Apologies for not getting the game 4 recap out sooner, but all of the Canuckz.com team were out drowning their sorrows after one of the most disheartening games in recent memory. For the second straight game the Canucks were outsmarted, getting scored on and getting laughed at by the stronger, faster, cockier and so far better Chicago Blackhawks. Without getting into it too much, I’m sure we want to forget it by now, the Canucks need better goaltending from Roberto Luongo, more disciplined play, and better penalty killing.
And now, moving ahead to game 5….
A lot of what the Canucks need can start from Luongo. Perhaps that’s a bit simplistic to suggest, but Luongo should be their best player and should be their best penalty killer. So if Luongo plays well, the team feeds off it, and their penalty kill improves automatically.
Speaking of the penalty kill, apart from getting better goaltending, they need to get more aggressive. The PK had a turn around against the LA Kings by getting aggressive all over the rink. They have gotten away from that again in this series. They need to make it difficult for the Hawks to gather speed through the neutral zone and difficult to set-up in the offensive zone.
Play Their Game
The Canucks need to play Canuck hockey. By this I mean they need to play to their strengths and not get side tracked by all of the Chicago nonsense. I would leave Byfuglien alone in front of Luongo on the power play for starters. You’re not going to move him, so better to have just one big body in front of Louie rather than two. The entire team also needs to do their best to stay out of the box, seeing how their PK is playing. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be aggressive, but they can’t take any needless penalties after the whistle and such.
News from the Twitter World:
Getting some great news from the world of Twitter on today’s game from some of the media guys in Chicago.
More reason for the Canucks to be disciplined, Eric Duhatschek points out that it looks like the refs will be calling it tight tonight.
Dan Murphy is reporting that Pavol Demitra will be back in for today’s game, with Tanner Glass drawing out. Demitra will move to the second line and play with Mason Raymond and Ryan Kesler. Worth a shot in my opinion, although I think I would have played Mikael Samuelsson on the second line and moved Mason Raymond to the third.
Murph is also reporting that Luongo has shaved his playoff beard. I guess as Geno Reda pointed out, sporting the second lowest save percentage among NHL goalies after the Olympics (minimum 15 games played) has him wanting to change his luck.
They Can Do It:
The Canucks aren’t dead yet, although it doesn’t look good. I believe that tonight’s pivotal game 5 will be the toughest to win. If they can manage to win game 5, they figure to be due for a win at GM Place. If they can do that and force a game 7, the weight of the world will be on the Blackhawks not to blow a 3-1 series lead on home ice. A few things need to go right, but it’s not impossible and it’s been done before. If that happens, it will be because Luongo was great, their forwards keep scoring and their penalty kill steps up. Hopefully for Canucks fans, that starts tonight.