Won't lie to ya folks, I left and went to watch Iron Man 3 after the 3rd goal (had plans with the wife and we were waffling on staying or going, then that 3rd goal sealed it). But what I saw in the first 2 periods was the exact same shit I've seen all year.
The Sharks put together simple plays and scored on shots that the Canucks simply can't even make. The Canucks double clutch and don't shoot when they have a look at the net. They don't shoot off the rush. They rarely send a man to the net at the right time. There are almost NEVER attackers coming at the net as a unit from both sides. They protect the puck along the wall and look for the pass up and down the boards. They don't attack from the slot, they are 100% predictable. This holds true against almost every opponent the Canucks have faced.
The PP is garbage. If the forwards and gameplan is predictable at 5-on-5, the powerplay is even more so. The play is to set up Garrison or Kesler for the one-timer. That's it. If that play isn't there the forward holding the puck has the option to tie the puck up and hope he doesn't turn it over, or dump it to the corner for a cycle around to the other side. There is no plan B for a scoring opportunity. Opponents probably laugh their asses off when the ref blows the whistle and sends the Canucks to the powerplay.
The point men, other than Garrison, are too slow at moving the puck. On defense there are missed assignments all over the place and they simply can't move the puck out under pressure. The few times they do transition quickly the forwards, more often than not, hit the blueline and slow down rather than driving the net. When they do carry in with speed they often stay outside and then button hook when they find out that they are on their own and have no support. Hansen, Kesler, and Higgins, are about the only forwards that look to take the puck to the net on the rush. Even Bieksa will take it to the net when he jumps up with the puck.....tonight at the end of the 2nd period I have no idea why he just lobbed it in on Niemi. 2 seconds left, drive the net til the horn. Even if they turn it over they don't have time to transition. Oh well.
22 minutes in penalties to the Canucks tonight. 8 to the Sharks. That says a helluvalot. What I saw through the first 40 minutes was pretty brutal. There were more than a few calls that went against us and the same play the other way was ruled OK by the officials. That in NO WAY was the reason that the Canucks lost this game, but I think that the abuse that the unpenalized Sedins have taken over the last few seasons, and the perceived biased officiating since the 2011 SCF, is starting to wear on the team's psyche. When you go into a game where you think the refs are against you it makes you feel like you are playing up hill from the opening play.
Schneider was amazing right up until that 3rd goal. A deflection and a bang-bang play on a 5-on-3 can't be held against him. In reality the body of work that he put up in the first 40 minutes was probably as threatening as the total that Niemi faced in the opening two games. He made a pile of really good toe saves as the Canucks just scrambled around in front of him.
Luongo said it best tonight. "A couple of guys are out there playing their heart out but we need everybody."
In the post-game Vigneault looked like a guy who was facing the media for one of the last times as coach of the Canucks. I think he knows he's done.
RD is right about one thing. This team needs a GM with serious balls this summer. Gillis has this off-season to make changes, if he fails to do that, then he fails completely.