless and evenly played, then the Canucks would tally three goals in 6 minutes. The Canucks outshot the Capitals 15-4 for the opening frame. The Canucks were 1 for 2 and the Capitals 0 for 0 on the power play.

The Capitals would have good looks at the start of the middle frame, as Tom Wilson had two excellent chances but could not convert. The Capitals would return to the penalty kill at the 11:44 mark following a tripping call on Taylor Chorney, and it cost the Caps as the Canucks added their 4th tally at 9:49 with a slow-trickler by Sven Baertschi.

The Canucks would make it 5-0 with a goal by Derek Dorsett with 5 minutes left in the middle frame, and that would be it for Braden Holtby, as Philipp Grubauer would replace him.

Evgeny Kuznetsov would get the Capitals on the board with a close range wrister at the 15:17 mark. This was Kuznetsov’s first goal of the season.

The period would end with the Canucks leading 5-1. Shots on goal were tied 8-8 for the middle frame, with the Canucks leading 23-12 after two periods of play. Brett Connolly was injured at the end of the first period and would try to go at the start of the second period, but would leave the game and not return. Connolly took two shots to the head before leaving the game.

The Capitals had several early chances but once again were unable to find the back of the net. Tom Wilson would look to find retribution for the Connolly hits and eventually drop the gloves with Erik Gudbranson at the 8:22 mark. Wilson would be tagged with an instagator, 2 minutes for cross-checking, 5 minutes for fighting and a game misconduct, as the game began to deteriorate. The Canucks would take advantage of the power play and extend the lead to 6-1 at the 10:29 mark with a goal by Sven Baertschi.

Chandler Stephenson would notch his first NHL goal late to make it 6-2. Former Hershey team mate Madison Bowey would be credited with an assist, his first NHL point. Nathan Walker, also a former team mate in Hershey, was on the ice for the goal.

Call by John Walton

The game would conclude with the Canucks winning 6-2. NHL box score can be found here.


  • Stephenson is the third Capitals player this season to score their first career NHL in the respective player’s first game of the season (Walker, Djoos).
  • The Caps Penalty Kill has now allowed at least one PPG in seven of the past eight games.
  • Capitals are 2-5-0 in last seven games.
  • Capitals under .500 for the first time since November, 2014.
  • Brett Connolly went through concussion protocol and will be re-evaluated tomorrow.

By Jon Sorensen


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About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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16 Responses to Canucks Blast Capitals 6-2

  1. Anonymous says:

    BMGM said the rookie D would require some a reliance on the best tandem in the league… #70 and G… neither have done anything this year. Shots were not bad tonight and Holtby has to play better.

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  3. Diane Doyle says:

    This game reminds me of when the played San Jose back in Nov 2008, They dominated in shots early but San Jose got the first goal and then went on to win the game by a big margin. Difference back then — San Jose had gotten off to an uber hot start and went on to win the Presidents’ Trophy and get halaked in the playoffs.

    Caps were very injury decimated at the time, too. Semin and Fedorov had been out a while. Green had gotten injured in their previous game on road trip and was out.

    But Vancouver was supposed to be a mediocre team this year, as opposed to a great team. Looks like a long season for the Caps.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Nisky back is important but trading a G for young D is bigger

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