Special teams need to improve
Minus the loss against the Oilers, the Canucks have been in the driver seat in their first two games. So why are they turning up empty-handed?
Special teams are still one step behind. Although there have been notable improvements in both the penalty kill and powerplay, both are ranked in the bottom half of the league.
The Canucks need to get back to the shot first mentality that was prevalent early in Bruce Boudreau’s tenure with the team. With Pettersson visibly more relaxed, and scoring on all fronts, the Canucks have to return to simple and fast passes across the half-walls and bumper positions.
The penalty kill had its best game against the Oilers, preventing any goal. The Canucks stuck to a tight diamond formation to block any movement in the inside perimeter around Martin, who did a terrific job of navigating seeing-eye shots. Rebounds were thrown down the ice by the unit, or left to be swallowed up by the ever composed Martin.
Cold blue line
The Canucks have only had seven goals scored by their defenseman. This leaves most of the scoring to be done by the top 6, who have been struggling at points this season to live up to that.
The Canucks need Oliver Ekman-Larsson to tap into the offensive surge he led in Arizona, with a career-high 23 goals. In order for the goals to come, Ekman-Larsson needs to play a bigger role in carrying the puck up, gaining entry, and switching with fellow defensemen or players to drop down closer to the net.