The Vancouver Canucks probably could not get out of town quick enough as Rogers Arena has turned into Heartbreak Ridge. The Canucks will look to erase a dismal 6 game home stand and get back to their road winning form in a game vs the Ottawa Senators on Thursday at 4:30 PM PST.
What can I say? The Canucks are coming off the most devastating loss of the season and quite likely the most disheartening loss since game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals. How can a team that does so many positive things in a game still lose? Your guess is as good as mine. The Canucks went down early 1-0 to the Los Angeles Kings, but rallied after a hit by Jordan Nolan on Henrik Sedin. The Canucks showed some impressive push back against a strong Kings team and took over the game, but the Kings found a way to tie the game up late. As for OT, it didn’t take long for the Kings to do this (oh the torment of being a Canucks fan):
The Ottawa Senators
The Senators have had a woeful start to the season. They currently sit 6th in the Altantic division with an unimpressive record of 9-11-4. The Canucks will catch a scheduling break (for once) as the Senators will be a tired team after playing in Washington the night before. Many Senators fans and media are questioning if the Senators are “good enough” to get it done. Sound familiar?
John Tortorella continues to like the way the Canucks are playing, but is very cognizant that the positive play has to yield success in the form of WINS. Expect some tinkering with the lines from the Kings game and a Zack Kassian downgrade to the 4th line. The lines are likely to look like this:
D. Sedin – H. Sedin – Burrows
Hansen – Kesler – Booth
Higgins – Santorelli - Weise
Sestito – Richardson – Kassian
Garrison – Edler
Hamhuis – Tanev
Stanton – Bieksa
Soapbox (a new feature designed solely for the writer to let off some repressed steam)
I have been a Canucks fan since I was 4 years old and have endured some seasons in which moral victories were the closest the team came to success. Despite the doom and gloom in the media, the current version of the Canucks bares no resemblance to the atrocious teams from the 80′s and mid-90′s. This is not a team that “just isn’t good enough”. The Canucks are in a type of slump that I have never witnessed before. There have been losing slides characterized by boneheaded play and lack of skill over the years, but I simply have never seen a team play as well as the Canucks are and find new ways to lose on a nightly basis. The margin between the Canucks losing 7 out of their last 8 and the Canucks winning 7 out of their last 8 at is so minuscule. Nothing more than a bounce here and save there. The Canucks cannot score a goal if their life depended on it and other teams need one mistake to pop it in our net. This cannot and will not continue. The Canucks are a playoff team and it is only a matter of time before they vault up the standings.
The pretend Larscheid report…
1. Score Early
- How does a team bust a slump? Score early! If the hockey gods really could give us something, how about an Alex Burrows goal in the first minute of the game? The Canucks are angry, frustrated, and snake-bitten, but an early goal on the road has the ability to quickly change the mood of a hockey club.
2. Get Up in the game by 2 goals or more
Easier said, than done! The Canucks not only need to take an early lead in the game vs the Senators, but they need to stretch that lead to at least 2 goals. The Canucks are going to get the chances and they need to develop the killer instinct in a hurry!
3. Puck Luck
This is a recurring theme. The Canucks have gotten very little in the way of bounces this season. All you have to do is watch highlights of multiple games being played on a nightly basis to see that goals are being scored all over the league from bad angles, weak shots, and poor goalie play. Do the Canucks see this often? With the exception of the game vs the Columbus Blue Jackets, the answer is emphatically no! Hockey gods shine down upon us!
This game has been gift wrapped for the Canucks. The Canucks will be playing a tired and dreadful Ottawa Senators team with the bad after taste of a ridiculous loss to the Los Angeles Kings still in their mouth. The Canucks take this game 6-1 and my faith in the hockey gods is restored for a day.
Follow Ian Lusher on Twitter at @IanLusher