The Canucks are back at it Sunday night for their first meeting of the season against Jamie Benn and the Dallas Stars. How will the Canucks come back after a devastating loss to the San Jose Sharks? Read on to find out.
I think it would be fair to say that John Tortorella learned what it’s like to be a fan of the Vancouver Canucks. After outplaying the Sharks for the majority of the game and deserving more than one goal to show for it, the Canucks gave up another tying goal (their third so far this season) with Anti Niemi on the bench for the extra attacker. In overtime, the refs decided to put their stamp on the comeback for the Sharks by handing Henrik Sedin a penalty which Henrik himself described as “a terrible call”. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Anyways, a 4-on-3 man advantage for the Sharks was too much to overcome as they would seal the game with a power play goal in overtime. The Canucks dropped to 1-2-2 in their 5 games which boots them out of a playoff position for the time being.
The Dallas Stars are riding high these days after clobbering the Calgary Flames 7-3 Thursday night at the Saddledome. The duo of Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn took sick pleasure in embarrassing Calgary, picking up 5 and 6 points respectively. Seguin in particular had himself a game by collecting 4 goals and a bucket full of Boston’s tears. Both players lead the Stars offence this season with 22 points apiece and are supported by the likes of Alex Chaisson, Shawn “Always an Oiler” Horcoff, and 53-year-old Ray Whitney. Their goalie Kari Lethonen is off to an impressive start at 9-3 and is supported on defence by Brenden Dillon, Sergei Gonchar, and Alex Goligoski. Former Canuck standout Aaron Rome is currently in the AHL with the Texas Stars. I don’t think coach Lindy Ruff knows what he is doing.
We seem to be getting to the point where John Tortorella needs to switch up the lines in order to revitalize a stagnant offence. Look for a returning Jannik Hansen to provide a boost to the lineup. Luongo gets the start over the newly signed Eddie Lack.
D. Sedin – H. Sedin – Burrows
Higgins – Kesler – Hansen
Booth – Santorelli – Kassian
Sestito – Richardson – Welsh
Garrison – Edler
Hamhuis – Tanev
Stanton – Bieksa
1. New Lines
What’s old is new for John Tortorella and the Canucks. Having seen enough of his super line, Torts has decided it is time to switch things up by reuniting Henrik and Daniel Sedin with Alex Burrows. The move bumps Ryan Kesler down to his familiar second line centre position, while Mike Santorelli and Brad Richardson move down the centre depth chart. With Jannik Hansen set to return, the game against the Stars is a perfect opportunity to shuffle the lines a bit to try and get some offence going. With Kesler on the second line (and Zac Dalpe not on any line), the Canucks’ depth at centre looks a lot better.
2. The Power Play Still Sucks.
Despite scoring their lone goal on the man advantage against the Sharks, the Canucks power play has been the story of this season. The problem, however, goes back much further as the power play has never been the same since the last time Vancouver battled Boston in January 2012. Albert Einstein once defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Yes, the defence has been switched up on multiple occasions, but there are three constants that have remained: Kesler, Sedin, Sedin. If John Tortorella wants to simplify his power play, why not split the Sedins up? In my opinion, doing so would force the twins to seek different and innovative alternatives in setting up the plays instead of relying on each other which the opposition has been able to anticipate. Splitting the Sedins would also give both units a top notch quarterback, and the twins have clearly resounded to being separated this season.
I can’t believe we’re even talking about this already, but the Canucks find themselves in an unfamiliar spot heading into Sunday’s game. They aren’t in a playoff position. Even with Edmonton’s hilarious implosion, the Western Conference is ridiculously good this season. We all knew that this year would be about 3000 times harder for the Canucks to make the playoffs, which is why it’s not surprising that some are apprehensive that Vancouver has dropped to 9th in the Western Conference after a 1-2-2 slide. This is why I can understand Tortorella’s philosophy of (apparently) not looking at the standings. You can count on the Western teams earning points most nights, so just take care of your own game and don’t worry about what every other team is doing. That would get very depressing.
The Canucks have responded well to crappy losses and I think the game against the Stars will be much of the same. Canucks win 4-2. Canucks fans will continue to curse Dave Nonis for (among other things…) not drafting Jamie Benn in 2007.