Canucks Army Postgame: Jamie Benn Jamie Benn Jamie Benn Jamie Benn


“Must-win game!” “Biggest game of the year!” “Fighting for their playoff lives!”

Those are all things you probably heard leading up to tonight’s showdown with the 2nd-place-in-the-wildcard Dallas Stars. Since Vancouver was sitting just two points back of the Stars but with two more games played, a loss would really go a long way to pushing Vancouver’s season to the brink. You’d expect then that the Canucks would come out flying in a desperate attempt to gain some oh-so-valuable ground on one of the teams they’re chasing, right?


Haha, wrong! Vancouver learned the hard way that you cannot stop Jamie Benn, you can only hope to contain him. He and Tyler Seguin combined for 4 goals and 4 assists in a 6-1 beatdown of the Canucks in the first game of the post-Luongo era. Read past the jump for a recap and possibly some group therapy. Possibly.

The Rundown:

The post-Luongo era began in probably the most fitting way possible: with a complete defensive meltdown and Eddie Lack getting shelled and unable to bail out his team. Jamie Benn’s line almost manufactured a goal on their first shift of the game, but then they came right back and got a goal on their second. Tyler Seguin was unable to beat Eddie Lack on a breakaway, but then the aforementioned Jamie Benn jammed in the rebound to make the score 1-0 Dallas.

Soon after, not-Bo Horvat drew a penalty (he’s elite at drawing penalties, by the way) on Kevin Bieksa. The Canucks pressed for a shorthanded chance, but it backfired. Jamie Benn and Alex Chiasson sprung Tyler Seguin on a breakaway where he fired a snapper over Lack to put Dallas ahead 2-0. Seguin wasn’t done their either, as a few shifts later, he fluttered a puck by Lack to give the Stars a surely insurmountable 3-0 lead.

The 1st wouldn’t go quietly into the night however, as Zack Kassian hit another Canucks Army favourite Brenden Dillon from behind, earning a five-minute penalty and a game misconduct. The major penalty carried over into the early second period where Tyler Seguin once again made a beautiful play to get the puck to Ray Whitney, who set up Alex Goligoski cross-crease for the easy powerplay goal. The deluge wasn’t yet done either, as Ryan Garbutt fired a shot past Eddie Lack on a 2-on-1 to make the score 5-0 for the Dallas Stars.

Everything that happened from this point on was pretty much irrelevant, as it is in blowout losses. Zac Dalpe would break up Kari Lehtonen’s shutout bid on a powerplay…

…but Tyler Seguin would restore the 5 goal lead in the 3rd period with his 3rd goal and 5th point of the game. By the way, what was Zac Dalpe doing on the powerplay? Is that how far the Canucks have fallen? Actually the answer to that is probably “yes.”

Unless you’ve opened your heart and mind to the prospect of Jamie Benn potentially slaying the Blackhawks in round 1 of the playoffs, the highlight of the game was definitely Roberto Luongo’s Twitter account. The guy was on fire tonight:

Mercifully, Thing 4 did make his Canucks Debut in the 3rd period, stopping 4 of 5 Stars shots in relief of Eddie Lack. 1 period of work in a blowout loss really means nothing, so we won’t go into that further.

Vancouver’s 6-1 loss drops them to 5th in the Wild Card race, 4 points back of Dallas and the Stars still have two games in hand. With the trade deadline approaching, now would be a good time to declare the season over, sell some veterans and acquire pieces for next ye– oh. Right.


The Numbers

Fenwick chart for 2014-03-06 Canucks 1 at Stars 6

EV fenwick chart for 2014-03-06 Canucks 1 at Stars 6

Charts courtesy ExtraSkater, but you already knew that.

Analyzing blowout wins and losses isn’t really telling because usually they’re anomalies with a ton of scoring in the first few minutes, then the game settles down and nothing really happens over the next two periods. That’s kind of what happened here. Vancouver wasn’t ready, Dallas jumped all over them, Eddie Lack had a stinker. Oh well. It happens.

More concerning is the Canucks complete inability to generate anything resembling offence. They are 28th in the NHL in goals for per game at 2.28, and even that is tenuous. Calgary is sitting in 29th at 2.27 goals for per game, and at the rate Vancouver is going, should catch the Canucks within a week. They have 8 goals in their past 7 games, and have managed to score 3 or more just 4 times in 2014, and two of those–which were both losses–were in early January. This chart shouldn’t surprise you then:

Vancouver Canucks 2013-2014 rolling 10-game 5v5 PDO (2)

Vancouver’s ineptitude is certainly real, but there’s more going on than “the team sucks.” They’ve been crushed by injuries and awful luck, and now they look completely tuned out and disinterested. Shawn Matthias (who had a solid debut) aside, no Canuck forward attempted more than 4 shots on goal, and most of those attempts came in garbage time when the Stars had mailed it in too.

