Against the Wings on Thursday, Vancouver played a decent enough game but, if you followed along in the liveblog (as I know you most certainly did) you saw they stopped playing for the first few minutes of the third period. What followed is what this team does way too often: gave up too many goals in quick succession (in this example, three in six minutes) and then dominated play in the final ten minutes but ultimately come up short. I can rattle off at least five other times this year when they have done this, so if they miss the dance by a handful of points guess what'll be one obvious thing we can point at?
Friday was a bit better (obviously they got the win) but then yesterday against the Avs was the same uninspired play again. Sure Budaj had some puck luck (Bernier off the post in OT) that Schneider didn't (the Jones goal was Mitchell's fault and wow was that Tjarnqvist goal poor) but the lack of determination...hell let's just call it "finish" were all too obvious. Where is the kill factor on this team? That sense of "we got 'em where we want 'em?" They had it a few weeks ago but it's been pissed away now.
The fact is the guys aren't playing with the same level of confidence in front of Schneider or Sanford as they do in front of Luongo. Certainly not surprising or their fault; would you act more confidently in front of a tank or a ten speed? The good news is that Luongo could be back as early as Saturday. The bad news is he may not be and those Northwest standings are getting mighty tight again and if Luongo gets injured again this team is back at square one.
In fact, while we're on that good/bad theme, let's keep going with it...
More good news: Bernier scoring two goals is vaguely familiar to the sentiment management laid on the guy when they signed him. We heart second line scoring Steve, someone scratch him behind his ears (that's where bears like to be scratched right?)
More bad news: The duct tape came off Sami's groin again. If Gillis could move Salo for a Caesar salad at this point he'd have my full support.
More good news: Vancouver only has two games this week - tomorrow in Nashville and Saturday against Edmonton. Plenty of rest in between.
More bad news: That damn sulking Swedish center is back tempting the mainstream with sugary sweet takes as this.
More good news: ...that when Sundin doesn't sign Gillis can go back to his damn job and find some offensive talent that isn't apathetic and rusty, perhaps from a team like the Rags or Hawks that will sign him and will need to shed talent to fit him in.
Oh what the hell let's end with good news: Willie Mitchell is still inadvertantly messing with the Wild (which could potentially affect Gaborik's contract status). I'll repeat myself: it's a festivus miracle!