John Tortorella, before Wednesday’s game against Nashville: “We can’t look at getting a streak here if we don’t get the first one.”
Mission accomplished, Torts. The first mission, anyways. The Canucks got the “first one” by beating Nasville 2-0. It wasn’t easy, but now comes the real test – is there any chance Vancouver can go on its first two-game winning streak since January?
Their next game is against Buffalo…
So you’re saying there’s a chance!
1. Lack is ready, believe it or not
John Tortorella on Eddie Lack after Monday’s 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay:
“I think he’s given us an opportunity in a lot of these games. I like the way he’s rebounded in some situations.”
Rebounding? How about posting a shutout two days after letting in four?
Truth is, Eddie Lack hasn’t been perfect since Luongo left, but he has been good. He’s let in a few weak goals, and he had one atrocious period, but the promising thing is how quickly he’s come back from those mistakes.
Every great goalie has to be able to quickly let go of errors and refocus. Lack not only has that ability, but he also doesn’t take himself too seriously – something Roberto Luongo took a long time to figure out.
2. Notice Hank’s playing time?
Henrik Sedin started the game off with a bang – he and his top line dominated in the offensive end and nearly scored a couple of times on their first shift.
All night long, he was vintage Sedin. He was shrugging off opposing players as he controlled the puck along the boards, while being patient and looking for perfect set ups.
With two assists on his stats sheet, it was probably the best game he played all year.
Any idea how much he played?
It’s a far cry from when he and Daniel were playing over 21 minutes every night earlier this season. Henrik only played 57 seconds on the penalty kill – for a comparison, Brad Richardson played 4:44 on the PK.
As much as you might think you can’t teach an old Torts new tricks – he’s changing. Obviously Sedin’s health has a lot to do with his current strong play, but Torts isn’t going to make the mistake of running his captain into the ground again.
3. No respect for Schroeder
I wrote about how effective Jordan Schroeder was against Tampa Bay after Monday’s game. Torts obviously didn’t see it the same way. The coach on his centers after the Predators game:
“You get Richie, you get Henrik, you get Shawn, maybe Kes comes back – it starts solidifying things up the middle a bit.”
So he obviously doesn’t have much time for Schroeder, which was shown by him getting just seven minutes of ice time against Nashville.
And that’s the Tortorella mindset that will come through as long as he’s with the Canucks – solid, defensively strong players will always be preferred over those who have a greater offensive flare, but commit the occasional turnover.
So should he still be here next year when the Canucks are trying to develop young guns Hunter Shinkaruk, Bo Horvat and Brendan Gaunce? I’m not sold.
4. So is Jensen ready?
Look, a few goals do not mean a player is NHL ready. When Nicklas Jensen began playing with the Canucks, he was losing puck battles and he looked like a child playing amongst men.
That’s changed. Torts’ post-game comments on Jensen:
“I heard him say something where he really struggled early on, and then he started to get some puck luck.”
“I watched him at the end of the game where he brought the puck back in our end. I’m not crazy about that, but he’s got some balls.”
That puck luck has brought confidence and some swagger with it. Against Nashville, Jensen was making strong plays against the boards. He was holding the puck, and he was looking sharp.
When Jensen goes through an 82 game schedule, he’ll have some stretches where he doesn’t score. During those, it’ll be the way he battles that’ll determine if he stays or moves down in the lineup.
If he keeps playing with the same intensity during the droughts – he’s definitely ready.
5. And how do you feel about the win?
Half of Twitter was celebrating the win, while the other half was lamenting the Canucks moving further away from the top of the draft. I didn’t know whether to cheer or cry.
— Chad Forrest (@C_Forrest) March 20, 2014
And this guy’s pretty clear:
— nikon sports biz (@wlk92) March 20, 2014
The number one Canucks tweeter in town, though? He’s not giving up.
3 out again #believe
— Taj (@taj1944) March 20, 2014
6. A beautiful gesture that has nothing to do with the Canucks
OK, I have no warm and fuzzy feelings for the Sharks. No, like, I really don’t like them. But I have to say, what the Sharks Foundation and the Make a Wish foundation did yesterday for Sam Tageson – a lifelong Sharks fan with a congenital heart condition – was incredible.
Just try not to be moved when you watch this.