After yet another home loss, the Vancouver Canucks return for the final game of their 6 game home stand Monday night against the Los Angeles Kings. Has Drew Doughty said enough to fire up the Canucks? Read on to find out.
Yet another recap where I get to talk about the Canucks getting kicked in the crotch. The Canucks played another good game against a very tough Chicago Blackhawks team, but these losses cloaked in moral victories are starting to pile up. Vancouver was able to get on the board first after capitalizing on a bad penalty from Andrew Shaw that put the Hawks down by two men. Kesler buried a rebound from Jason Garrison shot to make it 1-0 for the good guys. Skip ahead to the third period with Vancouver holding onto a 1-0 lead when Chicago decided to stop toying with Vancouver. In the span of 9 seconds, the Hawks scored twice and that’s all they needed as they cruised to a 2-1 victory over their arch rivals. It was another brutal loss and another case of not being able to score enough to win. Remember when they could score? That was fun.
The Kings are right back to where they usually are at this time of year: not at the top of the standings, but still in a solid playoff position. Led by Anze Kopitar, the Kings play a tight, defensive style but also have enough talent to make you pay for every mistake you make. The Kings boast one of the deepest lineups in the league, but are missing their number 1 goalie Jonathan Quick. However, backup Ben Scrivens has been holding the fort and the Canucks have a talent for making backup goalies look like Veniza candidates (see: McElhinney, Curtis). There really aren’t a lot of holes in the Kings game other than
a coach that looks like a muppet complacency during the regular season. Unlike the Canucks, they actually have a switch they can flip.
Based on Monday’s morning skate, John Tortorella is going to be shaking up his line combinations again (according to Dave Tomlinson on Team 1040). David Booth is likely to draw back into the lineup, skating on a line with Ryan Kesler. Here’s how the rest of the lines should look:
D. Sedin – H. Sedin – Burrows
Hansen – Kesler – Booth
Higgins – Santorelli – Kassian
Sestito – Richardson – Weise
Garrison – Edler
Hamhuis – Tanev
Stanton – Bieksa
1. Shots fired
Drew Doughty decided to serve up some extra motivation for the Sedin Twins on Sunday by referring to their defensive game as “slack”. Now, before we all freak out and call Doughty a prick, I don’t think his comments should be taken as malicious or degrading for the Twins. I certainly don’t agree with him, but he was just giving his opinion much like Lars Eller (who was absolutely correct in his assessment but the Oilers wanted to cry about it anyways) did last month. However, if I’m the twins (and my current red shaded beard suggests I am), I take these quotes and shove them down Doughty’s throat. Too bad he didn’t say they slack offensively though. That would be much easier to prove wrong.
2. Time to Press the Panic Button?
In my opinion, no. It is still much too early to write off this year’s team, especially because we have seen some glimpses of a competitive team. However, if this slide continues, the Canucks could find themselves in an unsurmountable hole by Christmas due to the amazingly good Western Conference. It is a very interesting time for the Canucks Management. Do they trust the process (I hate that term) and stay the course, or do they make a move to improve their offence (easier said than done)? I think we will find out relatively soon. For a more in depth look into whether or not we should be nervous, check out Stu Elmes’s piece, as well as J.D. Burke’s if you haven’t already.
3. End the Home stand on a Winning Note
No matter what happens on Monday night, the 6 game home stand has been an epic disappointment for the Vancouver Canucks. Yes, they can claim they played well and just caught some unlucky breaks, but at the end of the day the Canucks blew a major opportunity to gain some traction in the Western Conference. Maybe Don Cherry is right and the boys just need some time on the road, away from the wives where they can have a couple pops and relax.
For a team that is struggling to score (struggling is putting it nicely), the Kings aren’t exactly the cure for what ails you. The Kings take this one 3-2. See, the beauty of predicting a loss is that if the Canucks win I’m wrong, but yay the Canucks the win. If they lose, it’s like, okay well at least I look smart for predicting that. It’s all about the little victories people.