Once again, the Vancouver Canucks made the opposing goalie look like a first-team all-star last night.
Nikolai Khabibulin, who historicall has a dismal record against the Canucks, looked like Patrick Roy last night playing against Vancouver. But you can’t put all the praise on the Bulin Wall. The Canucks made him look very good.
Khabibulin stopped 39 of 40 shots fired at the Edmonton net, and most of those shots were shot squarely at his logo. Although he did have to make a few great saves, he didn’t even make the best save of the night for the Oilers. That honour goes to Latislav Smid, who slid across the crease to rob Mikael Samuelsson of a sure goal.
Despite the number of shots the Canucks fired, they rarely had to make Khabibulin work for his saves. Therein lies the problem with the Canucks without Daniel Sedin and Pavol Demitra in the line-up. They are missing another sniper. Mikael Samuelsson appears to be the only Canuck capable of acting like a real sniper. He isn’t exactly leading the league in goal scoring, but he is certainly chipping in his share of goals in a good start for him in his career in Vancouver.
In their first eight games, the Canucks’ opposing goalie has been the first star of the game FOUR TIMES. In other words, in half of their games, the Canucks are making the other goalie look brilliant. While I agree with the old adage from Gretzky that "you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take", the Canucks need to do better at taking quality shots. They are not forcing goalies to actually work to make a save.
I added comments to my article yesterday that I wasn’t worried about the Canucks goalscoring. Well the last two games have put me on alert. If they have another game or two where they have the same lack of offensive output as they have against the Wld and the Oilers, it will be time to make a change.
If they cannot get goal scoring out of their current line-up, they need to bring up Shirokov for his scoring touch and Lukowich for his solid defensive play. They need to send Grabner and Rome back down to the AHL as they just have not contributed positively in their time with the Canucks. Mathieu Schneider is nearing a return to the ice and he will add a much needed boost to the power play, with Salo out for 6-8 weeks.
The Canucks need to stop making goalies look good. They need to start making GOALS look good.