Vancouver Canucks: Plenty of mistakes, lessons in loss to Red Wings

VANCOUVER, BC - NOVEMBER 6: Alexander Burmistrov
VANCOUVER, BC - NOVEMBER 6: Alexander Burmistrov /

Just when they were about to get a crucial point, the Vancouver Canucks collapsed in their own zone and fell to the Detroit Red Wings. No positive takeaways in this game, unless you’re on Team Tank.

The Vancouver Canucks were supposed to come into this game flying high, coming off an impressive 4-2 victory over the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.

Instead, the Canucks pieced together arguably their most disappointing, lackluster effort of the season. Jacob Markstrom was the only productive Canuck through 45 minutes, the defence was making too many mistakes and the forwards couldn’t make their passes.

Save for goals from Michael Del Zotto and Daniel Sedin, the rest of the game left nothing to feel good about. Red-hot rookie Brock Boeser took a bad penalty which culminated in Chris Tanev scoring…for the other team:

The Canucks had a number of breakaways and 2-on-1s. But they usually wound up with a poor shot right at Jimmy Howard or a bad pass that broke up the opportunity. I lost count of how many times Vancouver turned the puck in their own zone during the third period, but it was ugly. Just look at this:

That’s just not acceptable. The Canucks played so well against the Penguins top-heavy offence on Saturday. Breakdowns like this late in the third period of a tie game simply can’t happen. It cost them at least a point, too.

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Instead of moving past the San Jose Sharks for third in the Pacific Division, they remain tied with four other teams for one of the two wild card spots in the Western Conference.

The Canucks have also lost six of their last eight home games to the Red Wings — a pretty frustrating and disappointing stat. This team and their fans invade Rogers Arena and just force the Canucks into making so many mistakes.

This is a bad loss that the team has to get over. A road gamer against the Calgary Flames is next on the schedule, followed by the ultra-difficult California road trip. There isn’t any time to sulk in this defeat.

It’s also worth nothing that the Canucks haven’t gotten a lot of offence out from anyone other than the ‘Killer B’s line’. Boeser, Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi each had at least three points against Pittsburgh. Before that, the New Jersey Devils shut out Vancouver. And before that, the Dallas Stars held Vancouver to one goal.

With Sam Gagner, Thomas Vanek, Brandon Sutter, Markus Granlund, the Sedins and Jake Virtanen up front, the Canucks have plenty of resources for secondary scoring. It’s simply not coming right now, and head coach Travis Green has to find a way to not be over-reliant on the B’s.

My point is, the Canucks may still be sitting pretty at 7-5-2 — better than anybody expected. But they’re simply not playing great hockey right now. Don’t let that victory over Pittsburgh overshadow this team’s play in the past week.

Next: Chances of the Canucks making the playoffs

The goaltending has been superb. The defence is only good when it wants to be. The offence is virtually non-existent unless the top line is scoring. The Canucks have a lot to learn from this frustrating game, the only question is if they can actually move away from the mistakes they made.