Special team struggles continue
If only this contributor had a nickel every time the Canucks
started a game poorly
were an absolute disaster on their special teams.
The team once again surrendered the first powerplay of the game, thanks to a cross-check from big-bodied blueliner Luke Schenn. His teammates were fortunately able to kill off the penalty, but it didn’t help Vancouver’s overall effort and success moving forward.
Anaheim continued to cycle the puck well and maintain consistent even strength pressure in Vancouver’s end, which eventually led to a slashing penalty on J.T. Miller.
Unlike their first attempt, Anaheim was able to strike quickly on this man advantage, thanks to a Rickard Rakell deflection that slipped past Demko.
As expected, Anaheim was once again able to take advantage of Vancouver’s horrendous penalty kill setup, potting their fourth goal of the game just 21 seconds into their powerplay.
Vancouver technically didn’t give up another powerplay goal while Hughes was in the box, but can you really call it a successful penalty kill when you’re hemmed in your own zone for the full two minutes, failing miserably to clear the puck on two separate occasions while eventually just giving up the goal two seconds into returning to even strength? (spoiler alert, the answer is no).
The Canucks were able to find pad their own powerplay stats later on in the second period, with Hughes teeing up Elias Pettersson for an absolute rocket from the circle to cut the lead to 5-2, but the momentum was extremely short-lived, thanks to what can only be described as a baffling beer-league sequence that eventually led to Adam Henrique’s second goal of the game just 63 seconds later.
In the end, Vancouver allowed Anaheim to register two goals on five man advantage attempts, marking the third consecutive game that the Canucks have surrendered two powerplay tallies to their opponents.
What’s even more concerning is who is taking these penalties for the Canucks, with players like Miller, Horvat, Hughes and Brock Boeser all becoming regular visitors in the sin bin these days.
After Saturday night’s loss, the Canucks remained dead last in the penalty kill department with a mediocre success rate of 69.1%.
Simply put, that’s also nowhere near good enough for a team who is desperately trying to make it into the postseason.