It’s proof how much the Vancouver Canucks have improved and raised expectations since last season that a week in which the team has gone 2-2 is considered a dip in form. Last season, going 2-2 over six days, with one win against the Stanley Cup champion and another on the road against a division rival would have caused people on the West Coast to repaint their homes blue and green and rename children Bo – boys and girls. Last spring, the Canucks lost their final eight games – and that merely matched their worst streak of the National Hockey League season. They scored one goal or less in 27 of 82 games, were shut out four times in one five-game stretch and trailed 1-0 53 times. So, we can understand why new Canucks coach Travis Green was protective and just a little bit prickly Friday over the characterization that the Canucks weren’t playing well enough even before they were hammered 4-1 the night before by the Anaheim Ducks. The Canucks got a couple of bounces and some big saves from Jacob Markstrom to beat the Calgary Flames 5-3 Tuesday while being outshot 32-21. The game before that Vancouver was sloppy in a 3-2 home loss to the Detroit Red Wings. Two nights before that, Markstrom led the Canucks to a 4-2 win against the champion Pittsburgh Penguins in a terrific game that saw Vancouver outshot 39-21. When the erosion in Canucks execution was starkly exposed Thursday by the Ducks, Vancouver captain Henrik Sedin admitted: “It’s been a game coming for us. I don’t think we’ve been playing well for three or four games at least.” And certainly not as well as the Canucks played in the second half of October, when they exited with a record of 6-3-2 that nobody foresaw.
Canucks trying to figure out if they’re real as a playoff contender
Sportsnet | Nov 11