Don’t Call It A Comeback
You might not realize it from the discussion this past week, but hockey is a team game and not purely a goaltending competition. As Game 3 proved, Schneider can play lights out and it doesn’t matter if the 18 other guys on the team aren’t chipping in as well.
It’s do or die time for your Vancouver Canucks and this is the moment when heroes are born.
With this mind, let’s look at five Canucks who need to step it up and leave it all on the ice.
1. David Booth
Aka first-line winger David Booth. The power-esque forward was hoping to have a dominant playoffs building on a regular season where he showed flashes of brilliance.
Booth’s game is simple, perhaps detrimentally so, but his main tenet is the ability to take the puck to the net. This is a good thing for a struggling to score and getting most of their chances from the perimeter.
Again, Mikael Samuelsson has 4 points for Florida these playoffs while Booth has just one.
All it takes is a goal or two.
2. Chris Higgins
The hardest-working Canuck hasn’t had an awful series but the key to the Canucks Presidential drive was timely goals from the ab-master Chris Higgins.
Higgins has no points in this series and like Booth, a few points could go a long way.
In fact, if the David Booth top line experiment doesn’t work, here’s hoping Alain Vigneault returns to the American Express line. It’s tried and tested and could help get Kevin Biek — whoops Ryan Kesler‘s game going too.
3. Alex Edler
Eddie the Eagle has had a rough go against the Kings, looking like he’s merely going through the motions rather than being the dominant force and breakou All-Star Canuck fans are used to.
He can awaken though, remember this hit on Doughty, and more than anyone else on the team without a twin he holds the key to a successful powerplay.
At the very least, please try not to take needless delay of game penalties Alex.
You’ll notice Alex Edler‘s ice-time has dropped in every game he’s played this series. Something tells me if the Canucks are going to win, that number has to go up.
4. Zack Kassian
As the Canucks fail to score, Cody Hodgson begins to look better and better.
Zack Kassian I’m pretty sure is battling an injury which half-explains his play this series but this is the playoffs and playing through injuries is a rite of passage.
Kassian is the closest thing the Canucks have to a wildcard, only we’ve very very rarely seen Kassian be one in a Canucks uniform.
Is it too much to ask for Lucic-esque MVP shift?
He’s all Bruce Banner and no Hulk right now and if Alain Vigneault was smart he would feed him a diet of fishheads before the game. Anything to piss the big man off.
5. Sami Salo
In the first couple months of the season, everyone was talking about how good Sami Salo looked and how he hadn’t lost a step despite his age and all those injuries.
Unfortunately, since the Brad Marchand lowbridge he hasn’t quite looked the same. He looks slower, a step behind.
It again points to the weakness of the Canucks blueline. Salo probably shouldn’t be a playoff top four kind of guy, but he has to be.
Thing is he’s treading water while his partner, Alex Edler, implodes.
Sami vows to return next year, quashing any fears we’re about to watch his last career game, but the Canucks either need him to shake off the rust and party like its 2005 or it might be time to see if Chris Tanev can play with Alex Edler.