It's been a streaky season for the Canucks on the power play, an area that the team just can't seem to find a groove in. In Wednesday night's 3-2 shootout loss against the San Jose Sharks, the power play blues continued as the Canucks went 0-5 while on the advantage.
Trailing 1-0 four minutes into the second period, Michael Handzus was sent to the penalty box for holding, giving the Canucks their first power play of the game. 15 seconds into the power play, Henrik Sedin attempted to dump the puck in towards the net, but the pass was intercepted by Brad Stuart, who found Adam Burish already streaking up ice. Stuart delivered a perfect pass to Burish who fired in the shorthanded goal at 4:43 to give the Sharks a 2-0 lead.
The Canucks would fight their way back, eventually tying up the game by the end of the second period with goals from Henrik Sedin and Jannik Hansen. The shorthanded goal from Burish however proved to hurt bad, as the Canucks couldn't manage to scrap together one more goal for the win.
It's hard to blame the loss on the shorthanded goal though. Even if Vancouver hadn't given up the goal and led 2-1, there's no guarantee that they'd hang on to the lead. As we all know by know, the Canucks haven't exactly been masterful when it comes to preserving leads. But what is easy when it comes to finding a reason for the loss is the power play performance.
Five chances, zero goals. The best power play came at 13:26 as James Sheppard was sent off for tripping. The Canucks had plenty of quality shots on net during the advantage, but Antti Niemi turned into some sort of brick wall, keeping the game tied.
This season, the Canucks rank in the bottom half of the league on the power play, scoring just 15.9 percent of the time (20th in the NHL). That number has been falling lately, as the Canucks are now 0-15 on the power play in their last six games. In those six games, the Canucks are just 2-3-1. In the five games prior, Vancouver had scored a power play goal in four of those games.
The bottom line is simple. If the Canucks want to get back to riding a winning streak and building a lead in the division, they're going to need to fix the issues they've been having on the power play. Luckily for the Canucks, two of their next three games will be against the Columbus Blue Jackets, who currently sit at the cellar of the NHL with 18 points.