Vancouver - Dec. 16, 2011 - Bah! Another poor Canucks effort on the road against another bottom feeding Division dweller in Carolina as they give up a two goal lead on their way to their second straight loss. Two losses to two under performing teams in a row is starting to raise a few eyebrows around Canuck Nation, and the league as well I would suppose because lately it seems that any struggling team would actually WANT to play the Canucks in order to get out of their own slump! You are welcome Columbus, and you are welcome Carolina.
I’m getting tired of watching the Canucks play down to their opponents only to see them struggle later on in the game and inevitably come out with a black eye and a loss. This is exactly what happened tonight in Carolina as the Canucks amassed a two goal lead over 1.5 periods, then give it all up in a 4 minute pants crapping session! Frustrating!
Kevin Bieksa scored the first goal of the game with a wicked slap shot from the point. Scoring first was always a good Omen for the Canucks, and it should have been tonight as well especially when Mason Raymond scored midway through the second period to put the Nucks up 2-0. Two goal lead, Ginger Jesus playing well and the Hurricanes were mired in a 1-7-1 slump made it look as though the Omen was going to pay off again tonight for the Canucks and reward them with two points, right? Well it might of if the Canucks didn’t have a total, complete defensive game failure midway after Raymond’s goal. After they seemingly had the game in hand, the Canucks game went somewhere, somewhere dark and unforgiving as they made mistake after mistake in the defensive zone which gave life to the Hurricanes. Rather than suffocating their Opponent, the Canucks allowed them to feed off their errors, and they made quite a few in their own end!
Watching the Canucks try to clear the puck out of their own end tonight could be compared to Jessica Simpson write her SAT exam: FUTILE! The futility was compounded by a guy with a name that makes him sound like a game show host rather than a professional Hockey Player, Drayson Bowman score not one, but two of his only goals of the season on Schneider! Really? A guy who only scored two goals last year, is allowed to score two tonight to lift the lowly Hurricanes over the supposedly powerful and mighty Canucks. What’s a guy like Drayson even allowed to get a sniff let alone two goals?
The only time the Canucks even closely resembled the team they should have been tonight was directly after Drayson’s first goal at 15:52 of the second period. The Canucks came back and peppered goalie Cam Ward relentlessly with pucks in an attempt to get the goal back for Schneider, but that volley was short lived as the Canucks were trying to clear their own zone for another offensive rush when they coughed it up to Bryan Allen who threw it at the net, and Tuomo Ruutu was right there to clean up the garbage in front of Schneider. That was the goal that broke the Orca’s back it seems as the period ended tied at 2. But the Hurricanes picked up right where they left off early in the second as wonder boy Drayson scored 37 seconds into the third to give the Canes the lead. That goal left a mark!
Tonight’s win was all about Cam Ward’s goal keeping. The guy was brilliant and deserved this win, especially the third period save on Keith Ballard. Keith took a cross crease pass from Raymond where he had a wide open (and I mean WIDE open) net to shoot at, and wouldn’t you know it with all the open real estate in front of him and from two feet from the goal line, the puck manages to find Ward’s glove! Ballard’s dumb luck, or Ward’s goal-stopping skill? Either way it was a highlight reel stop!
Why did the Canucks lose tonight? Was it because they only had 4 power play opportunities, scoring on none? Or was it because the Canucks were shorthanded 8 times in the game and gave up one goal in that span? Maybe to all the above, but the main reason is they lacked the intensity to win this game. The Canucks have always had a problem going for the kill shot in hockey games, and tonight was no exception. They let their opponents hang around long enough, and before they know it rather than winning a game, they are fighting from behind just to tie the damn thing up! The Canucks are built to play better than the way they played tonight, only question is, is when will we be able to see it?
Bottom line is something was broken, and has been the last two games, with the Canucks game and needs to be fixed. These past two games should have been easy W’s for the Canucks, but instead have turned out to be complete disasters, and its getting frustrating as hell to watch. Their next game is against the Maple Leafs, who as we all know is not the same team as years before. No, they are no longer the Red Headed step-child of the league, and last year’s whipping boy Phil Kessel is making up for lost time as he continues to play with a chip on his shoulder and would probably love to slap the Canucks around a bit on Saturday.