The Vancouver Canucks have gotten off to their typically slow October start earning three out of a possible six points in their first three games. I was out all evening on Wednesday so I was left to follow the game on Twitter. Some of the tweets I was reading made it sound like was had lost game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals or something. Whoops…too soon?
Anyway, I was able to watch the entire game against the Flyers on the PVR and here are a few things that made me go hmmm…
1. Sloppy play. The Canucks were not very sharp for the majority of the game. They didn’t seem ready from the start, and after their litany of first period penalties they were already down a pair of goals. Their passing wasn’t crisp (except for the Sedins) and they had trouble gaining the offensive zone on numerous occasions (including back to back offside calls caused by Burrows’ indecisiveness). Two of the Flyers’ three even-strength goals were directly caused by poor line changes and the Canucks’ scrambly defensive play often reminded me of my tier 9 roller hockey team. Throw in a powerplay that wasn’t particularly aggressive nor urgent (especially in the later stages of the third period) and it all added up to a very uneven performance.
2. Post-goal let downs. The Canucks gave up goals immediately following three of their four tallies. After Mikael Samuelsson’s first period goal, James Van Riemsdyk scored 73 seconds later. Following Henrik Sedin’s goal in the second period, Jakob Voracek scored less than two minutes later. And after Daniel Sedin’s important game-tying goal in the third period, Andrej Meszaros scored the game-winner for the Flyers almost exactly a minute afterwards. Thus, every time the Canucks seemed to gain a bit of momentum, they handed it back to the Flyers. It was an uphill battle all evening. The Canucks have not started strong in any of their first three games. Part of last season’s success was the team’s ability to get a lead and then protect it. The Canucks will need to work harder to earn some early leads.
3. Stanley Cup hangover? Are you allowed to call it a Stanley Cup hangover if you didn’t actually win the Stanley Cup? Nevertheless, the Canucks aren’t the only Stanley Cup finalist struggling out of the gate. The Boston Bruins have just one win in four games and it’s against inferior competition (two of the losses came against Colorado and Carolina). Horton, Krejci, Lucic and Chara have combined for a total of only 3 points. Contrast that to the 15 combined points of the Sedins, Burrows and Edler (in only 3 games). Of course, it’s extremely early and many things will change as the season progresses. However, Canucks fans can take solace in the fact that our Stanley Cup nemesis has started off slowly as well.
The Canucks will hardly have any time to lick their wounds or feel sorry for themselves as they take on another perennial powerhouse in the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night. Let’s hope that Vancouver plays a tighter game and avoids the post-goal let downs on their way back to the win column.