The Vancouver Canucks have made history yet again, and no, it isn’t for a good reason.
As chants of “sell the team” rained down from the stands at Rogers Arena on Monday night, the final horn cemented the Canucks’ fifth 5-1 loss at home this season, setting a new National Hockey League record.
More intriguing, but perhaps less surprising to long-term fans of this team, is that the Canucks actually beat their old record of four – set in the 1977-78 season and tied with three other teams.
There isn’t much to say about tonight’s loss, and Bo Horvat summarized this perfectly in his post-game comments.
The thing is, the Canucks had lots of chances to score on Monday. Outshooting the Blues 34-27, Vancouver fired pucks on St. Louis goaltender Jordan Binnington all night.
One of the glaring problems with the play of this Canucks team is a clear lack of an attack plan.
When – and if – the Canucks break out of their zone, their forecheck usually consists of a minor hockey-esque dump-and-chase strategy, in which they’ll fire the puck deep into their opponents’ end and try to get it back.
When the Canucks do have control in the zone, they’re often throwing the puck blindly into the slot or at the net, in hope of finding a player’s stick. At best, it’s a “Hail Mary” attempt at generating scoring chances, and hasn’t worked well at all.
And the few pucks that did trickle through to Binnington were often tipped. Many of these ended up going just wide.
Vancouver seemed to dominate on the powerplay but, despite the Blues gifting them four powerplays in the game, the Canucks failed to capitalize despite getting lots of time in the offensive zone.
Ilya Mikheyev scored the Canucks’ lone goal of the evening in the second period, showing off his speed as he finished a nice deke to the backhand to tie the game at one.
With the game still tied at this point, the Canucks should’ve built on any momentum gained by the Mikheyev goal in the form of more aggressive forechecking or more responsible play, but they didn’t.
The Blues, unlike the Canucks, made the most of their power play opportunities. Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou both scored on the man advantage with high wrist shots from the slot.
Kyrou’s first career hat trick was met with more hats on the ice than one may have expected from a visiting player achieving such a feat.
Kyrou’s third goal, scored midway through the third period, helped the Blues take a commanding lead. After initially silencing the crowd, the Blues’ dominance led many disgruntled Vancouver fans to show their frustration through chants and “boos.”
No jerseys were thrown on the ice on Monday, but the state of fan morale is as clear as ever.
We feel like a broken record for saying this, but changes need to be made.
Simply put: losing 5-1 at home for the second game in a row, for the second time this season, isn’t acceptable. Despite it being the holiday season, it’s no wonder that many seats at Rogers Arena were left unoccupied, with many fans leaving as early as the halfway point of the final period.
I’m not sure I have all the answers, but the fans deserve better. Whether that’s committing to a full rebuild, trading Horvat or Brock Boeser, or making a coaching change, something needs to be done, and within a timely manner.
If this isn’t enough, then I truly don’t know what is.