California’s ANAHEIM The Vancouver Canucks are back where they were after the first 16 nights of upheaval last season thanks to a more talented roster, a better schedule, a full training camp, virtually full health, and an ardent desire by everyone involved to show that last year’s calamity was an anomaly.
The Canucks’ most disappointing three-game road trip of the Jim Benning-Travis Green era came to an end with a 5-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday, dropping them to 5-9-2 and equal the 12 points they earned during their bogus 6-1-0 start to the 2021 pandemic season.
Over the course of four nights, Anaheim, the Vegas Golden Knights, and Colorado Avalanche outscored them 19-6. Vancouver has already lost a playoff berth by six points.
The Canucks lost the momentum they had built up over the previous seven home games, which saw them normally play strong defense and outperform opponents at five-on-five but lose games as a result of poor special teams. Since then, the team has been disjointed.
Reporters are no longer permitted in NHL changing rooms, but you can still smell the self-doubt of Canuck players who, while on this road trip, lost contact with the majority of the success-related concepts.
The incredibly poor special teams are the only thing they kept from their homestand. For the seventh time in eight games, Canuck penalty-killers allowed two more power-play goals on Sunday, which is unbelievable.
Their 20 power-play goals allowed, which leads the league, are at least double what 22 other teams have given up, and Vancouver’s special team’s disadvantage is currently 11 goals after 16 games.
The terrible stench of hopelessness is the only smell worse than that of self-doubt. If the Canucks perform as poorly at home as they did in their previous three away games, they might get there soon.
Tyler Motte, whose tardy return to the lineup Sunday following off-season spinal surgery did not assist the penalty kill, told reporters after the game, “We haven’t given up, that’s for sure. “We have faith in this team and in ourselves. Once again, once the first domino falls, I believe we will gain some momentum. Simply put, we haven’t been proficient enough to complete one.
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At home, the Canucks weren’t quite good enough. On the road, they weren’t nearly good enough, but they did battle heroically in Vegas on Saturday when they were tied in the third period before a poor penalty call caused them to crumble and lose 7-4.
One of Vancouver’s worst games in a long time was the 7-1 loss to the Avalanche on Thursday.
Giving the squad a second chance for last season, when there was a perfect storm of unfavorable circumstances aligned against it, you can claim that this is the first time Green’s bunch has significantly underperformed both their talent level and payroll.
The coach predicted on Sunday that his squad will triumph. “I believe that we will need the help of our penalty kill to get rolling. I believe it will change. Our star player will score, I’m confident. We have some guys that I know will contribute because they have contributed in the past. I am confident that returning some of our defensemen will improve our performance.
Although things haven’t gone as planned, I will say that I have faith in our team’s ability to turn things around.
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Green continued, “The team must also play better,” burying his lead as some reporters do.
The three dog nights said seasoned defenseman Tyler Myers, “were not the efforts that we wanted.” “I thought our performance in Vegas was commendable; the hockey match was excellent up to the third period’s finale. Aside from that, we didn’t play well enough to win. When things go wrong during a game, we must figure out how to react as a team. We must adjust going into the following game if a game doesn’t go our way. It’s a necessary component of the group’s maturation as they fight to escape it together.
The Avalanche will visit Vancouver on Wednesday to kick off a three-game homestand, and after that, Vancouver will go on another five-game journey that will begin with three challenging opponents.
These are pivotal times. The team is on thin ice.
Elias Pettersson, a star forward for the Canucks, increased his shot volume from the first two games of his fruitless road trip, when he was minus-four, to two shots on Sunday. Pettersson won’t score an even-strength goal this year, but he will make it to Game 17.
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Conor Garland, who is so dynamic at home, disappeared on the road, managing just one assist while being outscored by four goals at even strength. Captain Bo Horvat was also useless during the trip. Goalkeeper Thatcher Demko was also one of the least responsible Canucks despite being killed in explosions in Denver and Las Vegas.
Few Canucks stood out in the face of adversity, aside from Quinn Hughes, J.T. Miller, and Nils Hollander, who had six shots against the Ducks and scored Vancouver’s lone goal.
It may change rapidly, Myers insisted. “A lot of things may change, you know. To escape from it, we simply need to keep moving forward. We cannot simply accept it and wait for things to change in our favor. To escape from it, we must battle.