Canucks Army Postgame: Stoll Victory From the Jaws of Defeat

To be completely honest, there aren’t many ways to try and put lipstick on the pig we watched convulse on the ice tonight. The Los Angeles Kings started the new year off by pounding the Vancouver Canucks in the closest blowout you’ll ever see. Vancouver somehow managed to build a 2-0 lead in the second period despite only firing nine shots on Jonathan Quick, but were outshot to high hell and never seemed to have the puck after that point.

Los Angeles would storm all the way back and win the game in the dying moments with two quick goals that left the Canucks stunned. Though to be fair, the Canucks looked fairly stunned for the first 48 minutes tonight as well. Read past the jump for a recap.

Highlights

Quick Hits

chart

[Canucks.com Recap] – [Desjardins Postgame] – [NHL Game Summary] – [NHL Faceoff Report]

[War-On-Ice Game Report] – [NaturalStatTrick Game Report]

  • Offense and defense are intrinsically linked in hockey, and while your first instinct after seeing a team register 40 shots is to chalk it up to a poor defensive effort, I thought that the larger problem was Vancouver’s complete inability to generate offense. If you want to score, you have to move the puck up the ice somehow, and the Canucks couldn’t do that at all. The Kings stifled all clean breakouts, forced low-percentage dump-ins, and backchecked like hell to break up Canucks retrieval attempts. The best way to beat the trap is with speed and excellent puck movement, which were two things Vancouver absolutely did not have tonight.
  • Before the two late goals, Ryan Miller and Ryan Miller’s posts were having another fantastic night. Miller is playing better of late, and his save percentage is regressing in turn, but some of that regression is just blind-ass luck. The Kings hit two posts early, which is a similar story to what happened in Anaheim and San Jose, so the game could have really got out of hand. This isn’t to take anything away from Miller though – all goalies have runs of good luck built in to their performances over a given season.
  • But man, those two late goals. It should help deflect unnecessary blame from Miller knowing that Vancouver was absolutely terrible all night and Los Angeles deserved those goals much sooner, but it’s still ugly for a guy who’s performance has been questionable at best so far. For what it’s worth, I don’t place the blame on Miller for tonight’s loss. There were far more players that had far worse nights.
  • One of those players: Bo Horvat. Horvat had a 7.1% Corsi (+1/-13) on the night, despite the least defensive deployment that Willie Desjardins could give him – a 75% offensive zone start rate while playing mainly against the Kings’ 4th line. He is currently sitting at a 42.9% Corsi, which is essentially replacement level. I have a tough time believing that a waiver pickup like Kyle Chipchura or even Utica Comets star Dustin Jeffery would bring less to the table. Horvat is just not ready for full-time NHL duty it appears.
  • The Canucks somehow managed to outshoot LA 6-4 when Jannik Hansen was on the ice, which seems impossible given how tonight went. I singled out Horvat above, but no one should escape criticism after that game.

The Conclusion

The Detroit Red Wings, who are once again one of the better teams in the East, come to Rogers Arena for a showdown on Hockey Night in Canada in two days time. Vancouver will need a much better effort than what they offered up tonight, and playing like you’re not hung over from New Years will be a good start. Every point is critical for their hopes to make the playoffs right now, so two points on Saturday will be necessary to keep up with the pack.

  • acg5151

    “Miller is playing better of late, and his save percentage is regressing in turn, but some of that regression is just blind-ass luck. The Kings hit two posts early, which is a similar story to what happened in Anaheim and San Jose, so the game could have really got out of hand.”

    -That’s Offside!

    “Yeah, but a quarter inch the other way and (he’d) have missed completely.”

    -Joshua Jackson as Charlie Conway

    I’ll privilege the words of the Vancouver legend…

  • acg5151

    Perfect way to learn how to not win hockey games!

    Let’s face it the Canucks were lucky to be up 2-1, but with about 15 mins left in the second …. It seemed the score would be 2-1 Canucks or a loss! From 15 mins in the second it was a Kings Power Play….

    Until Willie figures this out, there is no reason to believe. You can’t just score the first bucket in the NBA and hope, or first touchdown in the NFL and run the clock out for 3 1/2 quarters….. Not a way to play professional sports

  • acg5151

    I think mgmt has to really consider sending Horvat back to junior. Kid has played 23 games, he’ll get to 39 in February and if he’s still at 6 mins a night, why burn a year towards UFA status? His faceoff % is trending down. He looks overmatched. Still a A level prospect but not ready for the show.

  • acg5151

    All I could think afterwards:

    “They’ve finally done it. Those geniuses. They’ve used a hockey game as a medium for art. The Canucks have managed to create a hockey game that sums up, as perfectly as possible, what it feels like to be a Canucks fan. What an absolute masterpiece.”

  • acg5151

    Holding on for dear life is a typical Canucks game. They’ve been doing it since the hey days of the WCE. It’s annoying and embarrassing. I get score effects. But this is different. This is a team that plays in front of a lifeless building, with little passion or physical play. If you recall, those early 90s teams were different and fans were different as well.

  • acg5151

    Since the break we’ve been outshot 103-51. That’s been as painful to watch as those last 2 goals. We should be a little thankful we’ve been in the games.

    Stylistically speaking, it always drives me nuts to watch a goalie let in a puck he could have stopped if he’d have just stood there and had the angle. The most basic play a goalie learns. The one by Williams fits that criteria perfectly. Down waaay to early and deep in the net, giving the top of the net up without defending the angle of the shooter…almost praying for a pass. It’s a definite flaw Miller has in his game. He gives up his feet too early in favour of lateral movement. Certainly Williams knew this because his shot went exactly where he wanted it.

    The Stoll, both he and Bieksa were caught in between. Perhaps still reeling from the first one. But short side, from there, NHL calibre goalies make that save.

    As much as I want to see Miller do well, I saw him break last night after being outshot badly for 3 consecutive games. I’d have to say it’s time to give Lack some net to let the old boy recover. Especially if we’re only getting around 17 shots a game.

    Lastly, awesome headline.

    • acg5151

      More Lack less Miller.

      I actually think the Canucks have been ok against the other CA teams — at least they look for the most part like they play in the same league. But against the Kings, both games, it’s like they have no idea how to play at all. Just terrible. I do think the reffing for the Kings is bizarrely sympathetic (given some of the calls I’ve seen this year I have no idea why the constant net crashing doesn’t get even one penalty or all the after the play dirty shots and that Brown trip on Hansen – the one penalty which was so blatant they had to call it – should have gotten a lot more). But regardless the Canucks seem to have no idea how to play against LA and this is for several years now. I don’t know if it’s a combination of coaching and players but it’s bizarre that the Canucks can seemingly make adjustments against other teams and have nothing here.

      • acg5151

        I posted my comment before reading this. I guess I’m pretty much in agreement. Seems like since we lost to the kings in the 1st round we look scared when we play them…

      • acg5151

        Yes more Lack, but realistically it’s not going to change a lot of the end result if the opponents continue to double our shots on goal.

        It’s kind of hard to generate anything when we’re sitting back like we are, calls from the Ref included. I seem to recall the early season mantra being centered around playing the uptempo game, pushing the pace and generating chances. I was under the impression from all of the talk that we weren’t going to be a team that sits back in the trap to hold a lead. Last night was the antithesis of that.

        Biggest game of the year and we score 2, then hold on for dear life at home. Brutal.

  • acg5151

    Frustrating game. The Canucks have been competitive against pretty much every other team so far this season, but watching them play LA is strange. For whatever reason they don’t seem to have any confidence against the Kings. I wouldn’t mind them losing so much if they actually played well. Hopefully we can have a good bounce back against Detroit.