Play Down To Their Level
Ugh. Two days after sleepwalking through a 2-1 loss to the worst team in the Western Conference, the Vancouver Canucks put up a bigger fight against the worst team in the East.
Unfortunately, the Carolina Hurricanes didn’t sleepwalk through this game either and the Canucks fell short in a 4-3 loss.
It was just their second regulation loss in 12 games, but blowing a 2-0 lead in a game like this is cause for concern especially when Jeff Skinner and Joni Pitkanen were both sidelined with concussions.
Vancouver native Drayson Bowman had two goals for the Canes.
More importantly, with two assists Henrik Sedin picked up the 700th point of his career.
The speed merchant is flying since returning from his back injury and looks motivated to prove his worth on this team in a contract year.
The injuries have afforded him the opportunity and he’s running with it.
The Canucks first goal came courtesy of Kevin Bieksa who had another strong game.
Aside from the goal, Bieksa was usual snarly self in another chippy game. Bieksa was tangling with Hurricane players all night long, including during his goal celebration, and nailed Tuomo Ruutu out of frustration late in the game. Oh and also during his goal celebration. The fans felt that it deserved a penalty, but a Ruutu would never embellish a call would he?
At the end of the game Bieksa rifled the puck down the ice and appeared to hit a Hurricanes player. It was a welcome sign of a pulse on a team that has been in a coma all week long.
Cory Schneider made his first start in six games and though he didn’t look lights out he was one of the best Canucks on the ice.
The Canes had 41 shots in this one as the Canucks’ defensive coverage once again resembled a recess fire drill.
Schneider did what he could but he needed a little help that never materialized.
Despite a 2.17 GAA and .938 sv pct, Schneider has just 7 wins to 5 losses. That tells you what you need to know.
1. Shoulda Woulda
By all rights, this game should have tied 4-4 when Raymond cut through the shot and dished the puck to Keith Ballard who was staring at nothing but white mesh.
Unfortunately, Cam Ward responded with the early front-runner for save of the year by robbing Ballard with his glove.
Ward was aided by Ballard’s hesitation but credit where credit is due, that was an amazing save and the sole reason the Hurricanes escaped with two points in this one.
But man would I hate to be Keith Ballard and have to answer to AV on that one.
2. Effin Reffin
The reffing was weird in this one.
A first period scrum somehow gave the Hurricanes a powerplay, one of three they enjoyed in the first.
The final powerplay tallies were 6 to 1 in favour of the home team.
Still, as bad as the refs were in this one (and they were awful), the Canucks could have and should have overcome it.
The have only themselves to blame for this one.
Well themselves and the injuries.
But that wasn’t the worst part. Daniel Sedin had to sit out this game due to back problems forcing an emergency recall of Mark Mancari who frantically drove 3 1/2 hours to the game and arrived just hours before puck drop.
Even Dan Hamhuis had a scary moment in the first after taking a hit into the boards from Alex Ponikarovski. He would be ok but for a man with his concussion history and the recent Canucks’ run of luck it really looked like yet another roadblock.
Oh well, all is forgiven if they beat the Leafs on Saturday.