The Canucks have a chance. Get your gameface on.
One year ago, the Canucks dominated Game 6 in their first round series against the Chicago Blackhawks. They lost the game. Two days later, they came back to win Game 7.
On Sunday, the Canucks were the better team. Their penalty killing was better, their power play was much better, and they were once again the better team 5-on-5.
Here are my three notes on Game 3.
1. Henrik Sedin sees the future
After Game 3, Henrik Sedin had this to say (from Canucks.com):
“We played one heck of a game tonight. 5-on-5 we were all over them. Our power play was better… If we keep playing like this, we’re going to score goals.”
Whenever Hank starts talking about the team’s process improving, the Canucks start winning. Before Game 7 against the ‘Hawks last year, this is what he said:
“As long as we can play like this, I’m really positive for Tuesday’s game.”
They won that game.
2. Put the horses together
Know which forwards were on the ice in the last minute of Sunday’s game?
Ryan Kesler, Alex Burrows, and Henrik Sedin.
My question is this: if Kesler and Burrows are the team’s go to players, and Alain Vigneault knows they play well together (he put them together last year against the Blackhawks for Games 6 and 7), why weren’t they playing together for the entire game?
The Canucks were good 5-on-5, but they could still be better. As Cory Schneider said about Jonathan Quick after the game (again, from Canucks.com):
“He’s just too good. We can take his eyes away, or get some second chances or odd man rushes, because right now he’s seeing everything and he’s stopping it.”
More traffic, more screens. It’s time to stack up the lines and break through that brick wall.
3. Zack Kassian – the trade for the present
When the Cody Hodgson/Zack Kassian trade took place, analysts said it was a mutually beneficial trade for both teams. Know how much Kassian played in Game 3? Under 4 minutes.
In fact, after his only shift at the start of the third period, he was stapled to the bench for the remainder of the game. So much for helping the Canucks right now.
That’s all I’ll say about this right now because if the Canucks don’t come back against the Kings, we’re going to be hearing about it all summer long.