Powerplay finally strikes
It’s been quite the rollercoaster for Vancouver’s powerplay this season.
The team has performed well under its lofty expectations on the man advantage and currently sits 16th in the league with a success rate of 21.6% in the first six games, which includes two goose eggs against Detroit and Buffalo earlier in the week.
The first unit, in particular, has struggled mightily out of the gate. Led by Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes, the primary unit has been unable to effectively move the puck through the neutral zone while up a man and, as a result, have been unable to properly execute set plays and generate quality scoring chances in the opponent’s end.
The struggles continued on Saturday night, with head coach Travis Green also raising a few eyebrows by slotting Alex Chiasson onto the top powerplay line instead of Brock Boeser. The unit did have a few good looks against Seattle’s penalty kill, most notably thanks to a sneaky back-door play from Pettersson, but Chiasson wasn’t able to capitalize on the glorious opportunity.
Green finally came to his senses in the third period, reuniting Boeser with his usual powerplay linemates after Lammikko drew a penalty on Carson Soucy with just under 10 minutes remaining. Much to the relief of the fans and coaching staff alike, the primary unit was finally able to capitalize on a powerplay opportunity, with Hughes and J.T. Miller pairing up for some nifty passes that eventually led to Horvat pouncing on the rebound for the game-tying goal.
The Canucks still finished the contest with only one goal on four powerplay attempts, but what’s more important is that the team, particularly the first unit, was able to take advantage at the most opportune time.
Let’s hope the Canucks can build on this man advantage momentum moving forward.
- Vasily Podkolzin was a healthy scratch for the second consecutive game. The Russian rookie hasn’t necessarily fared poorly in his first four outings with Vancouver but, given the team’s current winning streak, might have to wait for a loss before Green gives him another look in the line-up.
- The Lotto Line was once again a non-factor on Saturday night, with Pettersson, Boeser and Miller still trying to establish dynamic offensive chemistry together. Pettersson, in particular, has definitely been out of sorts to kick off the new hockey campaign, but fortunately the team has still been able to find ways to win. The trio did perform well on the powerplay, and were able to create a few dangerous chances in the third period, but will need to be much better if the Canucks want to gain serious ground in the wide-open Pacific Division.
The Canucks will be off on Sunday and Monday before finally returning to Rogers Arena on Tuesday night to take on the Minnesota Wild. Puck drop is set for 7:00pm PST.
What were your thoughts on the Saturday night showdown in Seattle? Let us know in the comments!