Canucks Army Postgame: Crowned.

When it comes to the bullies of the Western Conference, there aren’t many that the Canucks can’t keep up with. As frustrating as they can be against lesser competition – having developed a penchant for playing down to weaker opponents levels – the Canucks have been equal parts resilient against the powerhouses of the NHL on more nights than not. Save for one club: the Los Angeles Kings. The Canucks have one win in their last eight contest with the Kings, and have been outscored 9-25.

The Canucks built on this run of ineptitude with another uninspiring effort, dropping a 4-0 loss to the Kings at Rogers Arena. It wasn’t the most lively of contests, but we’ll break down what little they gave us, on the other side of the jump.

Highlights

Quick Hits

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[Canucks.com Recap] [Face-Off Summary] [Event Summary] [War-on-Ice Stat Pack] [NaturalStatTrick.com Stat Pack] [HockeyStats.ca Stat Pack]

  • If any one fan base has reasonable cause to believe Jonathan Quick is an “elite” goaltender, it’s probably Vancouver’s. In 23 career appearances against the Canucks, Quick has a 1.81 GAA to his credit and a .931 Sv% to go along with a 11-11-1 record. No matter what the “hockey guys” tell you, nothing about Quick’s career Sv% of a .915 suggests “elite”. Good, sure. Hell, come to think of it, quite suiting that he looks like an all-star playing the Canucks… like clockwork. 
  • When I last checked, there was about a 70% chance that this match-up will happen in the first round of the playoffs. As the Kings make their late season push towards the post-season, it becomes increasingly likely. It definitely played into my belief that the Canucks should be looking to accumulate draft picks at the deadline, sending out expiring contracts for mid-round picks. The Canucks do not match up well with the Kings. Not even remotely. Tonight’s game was further proof. The Canucks want to play a high-paced game, which is heavily geared towards controlling the neutral zone. When they play larger teams, like the ones they’ve faced recently from California, they lose their ability to challenge at either blue line and are forced into a dump-and-chase style attack that bodes very poorly for their offensive personnel. The results are low-shot, low-scoring chance performances like tonight’s.
  • This season has been getting progressively worse for Linden Vey as it wears on. Defensively, the limitations imposed on Vey by his size are too much to overcome on most nights. Recently though, he had been making up for that with impressive play away from the puck and sound decision making. Tonight, we saw neither from the undersized “center”. His late change on the Justin Williams goal was especially rank. With the offense all but disappeared and a defensive performance like tonight’s, one wonders how much longer the Canucks can afford to keep him in their lineup – at the very least, lets take a break from Vey on the first unit power play.
  • If Ronalds Kenins is going to earn his keep with physical play, he certainly did his part tonight. Only Dustin Brown had more hits (five) than Kenins four on the night. These weren’t exactly your fly-by kind of hits, either. Ronnie went in there looking to make a statement. By that same token, he played an uncharacteristically awful possession game, posting the worst Corsi For% of any Canuck tonight with 33%. 
  • Defensive gaffes aplenty tonight on nearly every Kings goals. There was the Alexander Edler gaffe in coverage on the Williams goal, which was only trumped by the Dan Hamhuis giveaway on Anze Kopitar’s. No getting away with those against a team like the Kings. Among Canucks defenders, only Ol’ Reliable himself, Chris Tanev, posted a positive Corsi For%. Kevin Bieksa could return to the lineup as soon as Saturday though, which should help the Canucks cause. In theory.

Conclusion

This certainly wasn’t the Canucks best performance. They’ve strung together a few stinkers of late, so it’s becoming a bit of an alarming trend. Eddie Lack can’t win the Canucks every game. Fortunately for Vancouver though, they play the full-on tank mode Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday and that could be just what the doctor ordered (just like the Sabres, Devils, and Coyotes)!

  • Dirty30

    Tonight was a good example as to why I don’t think the Canucks will go far in the playoffs. As soon as the Canucks face a real powerhouse, they can’t even score a goal.

