The Vancouver Canucks fell flat against the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night, losing 3-1 in a poor showing for most of the players.
There we Vancouver Canucks fans were, feeling upbeat and positive after the team won a second straight game. A few even dared to whisper the word “playoffs”.
And then this game happened.
The Canucks came out sleepwalking. They did not register a shot until almost half the first period had elapsed.
Meanwhile, the Anaheim Ducks shoved the puck down Vancouver’s throat in their own zone. It was all the Canucks could do to carry to center ice without being sent back into their own zone.
Technically, teeeeeechnically, the Canucks ended the game with more shots than the Ducks. But if you watched the game, you know that things were never that close. Now we know why “score-adjusted” shot attempts are a thing.
Anaheim was on point from the opening draw. They established their forecheck early, and only a very sharp Ryan Miller kept Vancouver in the game early.
After the first period ended scoreless, the Ducks got on the board. The Canucks defense surrendered the blueline far too easily, and Jakob Silfverberg took full advantage:
When the Canucks were mired in a losing streak, they couldn’t buy any good luck.
Over the last ten games though, the universe repaid the team for all of the bad luck they had. For instance, how many times did the Canucks face a goaltender who was cold, a backup, or just had a bad night?
Tonight, though, the universe decided it had paid in full.
A strange series in front of the Vancouver goal became the second Anaheim goal. First Miller over-committed at the side of the goal and was out of position for a wraparound. Erik Gudbranson scrambled to help, only to skate himself into the post and fall in the crease.
With Gudbranson down, Miller was blocked from skating over. The puck hit Gudbranson and deflected in. Ondrej Kase scored his first NHL goal.
With that point, Henrik is just 15 points away from 1000. The countdown is on.
The Ducks got that goal back before the night ended. Andrew Cogliano fired a shot. Stecher unwisely reached in to block only to have the puck deflect off of his stick. The puck dribbled through Miller’s five-hole:
All in all, this was a poor showing for the Canucks.
They had far too much trouble transitioning the puck. In their own zone, they looked slow, and in the offensive zone, they looked like they had run out of ideas.
Anaheim is still a team that gives the Canucks problems. Vancouver can’t seem to match their physical, north-south game. With too little speed, they could not escape their own zone often enough to make a difference against the Ducks.
Perhaps they simply lacked a reason for enthusiasm tonight. If that was the case, they should have no problem gearing up for the next game, as the Toronto Maple Leafs are in town on Saturday night.