I’ve wasted no digital ink on this platform, or others for that matter, discussing the threat that the an upstart Minnesota Wild pose to Vancouver’s playoff aspirations. By most underlying metrics, they are the better team. With the addition of Devan Dubnyk, they’ve addressed their Achilles heel. This in mind, the Canucks should have had no problem getting up for a contest against their playoff bubble Western counterparts. This is the home stretch and these are four-point games if there ever was such a thing.
Instead Vancouver wandered aimlessly like lambs to the slaughter into tonight’s contest. Defensively, the Canucks treated their structure as an afterthought. The two clubs traded chances early; Dubnyk was up to the task, Ryan Miller was not. This trend continued until Miller was relieved of his duty and the game was well out of reach. Eddie Lack did his best to stop the bleeding, keeping the Wild at five. The final score 5-3.
Lets find out where it all went wrong on the other side of the jump.
- Saturday night’s performance aside, Miller’s play has been slipping of late. Since those back-to-back shutouts in mid-January, Miller is posting an even strength sv% of .926. Seems high, but compared to this seasons totals from goaltenders that have played 1000 minutes or more, it’s just slightly above average. I shudder at how low that number sinks without that shutout of the Pens. Miller isn’t a bad goalie. At this stage in his career though, he can’t be playing this often. Besides, the Canucks have a pretty capable back-up in Eddie Lack. Maybe that’s an option worth exploring?
- It was inevitable. From the moment you knew he was lacing them up tonight, Jordan Schroeder was doomed to have an amazing night in spite of his old team. Schroeder notched the opening tally on a sneaky backhand, short-side. He also had a strong possession game, leaving well in the black for Minnesota. I never quite understood the thought process behind Vancouver not qualifying Schroeder this summer. It’s hardly a life or death decision, but a poor showing of asset management with a player who could very well provide value as a 13th forward. Here’s Nations Network overlord Thomas Drance on that decision:
It makes no sense not to qualify Schroeder, though.
For context, consider this: do you remember Bill Sweatt and Anton Rodin? Both forwards struggled to establish themselves as NHL players, and ultimately spent the past season in Sweden. Both players also received qualifying offers last summer, because the Canucks wanted to retain their rights as RFAs. That’s just how asset management works in the NHL, at least that’s how competent asset management works.
- If you’re getting a little sick and tired of the Minnesota Wild, I can’t blame you. The Canucks played them just eight days ago – another game to forget. And in another seven days, they will face-off again. It will be crucial that Vancouver win their contest next week, so as to create a little distance. There’s three points of distance between the clubs tonight and it’s entirely possible that this gap could all but disappear between now and the Canucks next meeting with the Wild.
- Having a hard time understanding Willie Desjardins decision to sit Adam Clendening tonight. Of course, room had to be made to accommodate the return of Dan Hamhuis, but again, why Clendening? In the time since his acquisition, he’s a 54% Corsi. That’s higher than Luca Sbisa and Ryan Stanton in that exact same time frame. As a matter of fact, going into tonight’s contest Stanton was at 46% Corsi since the acquisition of Clendening. Don’t let tonight’s garbage time goal fool you either. Stanton’s ability to contribute offensively is miles from Clendenings. The latter of those two had even proven himself to be a useful member of the power play. Bizarre.
- Don’t look now, but that’s back-to-back games with goals for The Big Guy. Had to figure Kassian was overdue for a little regression at some point. War-On-Ice.com has his PDO at 95.7. As disengaged as he may look at times, I’m beginning to think it’s much more likely that Kassian had been mired in a stretch of horrid luck, more than anything. 5-3 losses aren’t exactly where you start looking for positives, but Kassian finding the back of the net again offers a little something.
The Canucks have been wildly inconsistent of late. It’s one game-on, one off. When playing a greedy puck possession team like the Wild, you’re gonna suffer for the latter of those two. Next up for Vancouver is another Central Division powerhouse, the Chicago Blackhawks.
— petbugs (@petbugs13) February 10, 2015