Is The Writing On The Wall?
With every win, the Vancouver 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 hockey riot hell.
Well, this is awkward.
Just two days after the Canucks played so poorly I managed to find 16 reasons why they wouldn’t win the series, they’ve done it again.
Vancouver’s skaters had another tough game on Friday night, abandoning Roberto Luongo in a 4-2 loss that has sent shock waves through the City of Vancouver.
Here are 16 reasons why the Canucks are suffering this post season.
After a poor Game One performance that drew the attention of Head Coach Alain Vigneault, defenceman Alex Edler had another terrible game on Friday, committing a number of turnovers, the worst of which lead to LA’s opening goal of the game.
Half the Man He Used to Be
Henrik Sedin continued to struggle without his twin brother during Game Two, forcing plays to linemates that look a lot less like Henrik. The Canucks’ captain hasn’t elevated his game the way he needs to sans Dan and needs to lead by example in Los Angeles.
Kesler – One Man Army
Ryan Kesler was better during Game Two but continued to keep the puck himself far too often on Friday, refusing to distribute the puck to his teammates in the attacking zone when necessary. When Kesler was making passes, he was putting them in the feet of Dan Hamhuis, who coughed up the puck leading to the Kings’ second goal.
Kassian Unaccounted For
Zack Kassian played all of six minutes during Game Two against the Kings and was a non-factor again on Friday. If the Canucks are to turn this series around Kassian has to find a way to contribute consistently, one way or another.
Vancouver’s power play was putrid again in Game Two, unable to crack Jonathan Quick despite registering 10 shots on five opportunities on Friday. Frankly I’m baffled the Canucks were eve able to get their power play shot total into double digits considering the amount of time spent in their own end while on the man advantage.
The Canucks allowed a pair of shorthanded goals on Friday, making the difference in a frustrating hockey game for the “faithful” within Rogers Arena. It’s hard to refer to Alex Edler’s defensive-zone drop pass as an isolated incident after Kesler and Hamhuis managed to bobble turnover the puck shorthanded for another goal against 5-on-4.
Yes, fans pay good money to cheer, boo, and do whatever else they like within the confines of the tiny print on the back of their ticket. But are Canucks fans seriously supporting their team by raining down Boos after a poor effort on the power play? Sometimes it seems as if Canucks fans have been trained to simply watch their team, and their city, burn to the ground.
One would imagine a prideful professional hockey player would respond with purposeful play after hearing jeers from their own fans, but the Canucks couldn’t come up with the comeback those inside Rogers Arena were hoping for on Friday. Maybe the Canucks can build momentum in the true home of Canada’s team; the Kings are a fan favourite east of Osoyoos.
Rumours swirling around the potential start of Cory Schneider on Sunday surely won’t encourage a comeback effort from the Canucks. Roberto Luongo has been Vancouver’s best player in both games so far in the series, and shouldn’t be underestimated in anticipation of Game Three in Los Angeles.
Many who believe a switch to Schneider is the solution cite a necessary “shake up” in Vancouver’s play. If the Presidents’ Trophy winners are to mount a comeback in California it won’t be due to a nifty coaching trick. The Canucks simply have to dig themselves out of this one shift by shift.
The hangover only got worse for Canucks fans on Saturday morning after it was announced that Daniel Sedin will not travel to Los Angeles and has been ruled out of the first round of the playoffs. Ouch.
Brown’s A Beauty
Dustin Brown hasn’t been making it easy on the Canucks, constantly hounding his opposition on every shift in an inspiring effort from the Kings’ captain through two games. Brown may have had his hat trick taken away on Friday, but everyone in a locker room knows he has been a force throughout the series thus far.
Drew Doughty has brought an aggressive, physical presence to the ice for the Kings so far in the series, matching the mouthy qualities of Maxim Lapierre, Alex Burrows and Vancouver’s big talkers. So far the Kings’ actions have spoken much louder than any beaking coming out of the Canucks camp.
Quick and Calm
Jonathan Quick had another solid game on Friday, but hasn’t been needed for many overly-extraordinary saves so far in the series. Imagine how tough the Kings could be if Quick shifted back into Vezina mode.
Like Jonathan Quick, Anze Kopitar hasn’t had to be a superstar in the series despite his team taking a two-game lead.
The Canucks can’t afford for Kopitar to break out once back in the comfort of the California sun.
Heading back to Los Angeles down two games to none, the Canucks face a tough task of coming back against one of the NHL’s most disciplined teams.
Only the St. Louis Blues allowed fewer goals per game than the Kings during the regular season.
And did I mention this all while the Canucks are without their leading scorer?