    • ikillchicken

      Well…yes and no. It depends on what exactly you take to be a “powerhouse” team.

      We’re averaging a very solid 3.05 GPG against the likes of Montreal, Tampa, Detroit, Pittsburgh, NY Islanders, NY Rangers, St. Louis, Nashville, and Chicago. And even if you want to write off some of those eastern teams, that only raises the average to 3.33 (Chicago, Nashville and St. Louis). Of course, I’m not including Anaheim or LA here. Against them we’re averaging 1.25 GPG. Without a doubt this is a pretty big point of concern, especially given that A) we’re overwhelmingly likely to play one of them in the 1st round of the playoffs and B) You could argue those are two of the most “powerhouse” teams out there. In the end though, I think it’s definitely more accurate to say, as the writeup does, that we simply match up horribly against the likes of LA (and to a somewhat lesser extent Anaheim). We look at least respectable against most other good teams. Those teams really have our number though.

    • Larionov18

      Kings make everybody look bad when they are at their best. Only hope for the Canucks in the playoffs is a rash of injuries to key players to whoever they are facing..it could happen.

  • I don’t even understand how Vey and Dorsett are still in the lineup.

    I feel terrible for Burrows; he’s a perfectly good player who has been in the doghouse with two coaches and given the worst lines to work with.

    What on earth is Burrows supposed to do with Vey and Dorsett?

    When it was clear the Canucks weren’t getting anything done offensively, why wasn’t there any line juggling?

    I am really not a fan of WDJ at this point…

  • Burrows is the probably the lifejacket for his linemates.

    I have to wonder though with all of these guys (Edler, Tanev, Burrows, and soon Bieksa) coming back from lengthy injuries how much time they need to re-condition and get back into their grooves.

  • wojohowitz

    The Canucks are 3-3 so far in March with 10 games left in the month. If they can beat the non-playoff teams they will go 7-3 for the rest of the month. The Leafs, Flyers and Yotes are all beatable but if they can not do it they do not deserve to be in the playoffs.

  • bigdaddykane

    Ever since the 2012 playoffs LA owns the canucks to a degree that it looks like they need a priest to perform an exorcism. The kings utterly crush the Sedins. They dont chase them or lean on them, but take away their board space and
    passing lanes, keying on everyone else. Henrik cant spin off a check and find someone open, because nobody ever gets open. Ken Hitchcock must get aroused at kings game film because they keep the canucks stapled to the three feet along the boards the whole game.The canucks look like cardboard cutouts standing out there against the kings. Must be the Doughty effect because the canucks couldn’t get to quick if they drove the Zamboni. When they play the other big teams in the west they can at least get off a shot every 5 minutes. LA is kryptonite

  • wojohowitz

    Hank and Danny look right through Vey on the PP as if he were a prop. It’s closer to a 4 on 4 and LA’s PK ignores Vey for the most part as well. He can’t run a pic, make a screen or keep possession or make a smart pass when he does have the puck! There’s gotta be a better option! Sigh

    • Dirty30

      Why yes there is! Have the equipment manager write Vey’s number on an orange traffic cone and put that on the ice somewhere — probably more effective at distracting the opposition and making a play. Sedins could probably bounce a few pucks into the net off of it … um, I mean, Vey.

  • WTF2

    It is time for Willie to kick some butt and demand these guys play up to their potential. If not the boys will have another long summer to perfect their golf game.

  • Dirty30

    Hamhuis and Vey had rough games. You have to play a near perfect game to beat LA and this Canucks team is not disciplined enough to do that.

    I was hoping we’d get a look at some more of the Canucks prospects this season but it’s not to be. Grenier intrigues as does Sanguinetti,not to mention the other high profile prospects. These two are larger and Grenier could have been more effective than a McMillan.

  • Dirty30

    Sigh. Until this club commits to dumping it’s midgets, like Vey, and signing some meat and potatoes players with size, the Kings will continue to rag doll this franchise.

