In a game that wasn’t exactly fun, the Vancouver Canucks were dominated in every aspect by the Winnipeg Jets, falling 4-2 on home ice in frustrating fashion.
The Vancouver Canucks would certainly love to be in the position of the Winnipeg Jets. A team that tanked and drafted/developed well owns the likes of Mark Scheifele, Jacob Trouba, Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers on their roster.
Winnipeg looks poised to compete for many Stanley Cups in the near future, and 2018 should be the year where they reign terror in the Western Conference.
Then there are the Canucks, and old and slow team that’s delayed a rebuild and lacks the franchise superstars that Winnipeg is loaded with.
More from The Canuck Way
- Which team won the Bo Horvat trade?
- What to expect from newcomers Anthony Beauvillier, Aatu Räty
- Back to the future: How the skate uniforms became a regular Canucks’ feature night
- Canucks kick off 2023 with disappointing 6-2 loss to Islanders
- 2nd period penalty trouble sinks Canucks in 4-2 loss against Winnipeg
Thursday night’s 4-2 loss at the hands of the Jets served as a reminder that there is a lot of pain coming up in Vancouver.
Even Brock Boeser’s addition to the lineup couldn’t spark Vancouver’s offence. Alexander Edler left the game due to injury, and the defence fell apart entirely.
Hard to blame Jacob Markstrom for that loss. After all, most goalies don’t win when the team in front of them is outmatched and outplayed in every area.
The 3-2 season opener win against the Edmonton Oilers sure feels less special right now. The Canucks blew an easy-win against a banged-up Ottawa Senators team, then fell to the inconsistent Jets.
Following the loss, here are three key takeaways from the Canucks second loss of the season.
Defence looked lost
The Canucks shut down Connor McDavid‘s line in the season opener, and limited Ottawa’s scoring chances in Game 2. There was reason for early optimism that the blue line would get better, but man was it awful on Thursday.
Edler left the game with a lower body injury, and the defence fell apart. They had no answers for Winnipeg’s top guns, allowing too many high quality chances, losing puck battles and getting hit all over.
If Edler is to miss some time, the Canucks will be giving Derrick Pouliot a chance. Who knows if he’ll be able to provide much, but it’s imperative for Vancouver to improve the play in its own zone.
Otherwise, this will be yet another long and frustrating season for the Canucks faithful to follow. And who really wants that — other than you tank hopefuls?
Power play woes continue
The Canucks had five power plays on the night, and Daniel Sedin would capitalize with the man advantage early in the first period. However, Vancouver has a woeful 12.5 power play percentage through its first three games. That can’t happen.
Winnipeg is one of the worst penalty killing teams in the league, and they were without supreme shutdown defender Dustin Byfuglien in this one. Vancouver had their chances to score goals to get back into games, and couldn’t capitalize.
There is time to fix this, though. Travis Green has been juggling the power play units and is looking for the right combinations. That’s fine, and maybe he will finally craft together a productive group on the man advantage.
But the Canucks lack of offence can be pinpointed by not taking advantage on the power play, while also allowing Tyler Myers to score the eventual game winner while shorthanded.
Where’s the scoring?
Surprise, surprise. Bo Horvat and Henrik Sedin each have two points, which puts them first in Canucks scoring. Yes, it’s only three games into the season, but many of the Canucks forwards have yet to make an impact on offence.
Loui Eriksson is supposed to have a bounce-back year, but he has one assist and two shots on goal through three games. Sam Gagner has just one assist, while Jake Virtanen, Markus Granlund and Sven Baertschi are all pointless with 10 shots combined.
A lack of offence has been Vancouver’s biggest weakness in the past four seasons. If 2017-18 is to be a year of progress, all their forwards are going to step up. It’s still early and there is time to get better, of course.
But through the first three games, Vancouver’s offence doesn’t look any better than at any point last season.