The advice the Canucks could use can be summed up in five words: stay out of the box. Vancouver gave up six man advantages on Saturday night, which isn’t a lot, but that’s not the point. The point is the types of penalties they’re giving up right now: dumb penalties. Look no further than Shane O’Brien’s stupid penalty midway through the 2nd period last night. With the Canucks up 2-0, O’Brien got his arm up into the face of the Kings player to take an obvious roughing call. The puck had already been played out of the area and O’Brien didn’t hit him very hard. The Kings scored on that power play and the Canucks lost the game, which magnified the blunder.
As bad as O’Brien’s penalty was, it pales in comparison to the play of Andrew Alberts. So far Alberts has been responsible for putting the Canucks shorthanded for a combined 13 minutes. That’s significant when you consider how poor the Canucks have been at killing penalties. So far the Kings are 4 for 9 with the man advantage. Bet on Alberts to sit out game 3 with Aaron Rome probably healthy enough to play. Personally, I think Nolan Baumgartner deserves to play ahead of Alberts, but I don’t think Alain Vigneault is thinking along those lines.
With that said, game 2 was decided on a bad call, a too many men on the ice penalty in overtime. Rule 74.1 states: “If in the course of a substitution either the player(s) entering the play or the player(s) retiring is struck by the puck accidentally, the play will not be stopped and no penalty will be called”. Clearly, Kevin Bieksa was trying to get out of the way and did not play the puck intentionally. Maybe Terry Murray pulled a ‘Marc Crawford’ on the Kings bench:
With that said, the Kings were the better team on Saturday and deserved to win the game. They outshot the Canucks 32-26 and probably had the better scoring chances. It will be interesting to see if Alain Vigneault continues to play mainly three lines, rather than four, as he has for most of the season. If he decides to stick with giving his fourth liners 5-6 minutes a night, it might be a good idea to insert Tanner Glass into the lineup for a little bit of grit. Steve Bernier is also someone who might deserve a promotion, perhaps to the third line in place of Jannik Hansen.
Of course, these are minor details in comparison to the real keys to winning: Roberto Luongo playing at the top of his game and the Sedins finding the back of the net. We’ll see if they can do that on the road (a place that has not been kind to this bunch) for the next two games.