Game one did not go the way that Canucks fans wanted.
The Vancouver Canucks were shutout in game one against the Minnesota Wild.
They were unable to have a consistent attack in the offensive zone. The Wild’s collapsing defence was ready for Vancouver’s outside attack and they were happy to let the Canucks fire from range. The Canucks need to get in tight or at least have a body there to clean up on some rebounds.
The Canucks’ inability to get high danger shots on Wild goaltender Alex Stalock was easy to spot. They didn’t attempt a 5-on-5 shot from a high danger area at any point during the first or third period. Their best chance came in the second period when Quinn Hughes fired a shot from the point that was initially blocked and then fired at the net by Tyler Motte, where Brandon Sutter had what would be arguably the Canucks’ best scoring chance of the night.
The Wild must have been happy with their play on Sunday night. They were able to get in tight on Jacob Markstrom while keeping the Canucks away from Stalock.
This was no more apparent than what we saw from NaturalStatTrick’s heatmap from Sunday night.
The Canucks need to drive the net and continue to get shots on Stalock as he gave up some juicy rebounds. The Wild will be there around their crease but the Canucks have to get their sticks on rebounds to be successful.
Another way to get the offence going will be to activate the defence.
Quinn Hughes had a decent game last night. He moved the puck well from the blueline and he needs to continue to be confident with the puck in the offensive zone.
When the Wild are collapsing so hard, the Canucks need to engage their defencemen down low to create a mismatch or draw a Wild defender out of position. They are going to have to have four men deep at a time instead of always rotating a forward to the point to just set up and try a long-distance shot.
An example of the Wild collapsing the net was very apparent on Hughes’ most dangerous shot of the game that would have ripped twine if it were a couple of inches higher.
This amount of space is something that the Canucks can take advantage of. If you watch Tyler Toffoli on this play he is completely away from the attack. The Canucks need to be engaging in the offence as a five-man unit against this Wild team, because the Wild have a strong work ethic with their five-man defensive strategy.
I think a switch to the defence corps might be needed. Chris Tanev and Quinn Hughes looked fine together Sunday night but Tanev will need to engage in the offensive zone more to be an effective part of a five-man attack. My ideal situation would be to reunite the Tyler Myers and Hughes pairing. I think that pair can try to get down low and add some offence to the Canucks’ cycle.
The Canucks took a punch in the mouth on Sunday night. They will have to have a different gameplan on Tuesday night if they don’t want to be down two to nothing in this short five game series.
Changes need to be made and we didn’t even talk about Jake Virtanen.
This won’t be the only article I’m writing today I guess.