Vancouver - Nov. 21, 2011 - Chris Higgins scored in overtime to defeat the Ottawa Senators 2-1 and lift the boys back over .500 as the Canucks continue to seesaw between good and mediocre. In non-dominating fashion, the Canucks pull off the win for Corey Schneider who must have been wondering what it was going to take to get the team in front of him to score some goals and give him some breathing room. The answer of course was of everything!
Again, it took the Canucks power play to get them on the board as their even strength game seems to just barely hang on as the Canucks were outshot in every period sans the overtime frame. Henrik put the Canucks on the board first early in the second period, but other than that offensive outburst the Canucks showed little if any dominance over their opponent. Sure the Canucks controlled the puck in the offensive zone well, but you’d never know it on the scoresheet!
The Canucks are missing a key element to their game as they just seem to be going through the motions of playing hockey. It’s 20 games into the season, and you can’t convince anybody anymore that its the “hangover” from last year that is to blame for the offensive drought the Canucks find themselves in. Nor will the excuse of the President’s Trophy curse hold any water either. No, there is something wrong with the Canucks that runs deeper than superstition. It’s something more elemental, something more basic. But what?
The Canucks generate their chances to score, but the end result always seems to be a missed shot, or missed setup pass, or missed something or other. The Canucks seem to be trading goals for excuses, and until this trend changes, the Canucks will continue to shuffle around the .500 mark until they realize its too late and the season will be lost.
Are the Canucks complacent in their belief that last year’s effort will carry them through this season? If so, its going to be a long and painful year indeed. Or maybe its the frustration of knowing they have all the firepower they need to destroy their opponents on a consistent basis, but are having trouble pulling the trigger once they have the enemy in sight?
Tonight’s game showed once again that the Canucks are playing with a ton of heart, but the execution of their efforts was nowhere to be seen, which in itself is the frustrating part for not only the fans, but the team as well. It will be interesting to see how the Canucks react to this overtime win knowing full well they should have been able to bury the Senators in regulation if their execution was only a little bit better.
Tonight’s game showed the Canucks are on the edge of becoming an average team, and the standings reflect that fact. If the Canucks are going to rise from average to outstanding, they first have to become “above average,” and from the way they played tonight they still have a ways to go to get to rise above that level. Maybe after tonight’s “near win,” the Canucks will start to get angry. Angry with their play, and step it up a notch against their next opponent the Colorado Avalanche and make a statement!