Penalty kill bouncing back big
What a difference a new coach can make on a team’s penalty kill.
Ever since Boudreau joined the Canucks organization, their special teams, particularly their penalty kill, has essentially done a full 180. In their previous six games under the new coaching regime, the Canucks had gone 10-for-12 on the penalty kill, ranking 13th in the league during that span, while also becoming more disciplined and committed to laying out the body, all of which was still very much the case on Wednesday.
Well, kind of.
For the first time in seven games, the players deviated from Boudreau’s “Two or Less” infraction rule, making four separate trips to the sin bin. In October and November, this would’ve marked the beginning of the end for this team but, like we’ve seen in many other aspects of their overall game, the Canucks found a way to battle through the tough times in order to rally strong on the other side.
During their four separate opportunities, the California club only managed to register two shots on goal, a direct result of Vancouver’s newfound ability to close down space and suffocate their opponents while also intelligently utilizing a larger handful of players on their bench.
Did their shorthanded units appear shaky and out of position? At times, yes. Did Anaheim still maintain consistent offensive zone pressure on each of their man advantage chances? Most definitely. Did they almost break the tie in the third period to push Vancouver’s penalty kill percentage back down to its previous historic lows? No question.
But, at the end of the day, Vancouver’s personnel managed to accomplish a feat that appeared impossible in the first 25 games of the year, and that should ultimately be rewarded, no matter how the team gets there.
- After being added to the COVID-19 protocol list, Boeser, as well as forward Phillip Di Giuseppe, will be forced to self-isolate in Anaheim for five days.
- With the assist on Pearson’s goal, Hughes now holds sole possession of fifth place amongst all defencemen in scoring with 27 points in 31 games.
- Miller recorded his second overtime winner of the season on Wednesday, as well as his fourth in 2021. With the multi-point performance, Miller now has three goals and eight assists in his past seven games, bringing him up to eighth in league scoring with 34 points in 32 games.
The Canucks are right back at it on Thursday night, taking on Anze Kopitar and the Los Angeles Kings. Puck drop is set for 7:30pm PST at the Crypto.com Arena.
What are your thoughts from Vancouver’s 2-1 comeback win in Anaheim? Make sure to drop a comment below!