— Schneiders Teeths (@SchneidersTeeth) February 6, 2015
Hosting a San Jose Sharks club on the second half of back-to-backs – a team that lost just last night to the Calgary Flames – provided the Vancouver Canucks with as good a chance as any to pass their marine-animal competitors in the Pacific Division playoff chase. The Canucks were well rested and had finished their last contest with an offensive surge the likes of which their fans haven’t been treated to in months. The stage was set with opportunities aplenty for the Canucks to get back on track in what’s been an otherwise uninspiring 2015.
And, oh, how they disappointed. Whether you believe in “momentum” or otherwise, there’s no denying what little the Canucks could have hypothetically gained from their last contest failed to carry forward into this one. Their offense inept, their defense permissive and their special teams a complete non-factor, Vancouver limped lifelessly to a 5-1 loss at the hands of their Southern Pacific counterparts. But hey, we did out-hit the Sharks…
All that and more, on the other side of the jump.
- This was a night to forget for Ryan Miller, sure. I’d hardly place the blame for tonight’s loss firmly on Miller’s massive shoulder pads though either. Was his positioning terrible on the first goal? Absolutely. A certain amount of credit is due here to Matt Irwin, though, who launched the perfect shot from an imperfect angle for a post-and-in goal. The next three goals were all deflections, one of which went off of Nick Bonino’s stick. As a matter of fact, the only goal I take issue with would be the final tally by Andrew Desjardins. That said, it was in waning seconds of a blowout game and I think Miller had made like most Canucks fans at that point and had checked out mentally.
- The Canucks are getting dominated on a nightly basis when their bottom-six forwards are on the ice. Tonight, not a single one escaped with possession totals in the black. I hate to mercilessly flog this already decayed horse, but the Canucks need Zack Kassian in the lineup at half, full or quarter effort. There isn’t a single player in the Canucks bottom-six that hasn’t seen a marked increase in territorial control with Kassian on the ice. Not one. Engaged or otherwise, Kassian helps the Canucks stay in hockey games. These healthy scratches need to end.
Linden Vey has 3points in the last month playing prime power play mins… Rocking a 27% Corsi tonight… earning those mins over Kass…
— J.D. Jerk (@JDylanBurke) February 6, 2015
- Even when times were good (and oh, how they used to be) I maintained that the Canucks were at best a playoff bubble team. This prophecy is fulfilling itself on a per-game basis, with the Canucks looking every bit as old and hapless as their roster might have indicated they were all along. The Canucks are just entering the home stretch of their schedule and it doesn’t look like the competition is getting any easier, or less hungry. Eight of the Canucks next ten games are against teams either currently in the playoffs or directly behind Vancouver in the Western Conference race. This could get bad before it gets better… Especially if Chris Tanev is out long-term.
- It’s been a pretty rough stretch for Bonino. The snake-bit centre has six-points from December forward and is looking less effective on a nightly basis. Taking a step off the negativity train, though, I thought Bonino generated some great scoring chances in the second period. A twist of fate here or there could’ve seen the maligned centre register at least one goal. Tonight Bonino had three shots and at least two great scoring chances.
- Much of the talk leading up to tonight’s contest centered on the availability of Evander Kane and the Canucks rumoured interest in the troubled winger, rather than the game itself. Not hard to see why. The Sedins may have lost their fastball, but are still solid first-line talents. Alex Burrows and Radim Vrbata have been great this season as well. Not a single one of those Canucks forwards is under thirty years old and all of them lack the physicality and general nastiness with which Kane plays. This is a team desperate for secondary scoring, youth and physicality in their lineup. Kane could provide all of this. If the price is right, might be worth looking into.
The Canucks wrap up their home stand on Saturday night against Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
To sum up how the night has gone, my dog is now making fart noises with his mouth
— Rhys Jessop (@Thats_Offside) February 6, 2015