June 10 2011 09:56AM
Boy I sure hope that the Cancks get themselves summa that goal scoring goodness tonight.
See? You CAN score on Thomas. GO DO IT.
(Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
Game Day Recon: Stanley Cup Final Game 5 - Bruins @ Canucks
It's now a best-of-three. And the Canucks still have home-ice advantage.
So now they only have to do one thing: hold serve.
Game Time: 5:00 PM PT
To paraphrase what Kevin Bieksa said after Game 3, "This isn't Champions League. It's not scored on aggregate." That's a good thing, because they were outscored 12-1 in Boston. But now it doesn't matter if they were outscored by 11 goals, or if they lost both games 2-1 in triple overtime. The series is still tied 2-2.
Fans are panicking and media is salivating because Luongo looks fallible, the power play looks inept and the defense looks confused. Just like in Games 4 and 5 against Chicago. In fact, I'd argue that the Canucks game 4 against Boston was a big improvement. They looked overmatched in the first two periods, but it wasn't grotesque. They stay disciplined, turned away from scrums, and didn't engage in any pissing contests. They got plenty of shots. All good things.
The problem is that they got very few proper scoring chances, especially on the power play. And that is ABSOLUTELY where they need to focus their efforts and energy tonight. A SINGLE power play goal tonight from the Sedins and they are back. They get back their confidence. They get back their feeling that Thomas can be beat. But in order to do that, they have to turn their power play opportunities into SCORING opportunities, something they didn't do in Boston. They let Thomas act like the king of the roost in his crease and they were either too close to him or too far away. They need to stay close to Thomas, but not on top of him. Far enough away to pounce on the rebounds that Thomas gives up. And they need to simplify their power play. They're overthinking, overpassing. It needs to be pass-pass-shoot-rebound.
As for the defense... I REALLLLLLLLLY hope the Bowness is leading his guys on drills on how to get the puck out of their own zone. Their inability to clear pucks effectively just KILLED them in Boston. This is precisely why I hope (and want) AV to switch out Alberts and put Tanev in with Ballard. Tanev plays smart, simple and patient and that is EXACTLY what the Canucks D needs to be tonight. And they need to quit playing the puck along the boards. The Bruins are just waiting for pucks there. Waiting to put the squeeze on the Canucks forwards along the wall. The Canucks D needs to take a breath, Make a pass straight up to a forward, who can take the puck with speed. They need to stop forcing their own forwards to fight for pucks along the boards, before it's even out of the zone. North-South passes.
As for Luongo.. listen - I am not on a Luongo bashing kick. I honestly don't feel that much of what happened in Boston was his fault. In fact, I have Luongo third down the "blame chart" - 1. Power Play. 2. Defense. 3. Luongo. Out of twelve goals, he let in two bad ones. And he should have even BEEN in the net for the last 4 goals in Game 3. He SHOULD have been pulled in the second intermission. As long as he gets back to playing his game, and the team in front of them simply DOES their JOB, he'll be fine. He'll be more than fine.
The Canucks have plenty of inspiration and lessons to draw on for tonight's game. This scenario is eerily similar to their series against Chicago. They just need to play with calm. Get back to playing the brand of Canucks hockey that made them so successful throughout the playoffs. Be smart. Be disciplined. Be quick. Be physical. We all know they CAN do it... they just have to put it into action... and also score a goddamn power play goal, for christ's sake. That would really help.
The Three Keys
Here are the three keys for the Vancouver Canucks tonight:
1. The Sedins have to have a GAME. A BIG game. This needs to be their show now.
2. Get the puck out of your own zone. 1-2 passes MAX to get it out. Be patient, but quick.
3. Quit skating arounf Thomas. Stay in front of him, not on top of him. Get those rebounds.
Here are your top 5 links for today's game:
1. Tale of the Tape: Bruins @ Canucks (Canucks.com)
2. Game 5 marks watershed in Canucks history (The Province)
3. 5 Canucks factors for Game 5: What must be done to bounce the Bruins (Vancouver Sun)
4. Canucks, Bruins begin their best-of-3 (CBC Sports)
5. Tim Thomas and Bruins shutout Canucks 4-0 to even series at 2-2 (Stanley Cup of Chowder) << SEE WHAT THE ENEMY HAS TO SAY!