In what was their most uninspiring effort of the season thus far, the Vancouver Canucks were beaten and battered all over by an injury-filled Anaheim Ducks squad. Here’s what we learned from the ugly defeat.
The Vancouver Canucks have done a lot right early in the 2017-18 season, but they did just about everything wrong against the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night. When all was said and done, the Canucks were probably just thrilled to escape the Honda Center with a 4-1 loss.
This Ducks team was devoid of John Gibson, Ryan Kesler, Ondrej Kase, Jared Boll, Ryan Getzlaf, Cam Fowler, and Patrick Eaves. Yet it was the Canucks who looked like they were missing their top two centres, No. 1 goalie and a bunch of key role players.
After Sven Baertschi opened the scoring with his fifth goal of the season, the Canucks didn’t do much of anything right. They took six penalties and allowed the Ducks to score on three of them. Vancouver also had five power plays and didn’t score once.
Jacob Markstrom is not at fault for these ones. The Ducks got in close and found guys open in the slot to score. Find me an NHL goalie that’s going to make all the saves on the chances Anaheim had Thursday night.
Alrighty, enough venting. Here are three (not so fun) takeaways from the Canucks loss to Anaheim.
Chris Tanev is missed
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The advanced stats do not lie when showing how valuable Tanev is to the Canucks.
So it wasn’t all that surprising to see Anaheim rack up 35 shots on Markstrom. It didn’t matter how many of their top players were hurt. The Canucks lack of depth on ‘D’ was exposed without Tanev.
If Vancouver is in the playoff race by the trade deadline, general manager Jim Benning will have to find another shutdown defenceman. A team’s success shouldn’t depend so much on the health of their top blueliner.
The Canucks came into the game with a ghastly 16.4 power play percentage, according to ESPN.com. But predictably enough, the Canucks were unable to score despite having five man advantages to work with.
It wasn’t just that they weren’t scoring. The Canucks were all-around sloppy out there. Easy passes were being missed, and it often caused the puck to clear the zone — doing a huge favor for the banged-up Ducks.
Giving Henrik and Daniel 4:49 of power play time each was a questionable call. You don’t usually see bottom-six forwards with the man advantage. Their puck-moving magic isn’t all that magical anymore. It’s time to change up the power play and let the younger kids get the chances.
Whatever head coach Travis Green has tried just hasn’t worked. The definition of insanity is trying the same things over and over again and expecting different results. So maybe the Sedins need a rest from the man advantage, no?
Canucks are slipping, must regroup
For those of you who didn’t check the out of town scoreboard, it didn’t exactly do many favors for the Canucks. The Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers each picked up two points. With that, the Flames are tied for third in the Pacific Division with Vancouver, while the Oilers are just five points back with a game in hand.
The Ducks moved just one point behind Vancouver with the victory, while the Chicago Blackhawks Dallas Sharks, San Jose Sharks and Colorado Avalanche all trail the Canucks by two points.
Thursday’s loss wasn’t an off night; the Canucks have now lost four of their last six games. They have not been dominant in two weeks.
With Tanev and Stecher out, the Canucks are going to have to regroup and find ways to clean up the mistakes. The playoff race is tight right now, but it doesn’t take long for a team to fall apart quickly and wind up in the basement.
If the Canucks want to continue what’s been a successful season thus far, they have to find ways to regain that form they displayed over the first 10 games.