Perhaps being back home, and seeing the hated red uniforms of the Calgary team is just what the boys need. Perhaps getting Luongo back, and getting their "talisman" Alexandre Burrows back on the ice will be enough.
I mean, hell, this is the second game in a row where the #1 penalty kill couldn't close the deal. Part of that is probably math, and under the headline of "it happens", but the only goal tonight was on the power play.
The penalty kill was 5 for 6, but when your power play is 0 for 7, then even a very good penalty kill can't do it all.
Sometimes though, it really is, just not getting the breaks. The boys just cannot get a bounce right now. That will all even out, and perhaps a full line up ( or a move or two ) can make a difference. You just know that Torts is working hard to come up with something. But, once again...it is a loss to recap.
Let's look at the players for the night :
- Kevin Bieksa. 5 shot attempts ( 3 on net ) is good. Two minors ( no matter that Dan O'Rourke is a holdover from the Ducks game, and we know how that worked on the previous two games ! 1 hit in 20:09 though Juice? Were the Coyotes that fast?,
- David Booth is working hard. But while 1 block, 2 hits, and a takeaway in 10:21 is OK, it would be nice to see him "spark" the lineup. He had a few flashes though. Shoot the puck David.
- Alexander Edler...I am still giving a minor pass to. He had a decent game in the Duck Fiasco, and was OK again tonight. 25:07 is big minutes, but a couple hits, 1 block, and only 1 of 2 shot attempts on net is marginal. He'll get better though. I expect a "Oh yeah, he's a good defenseman, I remember why we love him" game soon. He had a few "timing" and whatnot struggles tonight, for sure. But I think it is coming.
- Jason Garrison had 18:09 TOI, and almost 6 minutes of that was on the power play. He had 4 shots on net, the high for the blue liners. The call on him was a weak one, but what can you do? The fact there was a goal on it is just what happens when you are slumping.
- One of the big things about having Edler back? Dan Hamhuis only had 19:54 TOI. He had 3 shots, and was the goat on a puck off the skate, and off the stick past Lack. Again. This stuff happens when you are struggling, and it is usually one guy that is shaking the head and saying "am I cursed?" Dan Hamhuis is that one right now.
- Chris Higgins had 3 shots ( 1 block, where he may have injured his wrist ) Ryan Kesler had 4 shots, ( 1 block, 6 for 12 on draws ), and Zack Kassian had 3 hits. They deserved a bit better as a line tonight, but I would still keep them together. This is the best Kassian has looked for a sustained period of time, during this streak. It's coming for the big 22 year old.
- Brad Richardson is a hard working hockey player. I am happy with his contribution to this date. Usually hard working guys get rewarded, not the cruel sound of a "ping" instead.
- Daniel Sedin, and Henrik Sedin are great hockey players. Sometimes, in a slump, you need the stars to pull you out, and they sure tried tonight. Daniel had 8 shot attempts ( 5 on net ), a team high, and Henrik had 1, while going 8 for 14 on draws. Both had a minor though, and Daniel also had 2 giveaways to his brother's 1. So, not a perfect game., but they were dangerous and threw the puck around well for most of their time on the ice. Hammerin' Hank did add to his hit total, by 1, tonight , as his "Tortsification" proceeds apace.
A perfect example of how a slump hurts a team? Daniel Sedin, on that second period power play, with the puck in close, and the whole top half of the net, put it into the glass. #sigh They were dangerous tonight. For my money, that was a goal by Henrik, and "directed" seems to depend, on this one, on the fact the puck hit the one little bit of square inches where a hand is. The puck hits him anywhere else on that move, and it's a goal. He went to the net, right? But alas...slumpin'...
- The Twins had Booth for long stretches tonight. He was skating hard, and I am not saying to take him off. But when Burrows comes back, don't you think that the "Poutine and Meatballs" familiarity may be just the thing? Hell, both Burrows and Booth have the same kind of production going on this year!
- Eddie Lack was fine tonight, a game after being pulled. He had no fault on the only goal, and was strong in net again. Luongo may be needed to put the Canucks back in the right frame of mind, and he is the #1, but the goaltending was not the problem tonight.
Everyone else had their contributions. If I had to pick a player that I want to see do better for himself and the team, it's Booth. A player that needs some luck? Daniel Sedin. But you could fill this paragraph with every name on the team. Jason Garrison need s a couple on the power play to go in...that would solve a lot of problems all at once !
But, in a slump, you end up storming the net, and not getting a break. Instead of scoring on a power play where it looks like everyone is in the area down low, you get a penalty called on your best shooter, like late in the first period with Daniel Sedin. You get a goal disallowed in a 1-0 game, and you get a power play to end the game of a double the usual time, and just can't get the power play to "click".
The players all said the right things. Torts talked about "details" and the urgency of the situation. This is a team that is wound tight. Which is strange, after a team building "moral victory" before the "game of which we will not speak now". The emotional whipsaw could have been eased greatly with a bounce, an ugly goal...something. Instead, the pressure remains.
It'll change folks. Pucks will go in easier. Breaks will be gotten. It is just, sometimes, when you are in a slump, that you just cannot see it. The old "forest for the trees" cliche. I would strongly suggest the team take a deep breath, practice hard, use nothing but cliches ( like Crash Davis says, they are your "friends" ) when asked ad infinitum by the puck media that will ask "why are things bad right now"? in a hundred different ways after that practice. That is part of hockey life in the big city. But it doesn't help at times like this. We've seen losing streaks before. This was the "could have had a better fate with some luck" loss. Next comes the laugher win, or some even more intense home ice navel gazing if they lose to an ( sorry Flames fans ) "inferior" team. So, if that is the case, just laugha little guys, relax...and just play the game.
It is still a "game", right?
Go get em Saturday at home guys.
Santorelli left arena with right arm in sling. Could be shoulder injury.