The first period was a disaster. The stats did not represent what we saw on the ice. The Canucks may have out hit the Sharks, but the Sharks out chanced them by a wide margin. When I heard the SOG numbers were 15-9 in favor of San Jose I had to ask when we too 9 shots. I'm pretty sure some of them were from outside the blueline. Luongo was absolutely stellar in the opening 20 minutes.
In the second period it looked like the Canucks were waking up and momentum was clearly starting to shift. Luongo was still good, but tested less often. The sad thing is that I don't recall many good scoring chances during that middle frame. Our goal was pure garbage and I'm almost surprised the play wasn't whistled dead by one of the officials. I didn't even see the penalty that put the Sharks up a man, and I was still trying to figure out who was in the box when Couture tied it. All I remember was looking up at the ceiling and asking my buddies why we are never able to generate scoring chances like that from the slot with our powerplay.
Around the 8 minute mark of the third period I had this sinking feeling in my gut. We weren't getting any looks at Niemi, and none of the Canucks had been able to pass the puck worth shit. Every pass was into the feet, a foot or two behind, or way too far ahead, of the intended recipient. A minute or so later Boyle put it upstairs while 4 Canucks stood around Luongo facing the net. I'm not sure where the fifth guy was. I was hoping that maybe that was the kick in the ass that the team needed to snap out of the fog they had been skating around in all night.....after all, there was still enough hockey to be played for a team with this level of talent to mount a comeback. Then Marleau put it away on a goal that just looked odd. A terrible read by the defense, then just a screwy shot block that did nothing but let Luongo watch it slide by him as he had dropped and was perfectly positioned to absorb the shot that Marleau looked to be setting up for.....at that range Lou was hooped. But he really does look like he's given up on this team when they are down and playing the way they have been, and even sadder is that you can definitely say that Schneider would have had 2 of those just because of his stance. The wider butterfly would have stopped Marleau, and the way Schneid's sets up, his blocker probably would have gotten Couture's shot. He may not have gotten a couple of the ones that Lou got though. So ifs are just a wash at this point.
I'm still pointing the finger at Vigneault more than the players, but the Sedins need to step up and play smarter.
There were more than a few times that they slowed things down and thought pass when they had a look at the net. Every time it allowed the Sharks to recover and Niemi to get set. I'm mystified as to whether it is the players or the coach that are responsible for our complete lack of back door attackers.
On so many rushes there would be a lane across the middle between the backchecking Shark forward and the defensemen, and every time the puck carrier looked across there was only one Canuck to hit with a pass, and he was always behind a defenseman and nobody was filling the far lane. The book on the overload offensive attack is out, few teams employ it the way Vancouver does, and none of them have success against teams that are playing the Tortorella style collapse and smother defense that blocks shots and just stacks up and sends an extra defender over to nullify the overload. It only works against a zone, and even then it has to be run quicker than the Canucks are executing it right now.
On the PP we made it too easy for San Jose. Again the Twins slowed it down. The passes to the point weren't good. The setup passes for the one-timer were brutal, and if it was Edler receiving the pass he would slow it down and wait then have a wrist shot blocked before it got to the net. San Jose did a very good job of making it tough to set Garrison up, kudos to them for that. I'm unsure if it is the players inability to read and react or Vigneault and Co. just having heads up asses, but when the defending forwards are cheating to the point and coming hard at the puck carrier along the wall, quick puck movement is the only way to beat them. The second PP unit moved around more and had more chances, but the first unit was disgusting to watch.....again.
I do wish Gillis had gone a bit harder after Torres at the deadline.....I heard he tried after Clowe went to NY.
Ebbet on the 4th line is a complete joke. There were several times where the 4th line was hitting the Sharks blueline and going for the dump-chase-and-pound play, but it was Weise or Lap with the puck and Ebbett on the side that the puck was being dumped into. Pretty useless. Weise was hitting everything. Sestito would too. Ebbett should be in the press box. He made some terrible reads in the defensive zone too, but some of those were probably just the result of him being too small to do anything else. Ballard would be an upgrade if not Sestito.
Gillis may not have been able to get the pieces that he wanted to acquire, but I think a GM worth his salt steps in and tells a coach to play the best roster and to keep all the players accountable. To date that hasn't happened.
I would also like to know what happened to the up-tempo game we saw from the Canucks from 2009-2011. It is essentially the same lineup, but suddenly they seem slower than ever. I know they are a bit older, but something is just missing. I don't even think that I'm overly upset by this. It just is what it is, and I totally expected it from this group.
Ferraro hit the nail on the head. The loser of this series will likely go kaboom.