The Vancouver Canucks are an embarrassment right now.
After securing back-to-back wins for just the second time this season, the team made their way back to Rogers Arena, looking to make it three in a row against Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins, who were hoping to snap a three-game losing skid heading into Saturday night.
Dare to dream, right?
The Canucks were the inferior team for majority of the game, serving up multiple scoring opportunities to their opposition while also struggling to string together any sort of cohesive plays of their own.
With the loss, Vancouver remained dead last in the Pacific Division, still two points back of the brand-new Seattle Kraken, and they currently sit 28th in the league with a dismal record of 8-15-2.
Only Montreal, New York, Ottawa and Arizona have performed more poorly than the Canucks, but even those teams have managed to come away with victories against far more superior playoff-bound teams.
Without further ado, here are 3 takeaways from Saturday’s 4-1 loss to Pittsburgh:
Penalty box parade
Believe it or not, there was actually a few moments where Vancouver still had a chance to come away with two points.
Despite being outshot 13-7 in the first 20 minutes, the two teams were deadlocked at 0-0 heading into the first intermission, which is always a (somewhat) hopeful sign when you’re a Canucks fans.
Cue the middle frame.
Like we’ve seen so many times before, the Canucks returned to the ice looking fatigued, emotionless and lost, which ultimately trapped them in their own zone for the first three minutes of the second period. As a result, the Penguins were able to cycle the puck and control the play with ease en route to Jake Guentzel’s first tally of the game.
This marked the 10th time in 11 home games that Vancouver surrendered the opening tally.
Vancouver was able to bounce back right after, thanks to Vasily Podkolzin, but it was extremely short-lived.
Just like the hockey gods scripted, Vancouver would go on to take five consecutive penalties, including back-to-back infractions from J.T. Miller. The team was able to kill off the first two man advantages (a statement that this writer hasn’t been able to use at all this season), bringing their success rate to 80% over their past 20 penalties taken, but it all came crumbling down afterwards.
In a span of just 51 seconds, Vancouver took three separate trips to the sin bin, setting up Pittsburgh on a lengthy 5-on-3 powerplay.
Guentzel buried his second and third goals of the period, marking the first hattrick from a Pittsburgh player in Vancouver since Mario Lemieux in 1987.
Pittsburgh ultimately sealed the deal with those two goals, while also outshooting Vancouver 34-12 heading into the second intermission, but it was the underlying stats that really show how damaged this Canucks team really is.
The Canucks finished the evening with two powerplay goals against, zero powerplay goals of their own and, most importantly, a heart-sinking comparison to the Atlanta Thrashers.