The Vancouver Canucks lost their fourth game in a row during their soul-crushing 7-1 loss to the Nashville Predators. Here is what we learned, even if we want to forget.
To put it simply, that was awful. The Vancouver Canucks put up their worst performance of the season in front of the home crowd at Rogers Arena. Life seems to move quickly. On Monday, we thought that was the worst game of the season, but little did we know it would get so much worse.
The Nashville Predators must remember the last time the Canucks faced them. We all remember it as the game where Daniel Sedin got his 1,000th point and the team pulled a gutsy comeback win for Derek Dorsett. Anders Nilsson stole a win in Nashville and the Preds wanted to even the score.
Except, they did much more than that. I almost confused the Predators with the Tennessee Titans since Nashville dropped a touchdown in Vancouver. Simply put, the Canucks were humiliated on home ice.
With each passing game, the playoffs are getting further out of reach. The team is currently three points out of a division or wild card spot. However, the teams in their way have games in hand (San Jose has three).
Another consequence from this string of losses is the fact that the Canucks are four points from falling to 28th place in the NHL. The Oilers are on the upswing and the Canucks are trending downward.
Let’s take a look at what we can learn from this forgettable game.
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Bad luck, but horrendously outplayed
Before you say it, I know who is injured on this team. Frankly, that does not matter. The home team played another sloppy game. It was disappointing that Thomas Vanek‘s goal was overturned by an offside challenge, but we can’t dwell on it.
Lady Luck was on the side of the Predators in this one. P.K. Subban‘s first goal and the bounce off Filip Forsberg. There is no doubt about that. Subban’s second goal from centre ice gave the Canucks haunting flashbacks to the stinker Dan Cloutier let in from centre ice.
Furthermore, the Canucks were outshot 48-26. This is the most shots given up this season and it is unacceptable. Absolutely unfair to leave your goalie out to dry like that.
There were many passengers, including Sam Gagner, who just watched Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson complete a 2-on-0 for a shorthanded goal. Nilsson had little run support and he wasn’t getting a lot of help from Alexander Edler, Michael Del Zotto or Derrick Pouliot.
To make matters worse, Chris Tanev was tangled up in a collision and had to leave with an injury that currently has no update. The team is in a bad spot right now and losing Tanev makes their problems a whole lot worse. We could be seeing Alex Biega again, or Erik Gudbranson if he is cleared to play.
Despite the poor effort, there were a few bright notes about the game. First, Henrik Sedin was credited with an assist on the Vancouver Canucks’ lone goal. That gives the Canucks captain 800 career assists. That puts Henrik 31st on the list of all time assist leaders in NHL history. Congratulations, Henrik!
Second, Brock Boeser gave the fans our nightly dose of hope. Unfortunately, hope appears to be fewer and farther between with the fact that Boeser is our only consistent source of offence. It is worth noting he is tied for sixth in the NHL in goals scored.
Last, but certainly not least is Nikolay Goldobin. Canucks fans have been waiting for Travis Green to put him back in the lineup and we got our wish. I thought Goldobin was good. He made some nice plays in the offensive zone, but his linemates were not very helpful against Nashville.
I was noticing on Twitter that many were blaming Goldobin for a couple goals against. Primarily the 2-on-0 shorthanded goal and the fifth Nashville goal, but Goldobin did nothing wrong on either play.
On the shorthanded goal I alluded to earlier, Goldobin was the only player skating back to try and defend, while Gagner and Pouliot just watched. Roman Josi beat five Canucks with his outlet pass and Johansen and Arvidsson were cheating far up the ice.
During the other goal, Goldobin had his stick broken from blocking a shot and took away a shooting lane. The goal happened on the opposite side of the zone where the Canucks had yet another defensive breakdown. He played fine. I hope to see him in the lineup on Friday.
The Canucks desperately need secondary scoring
This point has been touched on several times, but Boeser can’t be on the only line producing offence. I understand that injuries have forced two of our best offensive lines into one, but that does not excuse the fact that the rest of our forward group is failing to produce offence.
Loui Eriksson cooled off, putting up no points in his last six games. Vanek has no points in four games. To be fair to him, he was robbed by that offside review. Gagner, the most disappointing UFA signing last summer, has not produced in four games.
Grady Sas shared this bit of insider information from Pierre LeBrun:
The first question I have when I see this is why trade a combination of picks or prospects when you can give the forwards in your system a chance? I would rather see the Canucks call up Reid Boucher instead of pursuing a top nine forward on another team.
Unless general manager Jim Benning will be using Gudbranson to acquire this new forward, I wouldn’t make that trade. There is no point to trade a young defenceman or any futures for this quick fix.
Whatever happens, changes will need to be made. I would keep a close eye on the team. The Canucks are trending in the wrong direction and a desperate GM on the final year of his contract could do something drastic to make the playoffs.
However, the Canucks are near the salary cap and don’t have a lot of room to work with. It will be interesting to see what changes we see between now and the new year. I would advise to carefully consider the next move. Short-term fixes are for contenders, a stage the Canucks are not at just yet.