The Vancouver Canucks need answers.
The team made their way to Anaheim on Sunday night, hoping to finish their three-game road trip with a victory. The Canucks were absolutely embarrassed in their last two outings, conceding seven goals apiece, and desperately needed two points before coming home.
Spoiler alert: that didn’t happen.
The Canucks put up yet another lacklustre performance on the road, playing 60 minutes of uninspired and low-energy hockey, much like they did against Colorado and Vegas earlier in the week.
In the end, Vancouver didn’t have an answer for the high-flying Ducks, who are now riding a seven-game win streak, in large part to Trevor Zegras’s first-career three-point outing. Anaheim also received help from captain Ryan Getzlaf, who seems to be having a resurgent season with 17 points in 16 games, as well as Troy Terry, who extended his point-streak to 14 games.
Adam Henrique and Sam Steel added salt to the wound with two more tallies in the final minute.
Meanwhile, the Canucks will be walking away from this road trip with a record of 0-3-0, dropping them to 27th in the entire league, while also getting outscored by a dismal margin of 19-6 in that span.
No matter how you feel about this organization right now, there’s no doubt that changes need to be made to stop the bleeding. But, until then, the players and coaching staff can continue to dwell in their disappointment and frustration as the season starts to slip through their hands once again.
Without further ado, here are three takeaways from Vancouver’s 5-1 loss in Anaheim:
Penalty kill hits yet another low
We’ve run out of ways to describe this penalty kill.
The shorthanded units continued to struggle on Sunday, conceding two more goals on four opportunities.
With those tallies, Vancouver has now allowed at least two powerplay markers in seven of their last eight games, rounding out the total to 15 during that span.
The team did get a much-needed boost with the return of Tyler Motte, who had been sidelined all year after undergoing offseason neck surgery. The former Chicago Blackhawk played with Juho Lammikko and Justin Bailey on the fourth line, replacing Alex Chiasson in the process, and he definitely showed signs of his old self.
Since joining the Canucks, Motte has easily been one of the team’s best bottom-six forwards, bringing aggression and a strong ability to block passing lanes to both even strength and on the penalty kill.
Unfortunately, one person isn’t going to fix this glaring issue.
Heading into Anaheim, Vancouver found itself at the bottom of the league in terms of penalty kill success, executing at an abysmal rate of 63.3%, and that position didn’t change after Sunday’s loss.
Vancouver has gotten much better at their shorthanded faceoff percentage, thanks to Bo Horvat and J.T. Miller, but the team still can’t win puck battles and clear the zone if their lives depended on it.
The penalty kill also continued to rewrite the history books, putting their shorthanded embarrassments into a whole new perspective.
And yes, we are on that list twice.