A New Oilow
Well, that was ugly.
No sooner had you settled into a Saturday night match-up with the Edmonton Oilers when Taylor Hall opened the scoring just like that, setting the tone for a wild start that saw the Oilers score three times and hit the post once on the games first four shots.
It was unbelievable.
Are we panicking yet?
1. Luongo, eventually
After he game in to relieve Schneider, Luongo fared no better and allowed his first shot in as well before giving up Hall’s hat-trick goal in the powerplay.
Still, once he shook off the rust he was Vancouver’s best player, robbing Hall of his fourth goal with the biggest and most meaningless save he’s made all year.
With the trade deadline, looming perhaps it was his last big save as a Canuck.
2. Well, it’s a wake-up call
And the response has been swift.
It’s something, and Jensen’s NHL debut should add another interesting wrinkle to this week’s deadline.
3. It’s over
This game will never happen again. There’s still a month to go before the playoffs.
This isn’t the end of the world if the Canucks can bounce back. Problem is, this game highlighted some big issues that have been plaguing the team, in some cases, for years.
Thankfully, time only forward and so I pray too do the Canucks.
1. Defensive zone coverage
Going back to last year, this has been an untimely issue that keeps popping up every so often, and can lead to these disaster games the Canucks have pretty much made their trademark.
When the wheels fall off…it ain’t pretty. This high-stakes game of defensive Russian roulette is definitely the Canucks achilles heel, or maybe it’s…
2. The powerplay
Atrocious. Difficult to watch and dead last in the league. The Canucks won Presidents’ Trophies with their powerplay and now that they’ve gone from first to worst with the man advantage, the associated drain on the team has become clear.
With Ryan Kesler out and the Sedins down a step, scoring is at such a premium for this club it’s almost like we’ve come full circle to when Alain Vigneault and Roberto Loungo first arrived.
Fix the powerplay, even get it up to league average, and the success will follow.
3. Another gut punch
Being a Canucks fan means expecting the gut punch. The only franchise to lose two Stanley Cup final Game 7s has made a reputation among fans for letting them down so hard when they want to.
It’s Stockholm Syndrome at this point really as the Canucks limp towards the playoffs lethargic, confused and injured and looking worse than the club that managed to take the Kings to five in the first round.
Still, maybe they’re just a healthy Ryan Kesler away from taking us away from all this.
Three star selections
1st: T. Hall
2nd: D. Dubnyk
3rd: R. Nugent-Hopkins