Special teams struggle
Another day, another tough outing for the Canucks’ special teams.
Similar to Halak’s performance, the powerplay and penalty kill weren’t necessarily poor on Saturday afternoon, but the Canucks definitely needed both units to step up much more than what was seen.
For the first time in recent memory, head coach Travis Green is actually able to roll out two strong units on the man advantage, instead of relying solely on his primary powerplay specialists.
As expected, Green is opting for the services of Horvat, Elias Pettersson, J.T. Miller and Quinn Hughes on the first unit. Aside from Horvat, each player has recorded at least one powerplay point in the first three games, as has newcomer Alex Chiasson, who has been serving as the replacement for the injured Brock Boeser.
Unfortunately, despite the point production, it still seems that their chemistry hasn’t been fully established yet, and that was definitely the case on Saturday.
The Canucks ended up going scoreless on three powerplay opportunities, and were never able to properly set up or create consistent offensive pressure in Detroit’s end. The team also surrendered a powerplay goal of their own, which ended up standing as the game-winner.
Don’t get us wrong, there’s still no need to press the panic button for the special teams in Vancouver. The team just needs a bit more regular season action for their new shorthanded units to find consistency and comfort, especially on the blueline, and will only improve when Tyler Motte and Brandon Sutter return to the line-up.
Plus, it’s only a matter of time until their star players perform up to their high expectations on the man advantage, much like they did two seasons ago.
Hopefully both occur sooner than later for Vancouver.
- Hughes led all Canucks in ice time with 29:09, including 11:20 in the third period and over four minutes on the powerplay. He finished the night with five SOG and a minus one rating.
- Troy Stecher was a healthy scratch on Saturday afternoon. The 27-year-old spent four seasons with Vancouver before joining Detroit as a free agent prior to the 2020-21 season.
The Canucks will be off on Sunday and Monday before continuing their six-game road trip with a Tuesday afternoon contest against the Buffalo Sabres. Puck drop is set for 4:00pm PST.
What were your thoughts from Saturday’s contest in Detroit? Make sure to drop a comment below!