It seems like another life that we were talking about the Canucks and what a blistering start they were off to, and how the nightmarish season under John Tortorella would just be a fluke. Now, here we are, talking about how the Canucks can't seem to score to save their lives.
The Canucks had another rough night at Rogers Arena on Tuesday night in their first game back from the All-Star break, falling 3-0 to Ryan Kesler and the Anaheim Ducks.
Vancouver struggled offensively throughout the night, especially during the 2nd period when they registered just two shots on net.
Before the game, Willie Desjardins said the Canucks needed to play better on home ice during the final stretch of the season. Heading into tonight, the Canucks were 11-8-1 at Rogers Arena, good enough for 23rd in the NHL. But for the second straight game, Vancouver would be shutout at home. In fact, they haven't scored on home ice in 176 minutes and 26 seconds.
The Ducks would go to the power play less than four minutes into the game when Daniel Sedin was sent off for hooking. Anaheim had a couple looks at the net but the best scoring opportunity came for the Canucks when Shawn Matthias hustled down the ice to get a good shot off while shorthanded.
That's a good PK shift for Shawn Matthias. Gets a shot on a rush, hustles back, turnover, clears puck, change up. #Canucks— Cam Tucker (@CamTucker_Metro) January 28, 2015
Vancouver got their first chance on the power play as Ben Lovejoy was called for interference against Bo Horvat. The Ducks had a shorthanded chance of their own as Andrew Cogliano came up with a loose puck and found himself all alone in front of Ryan Miller. Cogliano tried to put a couple dekes on Miller to create some space, but couldn't get the shot past him. Death, taxes and the Canucks 2nd line power play unit struggling.
They SAY the second-unit power play is ugly, but what if it just needs a makeover and contact lenses?— Pass it to Bulis (@passittobulis) January 28, 2015
Anaheim opened the scoring at 13:43 when Matt Beleskey took a drop pass and blasted it past the glove of Ryan Miller for his 18th goal of the season. Miller could only look at his glove in disbelief that he couldn't come up with the save.
OK, fess up, who cut the hole in Miller's glove?— Wyatt Arndt (@TheStanchion) January 28, 2015
The Canucks put some late pressure in the final shift of the opening period with Kassian, Bonino and Mathias on the ice, putting three shots on net in the final 30 seconds before heading off for the first intermission. That was about the one bright spot for Vancouver in the first 20 minutes as they went into the locker room trailing the Ducks 1-0. Not good considering the Ducks are 22-0-5 this year when scoring first.
During a Canucks power play early in the 2nd period, Derek Dorsett and Ryan Kesler collided, and Dorsett would need to be helped off the ice to the locker room. You can watch the hit here and play the role of the NHL Department of Player Safety.
Following the power play, Zack Kassian would head to the penalty box after hitting Maroon from behind after the whistle. Kassian was immediately thrown down to the ice by Corey Perry as a result for the hit. There's a difference between getting your team fired up and being an idiot, and clearly Kassian has yet to learn that difference.
The Ducks would add to their lead with a goal on a delayed penalty call at 7:19. After Jannik Hansen pushed Frederik Andersen from behind, Rickard Rakell delivered a pass up along the boards to Kyle Palmieri who beat Ryan Miller to give Anaheim a 2-0 lead.
With just over five minutes left in the period, Zack Kassian almost put the Canucks on the board as he juggled the puck into the offensive zone, but couldn't capitalize on a one-timer off a pass from Nick Bonino in front of the net.
I look up and all of a sudden Kassian is partaking in the Breakaway Contest from the All-Star game— Wyatt Arndt (@TheStanchion) January 28, 2015
During the 2nd period, the Canucks continued to struggle offensively, getting just two shots on net.
Early in the 3rd period, Shawn Matthias nearly provided a desperately needed spark for the Canucks. After coming up with a loose puck behind the net, Nick Bonino hit Matthias with a great pass as Matthias came rushing into the slot. However, Jakob Silfverberg and Cam Fowler were able to come in and break up the scoring chance.
Anaheim would ice the game midway through the 3rd period as Rickard Rakell sent a shot on net that deflected off the stick of Frankie Corrado and past Ryan Miller, giving the Ducks a commanding 3-0 lead. With the way Vancouver's offense looked, it might as well have been a 7-0 lead.
Rickard Rakell hits iron and in to make it 3-0 for the #Ducks. Corrado couldn't decide who to cover, and chose wrong— Rich Brown (@richbrownsports) January 28, 2015
As a last ditch effort, Willie Desjardins pulled Ryan Miller with four and a half minutes left to play, hoping to spark a miraculous comeback. Miller looked downright pissed on the bench, and rightfully so. Like John Garrett said during the broadcast, you can blame him for the goals all you want, but the Canucks aren't doing him any favors by not generating any offense.
Can't say you see many teams pull their goalie before the final TV timeout.. especially down 3-0 in a game they're being badly outplayed in.— Blake Price (@blakeprice1040) January 28, 2015
To no surprise, the strategy did not work. Patrick Maroon added a final empty net goal with 31 seconds left to make it 4-0, capping off a dominating win for the Ducks.
Vancouver will need to figure out their problems on home ice in a hurry, because they have five more games at Rogers Arena coming up before they hit the road. On Friday night, the Canucks will take on the Buffalo Sabres, and there should be no doubt that Ryan Miller will be in net to face his former team that he spent over a decade with.