With the Canucks going 1-3-1 on the roadtrip leading up to the Montreal game, could you blame them for what happened?
They had a 3-0 lead three minutes into the second period. They were ready to celebrate, ready for a big night out in Montreal… Kass must’ve told them about the night life.
They thought it was over.
Jake Virtanen had one shift in the third, Sven Baertschi had two, and Hunter Shinkaruk three – probably a good place to start if you’re calling the pre-game show to complain.
Next, the power play and then the lines in 3-on-3 OT.
If you’re reading this without having watched, you just read “OT” and said “Oh No”.
Yes, they did go to OT, and they lost once again. Now they’re 1-3-2 on the roadtrip, 0-6 in OT, and the celebration might not be so good.
1. Bring back boring 4-on-4
We still like 3-on-3, right? It’s still entertaining, isn’t it?
Let’s go to Jim Benning for his reaction (from a radio interview last week):
“I like the 3-on-3. I love watching the 3-on-3, but we’re 0-5 on the 3-on-3 so it hasn’t been our friend so far… We’ve practiced it a lot here in this last week so hopefully our record gets better.”
Yes, hopefully. So what did you practice, Mr. Benning?
“There’s strategy involved – changing when you have the puck, you can’t miss the net or it goes around the boards and it’s a two on one the other way.”
Yes, that’s exactly what happened when Chris Higgins shot the puck over the Habs’ net… well it led to a 3-on-2 the other way, but same idea.
“Some teams I noticed as soon as they lose the puck, it’s like a zone defence in basketball where they go straight back to their own end and line up in a triangle and wait for the team to come to them.”
If you watched closely, you’d have noticed the Canucks did this too and they actually did it pretty well.
Then Vancouver threw Higgins, Weber and Hamhuis on the ice, and Higgins was left to work alone in the offensive end while the other two changed… leading to the goal.
2. These OT lines…
Here’s the order of Vancouver’s lines in overtime:
(Confusion means Hutton and Vrbata jumped on the ice for Hamhuis and Weber, and I have no idea who the third member of the line would’ve been).
The Sedins didn’t look bad in OT, but the only Canucks player who made any sort of impression was McCann. Just look at this.
No other Vancouver player has the speed, skill, confidence combo McCann has.
Not as good defensively as the Sedins? Sure, but he’s faster so if the Canucks get caught on a turnover, he might actually get back in time.
I’m not a fan of splitting the twins, but in OT it might be the solution. Put one with McCann, one with Hansen or Vrbata… give each one some speed, a guy who can finish what they’re setting up.
You have to do something, because whatever they’re doing now… well they’re 0-6 in OT.
3. Don’t mess with Weber
Remind me not to mention Yannick Weber during any more games against the Habs.
@omarcanuck yeah but did you die?
— Kayla Price (@kaylaapricee) November 17, 2015
(This is Carey Price’s sister, btw. Also Yannick Weber’s gf.)
I mean I was only questioning the idea of having two defencemen on the ice…
You know what? I’m not winning this argument.
4. Power play disaster
Vancouver’s power play was actually 2-for-4 at one point in the game. It wasn’t a fluke either – it looked more dangerous tonight with Hansen providing a strong net-front presence.
They had some great chances on their first power play, and then on the second/third (it was a double minor for a high stick on Daniel) McCann sniped one as Henrik, staying out for an extended PP shift, made a beauty pass.
The way McCann took his time to find the open spot and roof it… yet another reason they need to call on him more.
That strong power play went down the drain after Vancouver went up 3-0 in the second, though. Maybe the second PP goal – a Daniel slapper – came too easily, because on on their fifth chance the team looked half asleep.
The Sedins had at least four giveaways on the shift and Weber treated the puck like it was a flame that could burn a hole through his stick.
That first Habs goal – scored shorthanded – was the turning point in the game.
5. Under the sheets
Before Canucks started the road trip from hell, their even-strength corsi percentage was 46.9, which was 26th in NHL at the time.
Being below 50%, it means they were giving up more chances than they were getting. Their record was 6-3-4.
Then, on the road trip prior to the Montreal game, they were at 55.7 percent, meaning they were actually playing better.
It really shows how much that great goaltending saved them early, and how it’s let them down lately. The other thing that’s let them down – their efforts as the game goes on.
Against Montreal, Vancouver followed the same track, dominating corsi in the first period and then being dominated for the rest of the game.
So what changes as the games go on? Well the kids play a lot less as I mentioned above.
In his pre-game comments, Willie was asked what the kids provide, and he said “Young guys give energy.”
Might be a good idea to use it.
6. Shinkaruk’s debut
I reserved a whole section for Shinkaruk’s debut but he didn’t give us much to write about.
To be fair, he played under 10 minutes and was stuck on the fourth line, so he wasn’t given much of a shot.
Lucky for us, the Canucks played this incredibly original prank on the rookie playing in his first game.
All by myself Don’t wanna be All by myself Anymore pic.twitter.com/asRRkGw6Nt
— Vancouver Canucks (@VanCanucks) November 17, 2015
Love Shinkaruk’s reaction to the oldest trick in the book.
You think I give a crap you’re all laughing at me? I’m taking my first warm up in Montreal, I’m loving it, and you guys can join me when you want.
During the second period Shinkaruk did get the puck behind Montreal’s net and he went Bertuzzi on it.
He tried anyway.
Shows he has confidence, if nothing else.