Special teams will be in focus for the Vancouver Canucks tonight as they play their second straight game against the Calgary Flames.
And while the Canucks are 0-for-11 this season on the power play, the penalty kill might be an even greater concern.
Through three games, the Canucks rank 27th in the league on the penalty kill, and they have been especially woeful when down a man the last two contests. Vancouver gave up three goals while shorthanded, on six opportunities, in a 3-0 loss to the Flames on Saturday. The Edmonton Oilers went 2-for-4 against Vancouver with the man advantage on Thursday, and took advantage of a disorganized Canucks team by scoring not long after one penalty expired.
Veteran Jay Beagle is one of the Canucks’ top penalty killers, and spoke candidly about the team’s PK’s troubles earlier today.
“We know that special teams is big,” said Beagle. “We have to be better, we’ve gone over the video. We lost last game because of it. As someone who [plays a lot on the PK], that’s my job, it’s been addressed, and it’s something that you take pride in.
“You lose some sleep after a game like that because it’s the reason we lost. We have to be better.”
The Canucks finished right in the middle of the pack in penalty killing percentage last year, 16th out of 31 teams.
But two of their best penalty killers from a year ago — defenceman Chris Tanev and goaltender Jacob Markstrom — now play for tonight’s opponent.
Vancouver’s penalty killers are largely unchanged from a year ago. Travis Hamonic is in Tanev’s old spot on the first PK unit with Beagle, Tyler Motte, and Alex Edler, while Nate Schmidt and Antoine Roussel are now regulars on the second PK unit with Brandon Sutter and Tyler Myers.
So what’s wrong?
Beagle talked about “structure” and “missed assignments” as issues plaguing the PK the last two games.
Now here's the lone goal that Sean Monahan scored 🔥 pic.twitter.com/Cljgn2U0dU
— SiriusXM NHL Network Radio (@SiriusXMNHL) January 17, 2021
The Canucks were outnumbered down low on two of the three Flames power play goals, and allowed Andrew Mangiapane too much time with the puck in the bumper position on another.
— NHL (@NHL) January 17, 2021
“It’s something that we talked about a lot and go over video and have to make adjustments,” Beagle said. “We’ve got to be better tonight, and we will be better tonight, and make sure that we’re the difference.”