With every win the Canucks move one game closer to lifting Lord Stanley’s mug, but with every loss the City of Vancouver moves one step closer to riot 3.0.
The Canucks know how important every last game can be, so after every win and loss, NWSB will outline the reasons the Canucks are either destined for Stanley Cup glory or bound for hockey riot hell.
The Canucks got off to an erratic start to the hockey game, skating circles around the Kings for all the wrong reasons. If not for Roberto Luongo, Game One could have gotten out of control quickly.
The hockey gods are a vengeful bunch, and after Game One the Canucks and their fans have undoubtedly been put on the naughty list once again. Byron Bitz’ hit to the head of Kyle Clifford was followed by a chorus of Boos, despite the perfectly assessed penalty. It is amazing what some people will do to support another wearing their team’s colours.
Byron Bitz’ second period hit to the head of Kyle Clifford cost the Canucks on Wednesday, earning the Kings a well-deserved five minute power play for boarding. The major eventually lead to Willie Mitchell’s power play goal giving the Kings a late second period lead.
The Rogers Arena faithful were in true playoff form on Wednesday as the shouted down a hail of Boos from their seats after Byron Bitz was called for boarding. Despite the legitimacy of the penalty fans voiced their displeasure audibly chanting “bullshit” after the call. There are not enough words to describe this idiocy.
Just as the fans were caught getting carried away with their emotions, center Ryan Kesler was caught early in Wednesday’s game snapping his head back to draw penalties, re-enforcing Vancouver’s reputation as an unsportsmanlike team of divers and whiners. Guilty as charged.
While Sedin wasn’t caught diving against the Kings, he was caught drowning in a sea of early penalties, unable to find ice time early in the game while the Canucks continually sent out their shorthanded unit. Alain Vigneault and the Canucks have to do a better job of utilising their star players Friday in Game Two.
The Canucks had five power play opportunities against the Kings in Game One, but managed to generate only four shots on the power play, keeping Jonathan Quick comfortable despite an early power play advantage.
Death By Power Play
The Kings buried both of their first two goals on the power play, including goals from party boy Mike Richards and former Canucks and BC boy Willie Mitchell. When Bill Pickle is putting home power play goals you know the Kings’ opposition is in trouble.
The absence of Daniel Sedin was costly Wednesday against the Canucks. Henrik looked lost at times, seemingly searching for another linemate nowhere to be found. The Canucks could desperately use the second-half of their dynamic duo back in the lineup.
Edler All Over
Alex Edler was all over the ice during Game One against the Kings. The defenceman cost the Canucks a goal with a brutal defensive zone turnover earlier in the game only to redeem himself with a point shot to tie the game later in the second period.
Jonathan Quick was in pure playoff form on Wednesday, stopping 19 of 21 shots in a calm and confident performance behind LA’s skaters. The Canucks need to do more to get to quick as this series continues.
Notorious opponent Mike Richards was in his element against the Canucks in Game One, generating scoring chances and creating havoc around Roberto Luongo in a three-point night for the former Flyer. Superman, where are you now?
Jeff Carter was understandably ecstatic once traded to Los Angeles, and during Game One of his first playoff game with the Kings the forward made his mark with a phenomenal skate pass to Dustin Penner for Wednesday’s game-winning goal.
Dustin Penner managed to develop a decent net presence against the Canucks in Game One and tallied the game-winning goal after Jeff Carter kicked over a perfect pass to take the lead. The Canucks can’t let Penner and his big body control the area around the crease like he did Wednesday in Vancouver.
Drew Doughty appeared to emerge from his regular season slumber Wednesday against the Canucks, generating six shots and an assist in the win over Vancouver. The Canucks cannot afford to be chasing the blue liner all around the rink moving forward, and would do well to work his corner more often in Game Two.
The Hockey Gods
No, the sky is not falling, but boy do the walls seem to be closing in around the Vancouver Canucks.
Less in a sense of their play and more in a sense of fan community, where it is crystal clear the Canucks remain the NHL’s most-hated team.
Even the Kings PR team has grown bold in the comfort of taking on the embodiment of evil on ice.