The goals will start coming in greater frequency soon. They have to. No team operates at a 0.950 PDO for an extended period of time, but when that time does come it’s going to be too late. The chances of Vancouver sneaking into the playoffs now are extremely remote and tonight’s loss to Dallas goes a long way to hammering a nail in the coffin of the 2013-14 Canucks.

The Conclusion

It’s probably time to start keeping an eye on this years’ draft prospects, as this ridiculous season provides a great opportunity to add a top-10 or better prospect to the system without really being a bottom-10 NHL team. Until then, we’re most likely in line for some more dull, losing hockey. What fun.

The next game is on Saturday night against the Calgary Flames, although I wouldn’t blame you if you chose to go stick your hands in a wood chipper instead. That might be less painful. But we’ll be here if you choose to indulge in some self-loathing instead. See you then.

  • argoleas

    Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. We now see how GMMG and Torts have figured out how to break all those NTCs without actually ever asking those players to waive them. They have made things so intolerable that everyone has plainly tuned out everything. So we should see lots and lots of activity this summer as everyone that is a veteran will be bailing out.

  • argoleas

    Cory Schneider has a .926 career save percentage.

    Roberto Luongo has a .919 career save percentage.

    Vancouver’s goalie tandem has a .906 career save percentage.


  • Ragnarok Ouroboros

    I actually find the Canucks unwatchable right now. I PVR the game and when I see the score, I delete the game. Occasionally I’ll suffer through a game (like the Phoenix game) hoping they will at least score a goal, and I get rewarded with disappointment again, and again.
    At least when the Oilers lose, they pop 3-4 goals in the net to make the game at least interesting. In twenty years, I’ve never seen the team play so bad…

  • Orpo

    I’m actually more into the Canucks now than ever before.
    Sure, they might stink for a bit just like the Flames and Oil but at least it’ll be fun to watch games with my friends from Calgary and Edmonton.
    And tbh I think Gillis is doing a better job than other GMs of Western Canadian teams (Sutter). Imagine if we had held onto Luongo like Calg held onto Kipper and Iggy??!

    BTW I’ll be attending the game on saturday and I’m so excited for what I’m sure will be a friggin’ fantastic Hockey match, and I hope to see Sestito punch McGrattan right in the nose. #sports

  • Brent

    Scratch Booth for the rest of the season so he can’t get hurt and avoid the buyout.

    Put the Sedins both on LTIR so they can actually be healthy next season while Kesler gets a chance to be 1st line C.

    Call up Jensen, Corrado, Gaunce, Sauve and Welsh so they can play at the NHL level.

    Draft in the top 10 and forget this season ever happened.

  • Brent

    Wow. There’s tanking, and then there’s this.

    You know things are bad when you take a look at the scores and say “Man, must be nice to be a Sabres fan tonight”.

  • Big Cap

    A team should be coached to their strengths. Instead we have a team not built correctly playing to the style of their coach. So bull headed Torts is dead wrong with what he’s doing!

    HOWEVER – Everyone knew Tort’s style and expectations as a head coach. He always has been honest and upfront. SO, then we must look at the Joker who hired this guy believing he would be a right fit for this team. Once again, Gillis fails!

    Reviewing his drafting, trading, and UFA/ RFA signing history, Gillis is a JOKE!

  • acg5151

    At this point we aren’t making the playoffs this year or next. Might as well tear it down, get as many draft picks as we can, and start rebuilding. I kind of hate saying it because we will be in for 5-10 years of this, but facts are facts, and if we suck hard enough next year and win the lottery we get McDavid, who could become a first line center.

    Edler, Garrison, Hamhuis will all fetch first round picks – I see at least two being traded, not to mention other second and third rounders.

    Kesler = multiple picks + first rounder + player.

    Might as well keep Kevin Bieksa because we will need to ice an NHL roster.

    I really hate to say that because I love all of the players on this team, but it isn’t working anymore and it ain’t going to work.

    • acg5151

      I don’t think this is a shock to most. The Canucks were in a decline after the Cup run but Gillis did very little to change the roster. So, we have a total of 1 win in the last 2 playoff seasons. This isn’t all on Torts or the team this year. Our troubles started long ago.

