After Monday’s practice, Daniel Sedin said he was looking forward to Vancouver’s upcoming road-trip:
“We’re going to need to be at our best to win those games, and you need those tests as a team. We’re excited.”
They were excited all right. Two minutes into the second period, the Canucks were down 5-0.
— Mark (@markmedalla) October 22, 2014
Mark’s explanation was less depressing than reality.
The Canucks lost 6-3. The Stars were faster, more skilled, and had better goaltending. And here are six thoughts on the game.
1. The team’s biggest problem
Well, everyone’s spent a lot of time speculating about what would be the Canucks biggest problem this year – defensive depth, scoring, a goalie controversy – but they were all wrong.
Faceoffs – that’s the issue.
Willie Desjardins was asked about how he’s feeling about the team’s faceoff abilities after Monday’s practice:
“I was concerned for a while. It’s been there right from the start, and we know that, we’ve addressed it.”
Addressed it? Vancouver went 30-40 in the faceoff circle against Dallas – a number that was skewed by the Canucks winning a lot of them late in the game (they were abysmal through 2 periods)
When you’re trying to stop a team as quick and offensively lethal as the Stars (and any team for that matter), letting the other guys start with the puck that much will never work.
2. Richdardson at centre
Once Shawn Matthias was promoted to the third line, know how the coaches decided who’d play center (Richardson or Matthias)?
“I let them sort it out and they decided Richardson was going to play centre. I did think Matthias played better in the middle, but we have five (centers).”
Richardson went 10-9 in the faceoff circle. Considering the rest of the team’s centers all had losing percentages (Hank 7-9, Bonino 8-9, Vey 4-8), it looks like the players made the right choice.
3. How’d the bottom six do?
Desjardins was asked why he changed the makeup of the bottom two forward lines after practice Monday (Vey moved to the fourth line and Matthias to the third):
“We need some offense out of those lines. We’ve gone a couple of days and now it’s time to try something else.”
Shots from the top six and bottom six were a saw off at 16 for each group, while the bottom six outscored the big guns 2-1 (Jannik Hansen, Zack Kassian and Vrbata scored).
Still, it wasn’t pretty, and they need to find some linemates for Kassian who can take his passes.
4. Vrbata was born to score
Radim Vrbata is lucky to be playing with the Sedins and he obviously owes his success to them, but there’s another reason he’s doing so well: he doesn’t just settle for the first shot he gets.
You can see his goal scoring touch above. Vrbata takes the puck, looks up and sees the spot he needs to shoot at and quickly puts it there. What you don’t see in this gif is moments earlier, Vrbata took a pass from Sedin in the slot and didn’t shoot right away because he knew Lehtonen would’ve saved it.
Instead he deked, tried to take the puck around Lehtonen and then put his shot on net.
The point I’m making is Vrbata always has an idea of where the goalie is. While most players have a “put the puck on net” mentality, Vrbata has a “get the puck past the goalie” mentality.
5. The glass is half full
Want to cheer up? Think of it like this:
Thanks, Ryan Miller. I’ve had a shitty day so far, but at least it’s not as bad as yours. #canucks
— Ang (@mightystickbug) October 22, 2014
Yup, Ryan Miller has a rough night. He allowed 5 goals on 13 shots and ended the night with a save percentage of .615.
Eddie Lack replaced Miller in the second period. He only allowed one goal on 15 shots, but with Kari Lehtonen standing on his head at the other end, Lack had no chance.
6. Tweet of the game
The game sucked, but there were some great tweets submitted for Tweet of the Game. First, the runners up:
— Mike S.™ (@Mike_Stefanuk) October 22, 2014
Save some for the rest of us, Mike.
And what Canucks loss would be complete without reserving a thought for Torts?
Somewhere John Tortorella is sitting in a room lit only by a small fire, sipping on Chianti, and smiling. #VCBCanucks
— Tyler Wilde (@WildeCanucks) October 22, 2014
But this new definition of “Miller Time” is your winner:
— Jim Mackay (@buddythere) October 22, 2014
Note: thanks to @myregularface for providing .gifs of the goals.
04:08 DAL Ryan Garbutt (1) ASST: Antoine Roussel (2), Trevor Daley (3)
17:46 DAL PPG – Erik Cole (2) ASST: Jordie Benn (2), Shawn Horcoff (2)
19:17 DAL Tyler Seguin (5) ASST: Jamie Benn (4), Kevin Connauton (1)
00:48 DAL Jamie Benn (4) ASST: Tyler Seguin (5), Jason Spezza (7)
01:17 DAL Cody Eakin (2) ASST: Ryan Garbutt (3)
03:39 VAN Radim Vrbata (4) ASST: Daniel Sedin (7), Henrik Sedin (5)
04:44 DAL Erik Cole (3) ASST: Shawn Horcoff (3), Brenden Dillon (1)
13:55 VAN Zack Kassian (2) ASST: Christopher Tanev (3), Brad Richardson (3)
06:45 VAN Jannik Hansen (1) ASST: Derek Dorsett (1), Linden Vey (2)