"Tonight's game comes with a 'No Hertl guarantee'. But if you must, Hertl in this..."
It's such a strange word, isn't it? Adapt. As Canucks fans we simply didn't have to use it much with Alain Vigneault behind the bench. What we see with this team now is not just a game by game adjustment, but in game tweaks from the coach that actually seem to address what's happening in the game. We've seen the Sedins split up. We've seen players get bumped UP a line or two as a reward for strong play. And we've seen line juggling that seemed to move players into specific spots to address in-game issues. That, and post-game conferences where the coach actually says what's going right and wrong with this team are the new order in Canuckville, and while it's still taking some getting used to, it feels pretty damn good.
Now obviously should the Canucks get their asses handed to them again by the Sharks, there's going to have to be a long, hard look at why the hell they can't seem to get things going against this squad. And I want to be clear, it's not just the Canucks playing bad here. San Jose have a hell of a hockey team, but the Canucks have at various times, gift-wrapped things for the Sharks, playing right into their system.
One thing we've seen since the season opening loss to the Sharks, is a more consistent work effort. There have been small lapses, but overall we're seeing a team that doesn't pack it in mentally if they get down a couple goals. And as we saw against the Oilers, they're pretty good with a comfortable lead as well. The penalty kill has been strong this year, and they're gonna need it, because no matter how hard they try to avoid it, the Sharks are gonna get a boatload of power plays. Neutralizing the Sharks killer PP, and maybe popping another short-handed goal will go a long way towards snapping this streak. After all, with the Pacific Division title already locked down by the Sharks, the Canucks will need to take what they can get in their quest for the post-season, right?
No lineup changes for either team tonight, as Alexandre Burrows is still out with a foot injury, and Zack Kassian is serving the last of his 8 game suspension for the incident with Edmonton's Sam Gagner, but will be in the lineup Saturday night when the Montreal Canadiens roll into town. The Sharks will be without Brad Stuart, who learned the hard way against the Rangers that when you hit people in the head, one day Sheriff Shanny will be knocking on your door. 3 games for concussing Rick Nash, other than that, the Sharks lineup is the same.
KICKASS METAL TUNE OF THE DAY
Here's hoping tonight sees more Swedish magic for the Canucks, and to help conjure that up, here's Dimension Zero with 'Your Darkest Hour'.