1. PVR Time
A 4pm Pacific start time, I was forced to watch this game a little bit delayed on my PVR. As always, I have loads of support from my friends at Vancity Buzz…
@RobTheHockeyGuy HOW CAN YOU CALL YOURSELF THE HOCKEY GUY AND NOT WATCH IT LIVE
— Farhan Mohamed (@farhanmohamed) March 14, 2014
I was on my commute alright Farhan!
what i miss? a canuck win?
— Mario Montega (@MarioMontega) March 15, 2014
Ok, back to the game. That was fun. The Canucks actually played pretty good for most of the game, outshooting Washington 41-21 in an exciting game. This wasn’t a case of the Canucks getting a bunch of bad angle shots to up their totals, they had a lot of good chances to score and were able to light the lamp three times. They deserved to win and if not for a couple of brain farts, the Canucks would have gone home with the victory.
2. Brain farts
Zack Kassian and Tom Sestito were at fault on two of the goals by simply refusing to pay attention to detail on the backcheck. Kassian looked extremely lazy by refusing to move his feet and check Eric Fehr on a 3-on-2 rush, which eventually lead to the Capitals’ first goal. Tom Sestito was also unable to find his man on a 3-on-2 rush, but at least he moved his feet to get into position. Unfortunately he didn’t look at where the puck was coming from, and was completely ineffective. Those are mistakes that can’t happen when you are desperate to make a playoff push.
Rookie Nicklas Jensen has been a pleasant surprise of late and hasn’t looked out of place whatsoever, playing with Henrik Sedin and Alex Burrows on the top line. Coincidence or not, Sedin and Burrows have looked a lot better since Jensen joined their line and Jensen was rewarded with his first NHL goal in the third period. Jensen, who a week ago the Canucks were weary about calling-up, is now playing on the first line, first unit power play and averaging about 20 minutes of ice time.
4. Evgeny Kuznetsov
Our own Ryan Biech was talking about Kuznetsov in this morning’s game preview and he didn’t disappoint. The Caps rookie had 3 assists tonight, including a beauty on Washington’s third goal.
At least Ryan was modest about it…
@RobTheHockeyGuy see, told you Kuznetsov is someone to watch.
— Ryan Biech (@ryanbiech) March 15, 2014
5. Power play getting better
I guess it couldn’t get much worse, but I thought the Canucks power play is starting to show some imagination and creativity. They aren’t just loading up Jason Garrison for his canon (and watching the shot go wide). The problem? They still lack finishers. Compare that to the Capitals tonight, who got a power play goal from an Alex Ovechkin rocket which was almost impossible to defend. The Caps went 1/2 on the power play while the Canucks went 0/3. That’s the difference in the game.
The Canucks making that power play look like an actual power play. #canucks
— Hosea Cheung (@hosea24hours) March 15, 2014
At least it’s a start.
A lot of Canucks fans have been skeptical about the possibility of making the playoffs for a while now, but if the Canucks could have held on to a three goal lead against the Islanders on Monday and found a way to win tonight, they would have at least made things interesting. As of this writing, the Canucks are set to drop to 6 points back of Dallas if they hang on to beat Calgary (the Stars also three games in hand). We aren’t far off a point where you should be cheering for a Canucks loss to improve their draft pick (aka #TankNation). I’m not there yet, but it’s getting close.