    The Canucks shouldn’t be drafting or signing any players below 6’3″, until the club has been able to win a season or playoff series against the Kings.

    Time to bring that big Russian kid over on defence.

  • Dirty30

    Let’s face it, Van will be playing the Kings in the first round and will be swept. Case closed. Hope they enjoy their two game playoff revenue.

    On the positive side, hope we get to see more of the youngsters make a push for a spot on the team next year.

  • Dirty30

    When you are well coached with the likes of Sutter, and have a solid game plan, the Canucks were dismantled in a REAL bad way.
    Stapled to the boards the entire game, out muscled, out worked and mentally crushed.
    This wasn’t a case of not showing up or having a bad night, Canucks were schooled by a savvy coach and a team who has been dere and done dat. Its either meet their intensity and fight through everything they do so well or suffer the consequences. Canucks did neither.
    Oy Vey enough!

    • bigdaddykane

      It wasn’t too long ago that Daryl Sutter was run out of Calgary. It’s the composition of the roster. The Kings should be much higher in the standings but apparently the media are now givng them credit for playing a third of the season knowing full-well they’ll tune up for the playoffs (one of the most laughable and immature takes I have ever seen). What that roster is doing is realizing its back is against the wall and playing better, My take is they are a relatively lazy but talented group of large athletes that aren’t living up to their standard until now.

      Meanwhile in Canuckistan, there ought to be no disappointment with this team. It is and was always mediocre. Since management and ownership don’t want a tire-fire rebuild, there are going to be seasons like this where the squad is good enough to qualify for the playoffs, but not good enough to actually compete in them. I say embrace the underdog status going in to April. At least if the Canucks win, it’ll be a fun shocker — and if they lose it can be simple shoulder shrug on your way to the golf course.

  • Dirty30

    Hamhuis was on fire in the first. Defended well and initiated offence. Horrible give-away in the 3rd. Bad change for Vey on LA goal.
    Worst two players on the ice for Vancouver, were Edler and Hansen. Edler for bumbling ineptitude and Hansen selfish individual play and pedestrian effort. He shoulld be a healthy scratch for the next game. Didn’t really notice Matthias. He’s supposed to be our power forward. Vrbata was our best player on the ice. Brought the most energy, skated well all game.

  • I thought the Canucks looked pretty strong in the first period – they outshot and out-attempted the Kings and had a few good looks. It felt like halfway through the second they just completely gave up though. It was bizarre, and kind of backwards from what we’ve seen lately, where the Canucks lay a stinker in the first and then play great for the rest of the game.

    • I agree. I thought the nucks looked really good for the first 2 periods. This game could’ve turned out different. Sure the Kings presently have our number, but they do until they don’t. However, Vey should be benched.

  • bigdaddykane

    I’m not quite sure why contributers here seem surprised and angry that Los Angeles is a better team than we are, because they are a better team then we are – especially in the midst of their now-traditional final 1/3 of the season push for a playoff spot.

    We have played quite well against other good teams in the Western Conference this year so all we can hope for is to somehow avoid LA in the first round. If we play them in round one its lights out folks.

    If we are completely healthy and firing on all cylinders maybe we steal a game or two from LA and make the series semi-interesting. If not, we’ll be swept again.

  • bigdaddykane

    The stats pack appears to show Desjardins hard matched his d-pairs to LA’s lines, but rolled the forward lines.

    Tanev/Edler were matched against Carter and came out fairly well. Hamhuis/Sbisa were matched with Kopitar and got creamed.

    The Sedin and Bonino lines came out close to even but Horvat and Vey got killed.

    Looks like Vancouver’s top end players can compete fine against LA’s, but it’s LA’s bottom end that dominates it’s counterparts.

    How Desjardins changes his deployments in the playoffs will be interesting to watch. It might help us decide if he is in over his head or not.