Monday, January 28, 2013

Canucks Game #5 Review: @ San Jose Sharks

Game 5: Canucks 1 - Sharks 4

Game Summary

Similar to the Anaheim game, the Canucks came out rather sluggish.  Unlike the Anaheim game, they paid for their mistakes this time.  Jason Garrison and Alex Edler combined for two horrendous giveaways to give the Sharks a 2-0 lead in the first four minutes. 

The Canucks settled down and began to outplay the Sharks, in thanks for Ryan Clowe's best Ben Eager impression.  (Clowe recorded 35 minutes in penalties and gave the Canucks a handful of power plays).  Eventually, Alex Burrows got a lucky bounce and scored his first of the year off of Dan Boyle's skate. 

That's when Max Lapierre had a brain cramp and took a horrible penalty 200 feet from his own net.  The ensuing Sharks power play resulted in a 3-1 goal and took away any momentum the Canucks worked so hard to wrestle back from San Jose.

The latter half of Clowe's meltdown resulted in a four minute powerplay for the Canucks - three minutes of it to begin the third period, but they didn't even muster a shot on goal.  The Sharks increased their lead to 4-1, and that was all she wrote.

Three Up

Jannik Hansen: The Great Dane was all over the ice tonight.  Ferocious on the forecheck and quick with puck, Hansen, Higgins and Burrows actually looked like a second line at times tonight.

Alex Burrows: Scored his first goal of the season, got under the skin of Logan Couture, Ryan Clowe, and Joe Thornton and was at his usual pesky best.

Physical Play: Three fights, and a lot of hits.  The Canucks didn't back down from the Sharks.  Kassian, Volpatti and Bieksa all fought and are doing good work towards altering Vancouver's perception as a team you can physically intimidate. Finally.

Three Down

Maxim Lapierre: A stupid penalty in the second period cost the Canucks dearly as the forfeited a goal and their momentum.  Max saw time on the pine in the third period and was called out by Canucks' coach Alain Vigneault after the game for the lapse in judgment.  Perhaps 'Lapse' should be his on-ice nickname instead of Lappy.

Alex Edler: Another game, another horrible Edler giveaway.  This one was right on the stick of Joe Pavelski in the slot.  Even Joe Thornton would be impressed.  Maybe it's the new contract, maybe it's the lack of a pre-season, but we saw this Edler against the Kings in the playoffs and it's concerning to some die-hard Canucks' fans that the $30 million man is making such blatant miscues in his own end.

Sedin Twins: Also starting the year slowly, the Sedin twins failed to convert any of the seven power play opportunities afforded them.  To be fair, Vigneault actually sat the twins for an entire two minute power play in the third period to send a message.  With Kesler (and Booth, to a lesser degree) out of the lineup, all of the opposition's defensive focus shifts to the twins, but they are not impressing their coach with the inability to generate offence with all that power play time.

Final Thought

What a debacle that was.  While some numbers from last night's game (summarized by CanucksArmy) suggest that the Canucks played better than they did against Anaheim, this is probably a situation where statistics lie. 

If you like your glass of water half-full - then sure, they had better numbers at even-strength, hit five goal posts, and were unlucky in their own end.  But suggesting that another effort like that would result in a win against Los Angeles on Monday would probably be false.

In fact, Schneider played fairly well and was the victim of a couple of bad bounces.  What really hurt the Canucks was something statistics do not account for - their lack of mental sharpness.  The costly mistakes over-shadowed their hard work.  Some poor penalties, a horrendous power play and defensive lapses were untimely, preventable mistakes that need to be removed from their game if they are to win in Los Angeles.

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