      Having said that, I think Torts lost the room after he started Lack at the Heritage Classic. I only say this because of the way the team has played since then and before – the effort has been shameful over the last two games. They’re playing to get the coach fired is my guess.

    • acg5151

      Sent from the sub-basement?

      The Canucks are terrible and still 14 points ahead of the Oilers. They’re exciting to watch and are gonna contend next year though right?

  • acg5151

    Not trading Kesler tells me MG is gone at the end of the season. Let’s get a real gm “Burke” and let him make the deals and build the new canucks. A couple of crappy years and we should be able to build up our prospects. Ask the twins to retire, at least Daniel, Hank might still be able to do it. We should pray for as many loses as possible till the end of the year to enhance our draft position.

  • The Benevolent Orca

    There are two very good things to look forward towards.

    The first is a result of sinking so fast. A Top 5 draft pick. Depending on how hard and fast we sink, maybe even a Top 3. Huge upside.

    Second thing to look forward to is you know damn well that there will be an influx of young talent working hard this summer to make the team next fall. Knowing full well they have as good a shot as anyone.

    On a final thought. There is something going on with this team that goes a lot deep than players playing like crap. Either Torts has lost the room, Gillis has lost the respect of the players, or ownership has tainted the room with a foul odour. Either way, I imagine a lot of players waiving their NTC’s this summer. Here’s hoping ownership listens to Gillis or the new GM and starts to rebuild.

    Insanity is doing the exact same thing, over and over again expecting things to change. That. Is. Crazy.

  • UkeeRob

    I will always consider Luongo to be an all time Canuck great. But maybe he should just focus on going forward with the Panthers. These sarcastic tweets about Canuck games are a little classless. Would he have tweeted similar things if Carey Price had laid an egg in the quarter finals of the Olympics? Furthermore did he call his agent to contact Yzerman after Babcock went with Price like Tortarella went with Lack at the Heritage Classic? I doubt it. I understand he just wants to play but maybe he should accept that he’s not always going to be the guy that the coach wants to go with. Well at least now he doesn’t have to worry about it.

  • UkeeRob

    So clearly this season is lost. I would not be opposed to a disastrous final 17 games of this season to boost our draft number. Might as well make all the losing worthwhile, right?

    /googles draft rankings

  • jung gun

    This Canuck season reminds me of the Habs season a couple years ago when they finished last in the East. That year the wheels fell off for them, but they weren’t really that bad. They got a blessing in disguise by being able to draft Galchenyuk, they fired the GM and coach, brought in some younger pieces (eg. Gally) and then the next season finished 2nd in the East. They probably aren’t as good as 2nd either, but definitely a playoff team.

    The Canucks should look at that and see some hope for next year. They still have quite a few good pieces. Get a new GM, new coach, bring in some younger players (Gaunce, Horvat, Shinkaruk, Jensen), get a good draft pick this year and possibly bring in that player as well. Also with the cap going up there will be a good chance to land a player or 2 in free agency.

    This season really shows us how much of a 1 line team the Canucks were for many years – the Sedins and Burrows carried the load and when they can’t score the rest of the team showed it’s true colours. I think a realistic expectation of the Sedins next year is to take the tough matchups and do a lot of the heavy lifting (especially if they are not scoring at the same rate anymore), and create an exploitation line with either Kesler or the pieces that he brings back. To do this they will need offensive minded guys who can thrive in softer minutes.

  • jung gun

    What do you guys think of Ehlers? I’m thinking we should draft more speed and skill to compliment the grinders we’ve drafted over the last few years. Gaunce and Horvat are defensive minded, and if Horvat is going to have any semblance of success, he needs talented wingers to surround him. Shinkaruk and Ehlers looks to me as if it could be a dangerous second line at the NHL level in two-three years, potentially an above average first line, if everything goes smoothly. That’s unlikely, but possible. I’m still worried that we don’t have a genuine bona-fide first line centre who’s capable of making plays effectively. A truly offensive skater. Shinkaruk’s labelled as that, and as a centre, but from what I’ve seen and read, he’s a L winger. Anyway, do you guys know about potential peeps we could draft that’d work as a replacement first line centre for the Sedins? They’re done working up there in two years for sure. Or would it be preferable to have a 2A, 2B, 3A, 3B line up that rolls continuously? Something similar to St. Louis, I guess. I can see that as a viable future for this team, given the prospects and current roster. No stars, but a potentially solid team.

    • jung gun

      Wow there are a lot of ugly trolls out now. Where were you guys over the last 6-7 years? Oh that’s right you don’t have your own decent hockey team so you can only enjoy the failures of another one.

      Get bent.