Game in a Sentence:
As far as old fashioned family fun goes, today’s games didn’t offer a whole lot outside of Philly-Pittsburgh. This Canucks-Kings tilt was a slog it out affair with a few fireworks, but a whole lot more stuff less exciting than fireworks the rest of the time.
- The Canucks lost 1-0? I’m willing to bet that Roberto Luongo let in a softy that cost them, RIIIIIIIGHT? No. You are wrong. Cory Schneider was phenomenal, yes. So was Roberto Luongo in games one and two. The team’s problems against LA extend much further than the crease and the Kings have been the perfect candidate to expose them.
- One distinct difference between this year’s Canucks and last year’s is I got the sense that Alain Vigneault trusted his fourth line a hell of a lot more last season. Tonight, Zack Kassian and Dale Weise combined for a whopping 5:49 of ice-time for the game. Total. Obviously teams are reluctant to play their bottom line in games with so much weight, but at least a year ago you got the sense the Canucks pluggers could make a positive impact.
- I’ve wanted to draw a fitting comparison between Dustin Brown and an NHLer of the past for some time now and I think I’ve finally narrowed it down. Brown reminds me an awful lot of Gary Roberts. The guy does a lot of dirty work for a top six forward, he doesn’t yap and he comes up with big goals. I don’t know if he’s a fitness freak who crushes six large black Tim Horton’s coffees a game (Roberts did), but boy it would make sense. He causes nothing but problems for his opposition. If the Kings were genuinely trying to trade him this year, thank heavens they were saved from themselves.
- If Jannik Hansen was a Canadian guy who played for any team besides the Canucks he would be a media darling. Unfortunately, being from an obscure hockey country and playing for the team everyone loves to hate hasn’t helped his marketability. One hell of a player though.
- The Canucks dropped another o-fer on the power play again. The power play was better early on but still seems to be slipping into bad habits. The Kings have been great at clogging the middle and getting Vancouver backs against the boards.
- Speaking of things along the boards, this Dustin Brown hit on Henrik Sedin struck me as clean, perhaps late when it happened and that has pretty much been the consensus.
- Anze Kopitar and Alex Burrows fought. Weird day.
- Jonathan Quick is playing as well as any goaltender has in the last year and that includes Tim Thomas during last year’s playoffs. A lot of what Vancouver put on goal at him haven’t been truly high quality scoring chances but he has met every challenge so far. I like Lundqvist for the Vezina but man this is going to be a tough call.
- I don’t know who the Canucks ought to start in game four. My gut says Luongo but who knows what Vigneault is thinking.
- Ryan Kesler seriously needs to get his act together. Play hockey Ryan, not mind games.
- Jeff Carter looked injured today. He wasn’t skating particularly well and had trouble winning puck battles. We’ll see if he plays now that LA has a three game edge.
- Dan Hamhuis was fantastic all game long. Seeing the effort he’s putting out there make the failings of the team that much more frustrating to watch. Chris Tanev has also been great in the back end.
- I think Vancouver would do well to watch what Detroit is doing to Nashville right now. Lots of driving the net and crashing the crease, lots of low shots and rebound fishing. Quick takes away the bottom of the net very well and does give up rebounds. Force the issue by creating those prototypical playoff goals on scrambles. Leave the pretty passing at the door until you can get those.
- For the Kings, stick to the game plan. Clog the middle, work the boards. They’re getting plenty of chances doing what they’re doing and frustrating the Canucks in the process. Vancouver hasn’t been that visibly frustrated since their Stanley Cup final games against Boston.
- Needless to say I’m not optimistic for Vancouver in game four. They’ve lacked the energy and drive of successful playoff teams and barring some sort of divine intervention I doubt it appears now. I have a hard time calling a sweep but the Canucks haven’t given me much to help em out with.
My Three Stars:
1) Jonathan Quick
2) Dustin Brown
3) Dan Hamhuis