Canucks Army Postgame: Never Any Doubt-y

Normally, I’d try to lead with a somewhat catchy paragraph here to get your attention and encourage you to read on. Not tonight. Tonight was awful. Read past the jump to see how awful tonight was.

Spoilers: it was awful.

The Rundown

Vancouver had a chance to open the scoring early as Kyle Clifford and Jake Muzzin took two consecutive penalties to put the Canucks on a 5-on-3. Vancouver couldn’t so much as muster a single grade-A scoring chance though, and the game went all downhill from there.

About 10 minutes into the first, the Canucks iced the puck. They couldn’t clear the zone on the ensuing faceoff, and the puck squirted back to Alec Martinez at the point. Martinez fired a shot on goal that was stopped by Ryan Miller, but Marian Gaborik was able to find the puck in the resulting scramble before any Canucks could locate it. Gaborik shoveled the puck over Miller to give the Kings a 1-0 lead.

Jake Muzzin scored the Kings’ second goal of the night just a few short minutes later, as he was allowed to walk in from the point and direct a wrister over Miller’s glove, then Anze Kopitar added to the Kings lead about three minutes after that when he broke in all alone and roofed a shot short side, directly under the crossbar to bring the score to 3-0 for the home side.

The night got no better for Vancouver, as they weren’t even able to mount modest pressure on Jonathan Quick and the Kings before Bo Horvat blew a clearing attempt and Kevin Bieksa blew his coverage, allowing Tyler Toffoli to tap home a rebound, giving Los Angeles a 4-0 lead.

Ryan Miller was pulled in favour of Eddie Lack to start the third period, and Lack was thrown right into the fire. Two minutes in, Jeff Carter was sprung on a breakaway. He shrugged of the Sedins’ backchecks before firing a laser of a shot right over Lack’s shoulder, putting the Kings ahead 5-0.

Chris Higgins would break up Jon Quick’s shutout bit in the latter half of the final frame, but it really didn’t matter. Los Angeles had thoroughly outclassed the Canucks all night, so this goal was just a footnote in an otherwise poor effort:

Los Angeles wins by a final score of 5-1.

The Numbers

G14 v Los Angeles

Courtesy of NaturalStatTrick.com

There’s not really much to say here – this game wasn’t really close. It wasn’t close by the underlying metrics, and it certainly wasn’t close on the scoreboard either. Vancouver should have lost on Thursday to the Sharks, but Buffalo should have lost every single game they’ve played this season. Some nights when you play really poorly, you can still win hockey games. Tonight wasn’t one of those nights.

L.A. laid the boots to the Canucks in the second period in particular. When the Canucks were down 3-0 and should have had a bit more pushback, they went +8/-22 for a 26.7% Corsi in the frame at even strength, which was quite representative of how soundly the Kings were able to control them. They weren’t much better even when L.A. basically stopped playing about halfway through the 3rd, finishing the game with a paltry 30.4% of the even strength shots, and 33.8% of the shot attempts.

We still have to remember that this is just one game, but it’s worth noting that the Canucks are now a sub-50% possession team on the year according to war-on-ice.com. Daniel, Henrik, and Radim Vrbata are also the only three remaining forwards that are in the black for possession, which is kind of what we expected going in to the year, but it’s disappointing nonetheless.

Vancouver still has to play 5 or 6 more games until we get a good read on what they really are, but we’re getting closer and closer to being able to make a decent determination. Right now, their performance against teams we know to be good is quite disheartening.

The Conclusion

The good news is that there’s not a lot of time to let this loss fester, as Vancouver is back in action tomorrow evening against the Anaheim Ducks in a showdown for first place in the NHL. The bad news is that the already hobbled Canucks may be without Radim Vrbata, Derek Dorsett, and Luca Sbisa as well, as all three left tonight’s game with injuries.

Zack Kassian has been sent home to get treatment on his leg, so he won’t be playing. Nicklas Jensen and Yannick Weber will undoubtedly draw into the lineup, but Vancouver will have to call up another player from Utica to fill out the final roster spot. We’ll undoubtedly see who that is as soon as tomorrow morning.

  • pheenster

    Unfortunately as a 5th grade teacher in LA, I lost a bet with my class! We play baseball on Monday afternoon instead of math….. Who is the real winner?

    Look, Canucks have played a lot of road games and the Kings are good, very good. If they score on the 5-3 then I believe it is a different game. What I love is Coach Willie didn’t take Miller out after the 4th goal like I was screaming… Waited until the break, then probably said you will beat The Ducks tomorrow, also did the same with Vrbata.

    If at the start of the trip we all would have said a 2-2 trip is a success, there is a chance for 3-1. Coach Willie is the perfect fit for this team… Passionate, intense, but understanding. No blame spread around, just on to the next game.

    I’m really enjoying this season so far! Let’s bounce back against the “Richards” I mean the D$cks…..

  • pheenster

    No argument that they blew goats tonight. They didn’t show up. Quite honestly, I’d be more concerned if they looked like they had put in any kind of an effort – which is its own issue, but not one so easily evaluated via statistics.

    One data point to keep in mind before everyone lines up at the ledge: games played vs. the East.

    Anaheim – 7
    Calgary (included here because of their record and not because I think they’re a serious threat) – 9
    Los Angeles – 7
    San Jose – 8
    Vancouver – 4

    I’ll let someone with better math skills than I expound on what this means, if anything.

    • NM001

      You don’t get it do you? the Canucks were sodomized like a boy in a gay prison tonight.

      The kings are contenders. Then there are the pretenders. The Canucks are intenders. They intend to be pretenders but can’t even manage that.

      Well deserved to a group of people in a Province who hates winning.

  • Brent

    Well yes that was ugly. But they actually didn’t play that bad in the first. Much better than they did against SJ. I think they suffered from a slight regression by Miller. No chance on the first but he went down a little early on the next two. Canucks had good push back after the LA goals.

    But the second period, yuck. I think this was more that LA came out and just turned it on. Which means we are going to have big trouble against good teams, especially big teams like everyone in California, playing at their best. Which means we will be fighting for a wild card spot. this season.

  • Brent

    Ok, well that sucked. However, lest we start writing off the season, let me remind everyone that the last time we got really “out-everythinged” like we were tonight was the first loss at Colorado, in October. That one stung too but it was one game. It’s only because everyone’s got themselves in such a tizzy about the California teams that they want to use this game as a barometer for something.

    LA was obviously better, some lessons were learned, but it’s a long season.

  • Waffles

    That corsi graph is terrifying.

    Still, the Canucks were bound to lose a game like this on the road trip.

    If the Canucks start getting dominated like this every other game, that’s a huge problem. If they play five more games like this over the course of the season, that is totally okay…

    • Waffles

      Definitely enjoyed that indirect dig at Goon for his “5 more games like this are totally okay” comment on the SJS post-game thread :p

      Looks like we only have room for “four more games like this over the course of the season” now.

    • Brent

      If you’re looking for hockey you’re on the right website.

      If you’re looking for a team who cares about winning then keep looking.

      #buildbikelaneswithyourownmoneymayorrobertshat