That was an ugly one for the Vancouver Canucks.
After seven straight contests at home, the team made their way to Denver, hoping to kick off their three-game road trip with a win against the Colorado Avalanche at Ball Arena on Thursday night.
They couldn’t have been farther from achieving that.
The Canucks easily put up their worst overall performance of the season, showing zero emotion, physicality, speed or desire to win en route to a 7-1 thrashing. The team once again held Thatcher Demko out to dry between the pipes, allowing Colorado to score six goals in the first two periods, while also appearing multiple steps behind the play from their opening shift.
The team was also only able to muster three shots on goal in the first period, matching Colorado’s goal total.
With the embarrassing loss, the Canucks’ record fell to 5-7-2 over their first 14 games of the season, good for second last in the Pacific Division. Only six other teams have fewer regulation wins than Vancouver right now, including Montreal, Chicago and Arizona. Yikes.
There was very little to be happy about from Thursday night’s loss, with Canucks fans storming the streets of Twitter as early as the first period to passionately proclaim their long-brewing displeasure towards head coach Travis Green and General Manager Jim Benning.
No matter how the organization chooses to operate after this beatdown (if they decide to do anything all), the Canucks will need to find a way to regroup and re-engage before their Saturday night date with the Vegas Golden Knights.
Without further ado, here are three takeaways from Thursday’s 7-1 embarrassment against Colorado:
Another game, another painfully slow start
Not to sound like a broken record, but the Canucks need to clean up their opening act in the first period.
For the 12th time in 14 games, the Canucks weren’t able to find the back of the net first, surrendering the opening tally just 3:18 into the first period. It’s been a common theme for Vancouver, who hold a dismal record of 4-6-2 when allowing the first goal of the game. They’ve also allowed at least one first period goal in all but one game this year.
What’s worse is that the Canucks’ first period woes go beyond the opponent’s scoresheet.
In their 14 first periods this season, the Canucks have conceded 42 more shots than what they’ve generated, which is supported by their league-worst 4.3% shooting percentage. As expected, the team also hasn’t been able to provide any early offensive contributions given these analytics.
So far, Vancouver is being outscored by a margin of 16-5 in the first 20 minutes, and have been shut out on ten separate occasions in that opening frame. In addition, they’ve only had one multi-goal first period all year, which took place way back on October 19th against the Buffalo Sabres.
There’s no doubt that the Canucks still need to figure out their team identity for the remainder of the season but, at this point, they’re slowly becoming the club that will just roll over and play dead as soon as you apply some pressure after the opening faceoff.