Can they still beat the LA Kings?
The numbers are daunting. Only three teams in history, out of 167 opportunities, have recovered from a three games to none deficit in the Stanley Cup playoffs. That is a pathetic winning comeback rate of just 1.8%.
So, then it must certainly be time to write the eulogy for this Vancouver Canucks team, should it not?
Not so fast.
Quite clearly the odds are stacked against the team…but keep in mind it has been done.
Most recently, the Philadelphia Flyers set the modern day precedent by taking down the Boston Bruins just two short years ago in 2010 in four straight exhilarating contests.
Lest we forget, the Chicago Blackhawks very nearly pulled off the same feat in last year’s first round against the very same Vancouver Canucks, being denied only by that stunning Alex Burrows knuckler in overtime.
It is inevitable that a fourth team will surmount the same obstacle one day.
But what would it take to get it done?
- Well, it would take a great goalie.
- It would require a veteran team.
- It would need a team with a source of inspiration.
- It would rely on desire.
- It would demand scoring.
Despite their faults in these playoffs so far, the Canucks have still managed to demonstrate all of those characteristics, save the last one.
The two-headed goaltending monster of Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider has generally played well so far.
Sage team leaders are still to be found in Captain Henrik Sedin, blue liner Sami Salo and the coaching staff. I honestly can’t see Daniel Sedin playing any time soon (even though he has flown to LA and will practice on Tuesday), but just his presence there can serve as an inspirational spark.
This team has shown it wants this badly, with 87 shots over games 2 and 3 combined.
The scoring is the key right now
Hansen came close on his shot off the post in the opening stages of game 3, and Burrows could have had another if he had just been able to lift that puck coming from around the net.
The main problem though is that Quick has had far too much opportunity to see the puck clearly. Traffic is needed around the net, like the Pattullo Bridge into Van City on a weekday morning.
Jannik Hansen showed earlier in the series with his backwards tip that even a hot goalie like Quick can do little to stop the puck when his view is obstructed, and amplified with deflected shots.
The power play is not working, so why not take a drastic measure and remedy it by putting the biggest body you can in front to take away the sight lines.
Situate Zack Kassian out there to be the immovable object.
Kassian previously showed some decent hands in his brief 3 minutes and 55 seconds of action the other day with a neat wraparound effort that came close.
The team has looked good in five-on-five play, and should continue in the same vein. Puck luck dictates that something will go in eventually. Don’t expect the big rookie to find any more playing time here.
But Kassian could be the difference maker for a man advantage in the midst of an 0 for 19 drought. There is nothing left to lose here.
This team has the tools, and a recent road map. Two out of four games would remain at home, and they are still the best road team based on the past season.
Don’t count them out just yet.
And remember that the bandwagon now has plenty of legroom right now for you to stretch out in comfort.
Check out my other recent Canucks articles on NWSB.
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