"Ok, guys! This is more like it! Let’s go do it again."
(Photo by Jeff Vinnick)
Game Day Recon: Stanley Cup Final Game 4 – Canucks @ Bruins
The Vancouver Canucks were absolutely obliterated in Game 3. And so was Nathan Horton. And Aaron Rome is done, as a result. While the Canucks adjust their defense to play without Rome and Hamhuis, that is the least of their problems.
They have to get most aspects of their game back on track. Quickly.
Game Time: 5:00 PM PT
(sorry for the short post. I’m traveling for work this week. Time is sparse.)
The Vancouver Canucks have a BIG, BIG problem on their hands. The Canucks were supposed to own the special teams’ battle in this series. It was supposed to be their smoking gun. But their smoking gun has backfired badly. Special teams were a HUGE factor in Monday night’s blowout loss to the Bruins, as the B’s lit up the Canucks on the power play, and scored 2 short-handed goals to boot. I won’t quote the exact numbers and stats regarding the special teams in Game 3… and that’s because it will make me angry and I’ll punch my laptop. The Canucks have to rethink their approach to playing the Bruins on their power play. Because not only are the Canucks not scoring, it’s costing them dearly.
The Canucks next big problem is their defense and how it will line up in Game 4. With both Hamhuis and Rome out, coach Vigneault will need to adjust his defense pairings. Personally, I would like to see Bieksa with Ehrhoff, Salo with Edler, Ballard with Tanev, and sit Alberts. Ballard and Tanev have been a solid pairing, and proved that in the series against San Jose. And Ehrhoff needs a strong defensive partner, because he looks lost right now.
The Bruins have their own problems now too, as they deal with the loss of Nathan Horton. They will have to adjust their forward lines accordingly, possibly moving Peaverly or Seguin up the depth chart. Horton is a huge loss for the Bruins, but they should have the personnel needed to absorb the loss. It becomes simply a matter of how quickly can new linemates adjust to playing with one another.
So the Canucks lost a blowout against Chicago in Game 4, then… lost a blowout in Game 5. Against San Jose, they lost Game 3, which was becoming a blowout until the Canucks made the score look respectable with a few power play goals. They responded in Game 4 with a great effort and got their power play rolling big-time. So… do the Canucks reply with their Chicago effort or with their San Jose effort?
The Three Keys
Here are the three keys for the Vancouver Canucks tonight:
1. Keep the power play simple. Just like you did in Game 4 against San Jose when you were faced with a similar issue.
2. Play to the whistle, then walk away. For the Canucks like Burrows and Kesler who prided themselves on their new attitude of turning the other cheek, they are failing miserably. They need to smarten the hell up immediately. They need to walk away from scrums as fast as possible. And Maxim Lapierre needs to be added to that list. As much as I like Lapierre’s punch-inducing smile, he needs to cut the crap.
3. Be prepared to work your HARDEST tonight from the opening whistle. Tonight is very much a make-or-break game for both clubs. Boston does not want to go down 3-1 in the series, and Vancouver doesn’t want to return home having lost two straight games. They need to set the tone early. They need to skate as hard as they ever have this season. I dare say they need to treat tonight like a Game 7. They NEED to make this count for the moment the first puck is dropped. NO PASSENGERS TONIGHT.
Here are your top 5 links for today’s game:
1. Tale of the Tape: Canucks @ Bruins (Canucks.com)
2. Canucks D-man Keith Ballard finally ready for his Stanley Cup close-up (The Province)
3. Canucks say message received: Accountability, composure key (Vancouver Sun)
4. Canucks/Bruins Preview (Yahoo! Sports)
5. Game Day Preview (Stanley Cup of Chowder) << SEE WHAT THE ENEMY HAS TO SAY!