The Canucks were very good until the first Canes goal. Then they were very bad. And then the Canes were terrible from 7 seconds before Horvat's goal to the end of the game, which is why the Canucks got a point. They won because of a perfectly played rush with a perfect finish aided by a nice no-call trip by Daniel Sedin on Jeff Skinner (whose wide-eyed 1 against 3 play deserved nothing less). 3 on 3 needs good individual play, and they got that from Sutter's rush and Hutton's hustle to make it a 2 on 1.
The two turnovers that led to the first two goals were absolutely brutal and were more of a function of a Canes meltdown than the Super-Canucks. One (the Granlund goal) was a total unforced error (but capitalized well), the other (Horvat's) was under pressure that an NHLer should be able to handle (and frankly, Lack should have stopped). Still, it was good to see the team take advantage of another teams errors.
Don't mistake my credit to the Canes as losing this more than the Canucks winning it as disregarding the effort the Canucks gave for about 40 minutes last night. There were times they were playing well, and the forecheck seems improved. I don't think that this team is talented enough to win with a 40 minute effort unless they are playing a team with as many warts as the Canucks, and the Canes are that (and then some). But for this team to make the playoffs, they have to win games they shouldn't win (the Canucks didn't do this too much last year after the first month) and they have to win games where the other team is not playing well. Sometimes teams play poorly; sometimes the opposing team makes them play poorly. Last season, the Canucks neither capitalized on errors nor created many. In these first two games, game one they created errors with solid play and then couldn't capitalize and in game two they capitalized on the Canes self-inflicted errors.
The other things the Canucks have to do is get cheap points from the shoot out and overtime. 2 for 2 in that category so far, and 4 points in two games feels a lot different than 2 points in 2 games. It is a really small sample size, but don't discount the psychological effect winning can have on a young club.
The good. Granlund, Hansen, and Sutter. If players with speed who can counter attack are doing well in today's NHL, this is the only Canuck group that can do this consistently. They were dangerous last night and Granlund looks far more confident.
Also good was that when the team got down, Hutton, Edler, and Larsen all took turns pushing the play. For a team that used to get a respectable amount of offense from the blue line, it was good to see all of them have some success in the transition and pinching game when the team needed to take more risks.
The steady. Gudbrandson is as advertised and brings a pretty good stick (remember Sami Salo) to the defensive zone. While he might have been the most valuable player in game 1, in many respects, this was a quieter game and one that if he can play game in and game out, will mean the Canucks blue line is a step up on last year's (admittedly injury riddled) corps.
The bad Markstrom might have qualified given that he was neither good positionally nor was he picking up the puck (leading to fat rebounds), but I give him credit for stopping the bleeding. For the bad, I am going to pick on Gaunce. He was more noticeable than against the Flames, but only because he failed so obviously instead of never playing well enough to be in the game. He was weak on the puck, wasn't able to control the puck and maintain his speed, and blew some tires. He doesn't have a lot of NHL games under his belt, so there is a lot that could develop with experience and age. But he has to find some way to contribute or he is going to spend his career as a tweener.