Kicked In The Guts
In a familiar feeling this year, the Canucks let another game slip away. 19 games into the season the club has but 19 points, logjamming them in the middle of a tight Western Conference that holds little separation except for the kings at the top, the Chicago Blackhawks.
1. Hansen & The Twins
Still not completely convinced on the Jannik Hansen as the third twin experiment but it proved its worth last night on the Canucks only goal of the game. All Hansen had to do was bang home the puck, but better men have tried that on the Canucks wing and failed.
His third period shorthanded breakaway however evidenced his stone hands that still make me think twice about his long-term future on the top line.
2. Crawford Played Well
Give Corey Crawford a lot of credit in this one because the Canucks and Hawks were deadlocked in a nailbiter until the third period blew wide open. Crawford in particular was fantastic, making up for his performance a couple weeks ago in Chicago.
It wasn’t for lack of trying that this game was ripe for the Hawks’ taking.
Ryan Kesler‘s hooking penalty early in the second period led to Canuck-killer Andrew Brunette’s tying goal and was the only way Kesler found himself on the scoresheet last night, but it was the Canucks’ first minor penalty in six periods and on a night like this that’s good enough for a love em.
There seems to be a trend when the Canucks and Hawks play games. The first game, the Canucks utilize their powerplay to win, and the second game the refs put their whistles in their pockets.
It’s happened in all three playoff series and it happened again last night as the Canucks had not a single chance to flex their powerplay muscles despite a number of seemingly infraction-worthy plays by the Hawks.
I’m not crying conspiracy just yet, I’ll leave that to Tony Gallagher, but is enough to make you search out the tinfoil in your kitchen.
2. Let’s talk effort levels.
Once again, the Canucks didn’t have one. The usual October funk has now lingered through to it’s third uninvited week in November and honestly there’s not a whole lot that would make you expect it to change any time soon.
Cory Schneider again was given no goals to work with, just 2 total in his 4 losses this year, and the second line again was invisible.
Kesler is still hurting, I get that and saw it when he crashed hard into the boards at the end of the second, but something has to give at some point.
If he can’t get it going, the Canucks forwards are the Sedins and a collection of third liners and against teams like say the Hawks you’ll get results like say this.
Hopefully playing just twice in the next week gives Kesler time to refind his game. With Malhotra looking equally as lost, the Canucks are all of a sudden weak down the middle.
3. Finally, what exactly happened with Cody Hodgson tonight?
After a string of strong games and nine points to start the year, Cody had a weird shift in the first and promptly found himself benched. It was a headscratcher by AV. The kid has been one of the better Canucks of late and was far from the only Canuck to commit some brutal giveaways.
Was a lesson learnt? Probably.
Was a game lost? Yup.
I’m not saying Cody would have been the difference-maker but he clearly wasn’t going to do anything exiled on the fourth line.
For a coach that may be feeling a noose around his neck if things don’t improve soon it was a curious decision and a good example of the flaws of Alain Vigneault.
Thankfully we have three long long days to stew over and dissect this game. If the Canucks don’t win against Ottawa on Sunday prepare for a full-scale meltdown.
Though of course more likely they’ll win that one and drop the next one against Colorado.