Canucks loss to Tampa an easier pill to swallow, but mistakes are still haunting them
Photo credit:© Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
1 month ago
When Rick Tocchet met with reporters after the Canucks’ 4-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lighting, people might’ve expected him to bring some heat after another game got away from them.
Instead, he offered up a simple phrase: “Love the battle, love the battle,” Tocchet said. “Hats off to the guys, they competed,”
Even with the Lightning handily outshooting the Canucks 36-29 – including an 18-5 run in the second period – it was a more stomachable result than Tocchet saw from his group in Tuesday’s 2-0 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. For the Canucks’ head coach, the game got away from them due to timely mistakes more than bad play.
“We just got to clean up the crucial mistakes,” Tocchet said. “We always talk about ‘don’t duplicate your mistakes’ and I thought we did on a couple of those goals, right?”
“Those were the difference, but the overall team effort was really there. The guys played hard.”
Some of those mistakes belonged to Tyler Myers, who had maybe his worst game in five years as a Vancouver Canuck. Myers directly caused one goal by sending a perfect pass to Nick Paul in the defensive zone that led to his eventual goal, then bowled over Elias Pettersson on a penalty kill in the third period that led to Nikita Kucherov’s game-sealing goal.
Tocchet didn’t rip Myers’ night after the game, but he admitted the mistakes by his defenceman were far from ideal.
“Well obviously, you know, he made that mistake on the first one. I wish he stayed on his feet because if he stays on his feet Stamkos doesn’t get [the initial shot].”
Tocchet also didn’t sound like a coach preparing to bench Myers for his less-than-encouraging play to open the season, citing the team’s lack of depth on the blue line.
“He’s gonna have to bounce back. We’ve got some people hurt, so he’s gonna need him to dial in for us.”
After the Flyers game, Tocchet had challenged his players’ effort levels, with the one exception of Thatcher Demko’s strong performance in goal. This time, Tocchet still raised concerns about the team’s ability to control the game’s tempo, but was much more charitable to how the team handled themselves.
Anthony Beauvillier and Dakota Joshua were among the players that Tocchet’s postgame comments in Philadelphia were targeted at. Neither were able to put points on the board in Tampa, but their uptick in play was still noticeable from the bench.
“Anthony just [had] a little more composure with the puck, that’s good. That’s the next level for him if you can work on that,” Tocchet said of Beauvillier. “Obviously he’s trying, he’s digging for pucks, he’s going wide with the puck. Just a little more composure and I think that the pucks will start going in for him.”
“I thought [Joshua] was really good tonight. This is where if you can string some of those games together for us, we need that.”
It wasn’t lost on Tocchet that his team had been leading early in the second period before the wheels fell off in the later stages. But the improvements he saw between the Canucks’ last two games was enough to give him hope for the road ahead through Sunrise and Nashville, as long as they tighten up on costly errors.
“We’re up 2-1, we’re in control. There’s pressure moments and you’ve got to make sure you’ll be in the right spots at the right time, Tocchet said.
“Really happy with the team effort. It’s just the four or five crucial mistakes.”
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