Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Monday Mailbag: Panic! at the Rogers Place edition

Another week, another mailbag. Typically I put out the mailbag tweet on Fridays and prepare it over the weekend and have it ready to go first thing Monday mornings, but with last night’s game, I decided to do a late-night mailbag and just finished it! With that, let’s see what you wonderful people asked this week!

This reaction sums up that of many in Canucks nation. The Canucks saved what can only be looked as one of their worst efforts all year for game one of the postseason.

Getting shutout 3-0 and recording just four shots in the third period isn’t ideal, but there’s still a lot of hockey to be played in this series. Last night’s loss should serve as a wakeup call to everyone in that dressing room about what it’s going to take to beat the Wild.

Sure, it’s not the playoffs yet but all points in the play-in round will count toward a player’s career playoff point totals. It’s as close as you can get to the playoffs without actually being the playoffs — or as the NHL has dubbed it — the postseason.

The intensity is at the level you’d expect in a playoff series. Everybody is finishing their checks and the Wild have clearly made a note to do just that to Elias Pettersson, as was expected.

Pettersson had his stick held, was tied up and taken out of the play away from the puck, and Minnesota made it clear right from the get-go that they intended on finishing every check they could on him.

Kevin Bieksa compared the extra physical treatment Pettersson went through to what the Sedins faced when they played in the playoffs. When you watch this video compilation from last night, that comparison certainly checks out:

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I thought, for the most part, Pettersson handled the situation pretty well. Teams zeroing in on him is nothing new to Pettersson, but the extra physicality that comes with playoff hockey is something he’ll have to get used to and be prepared for all throughout his career. For last night being the first time he’s had to put up with it in a playoff format, he fared about as well as you could have hoped.

There were numerous instances of Pettersson positioning himself in a way to protect the puck and defend himself with a reverse hit when an opposing player was charging toward him.

He wasn’t shying away from board battles and looked confident at all areas of the ice, which is exactly what you want to see. He was the best forward the Canucks had last night, and he can use game one as a learning experience to prepare for what’s to come in game two tomorrow night:

“I think it was what I expected. High-intense game, a lot of hits and both teams were battling. Both teams want to win. Game 1 to Minnesota. I’m looking forward to Game 2.”

Chris Faber asked this question on Twitter and is going to get multiple opinions on what the lines should look like next game. Here’s my lines for game two.

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My Lines:

9-40-6: Tyler Toffoli had a tough game, and Boeser still looks like he’s on the cusp of breaking out and being a huge difference-maker, so I’d try to reunite the Lotto Line for game two.

70-53-73: Toffoli and Tanner Pearson were effective in LA together, and although both had weak performances in game one, I think reuniting them could be beneficial for the Canucks.

26-88-18: That’s right, I’m slotting Jake Virtanen back in the lineup. Micheal Ferland looked okay, but I’m not sure if he fits in with the third line’s run and gun free-flowing style of play as well as Virtanen does.

64-83-79: Brandon Sutter didn’t exactly play poorly, but I think after getting shutout, you need to find a way to get Virtanen back in the lineup, and he’s just not going to play on the fourth line. You slide the more defensively responsible Ferland down to the fourth line and let him play that two-way physical style, and I think you’re looking at a good chance at bouncing back in game two.

Green trusts Miller to kill penalties, and the 4th line penalty killers that the Canucks have paid a premium for actually hurt them last night.

Not only did the two goals the Wild scored both come on the power play, but it was the fourth line that put the Wild on an early power play in the first place after getting hemmed in their own end. Almost every line was bad last night, but the point remains that the fourth line may be doing more harm than good.

In a valiant comeback to the Smylosphere, Daniel Wagner did an excellent analysis on this, and you’d be simply foolish not to read it.

Game two is tomorrow night, and we’ll have to wait and see how the Canucks bounce back from their poor performance in game one. Let’s hear your predictions below!