Is LA really a more talented team than the Canucks? Damn I don't know. Yes they seem to have the Canucks number lately, no doubt about that. The Canucks biggest problem has been scoring and the best way to fix that is to take advantage on the PP. They have not been able to do that. They show much more urgency when on the PK than they do on the PP.
LA is a bigger team and they play like the Burke era Ducks or the Bruins, using that size to intimidate the opposition. The game the other night is the first game in quite awhile that I have seen the Canucks as a whole finishing checks and really battling for loose pucks. Hansen has been invisible lately as has Higgins and Weise and of course Booth. Quite frankly, none of the forwards have been skating the way they need to in either direction.
Breakouts don't play a part in the game. The forwards vacate as soon as the puck goes to a D man and the D man has to try to get a puck past one or sometimes two opposing players to the winger standing at centre. Its a recipe for turnovers and no one is at speed trying to enter the Offensive zone. If you are going to play dump and chase hockey the dump has to be timed so the forecheck can get in on the D men.
The PP is stationary again passing around the outside and with 3 players playing above the hash marks. Where is the pressure on the D men and the goaltender with that strategy? Movement, especially lateral movement, is the key to creating openings. No one goes to the slot area in the seam between the 4 defenders so they don't have to change their defensive placement. The team with the advantage has to use its extra man to force the defenders out of their comfort zone. If the PP remains stationary the defenders are being forced to move out of position and the goaltender doesn't have to be concerned about having to move laterally and reset.
Is LA a team that plays on the edge? Yup. Yes they have some talented players in Carter, Richards & Dough Boy. Do they have cheap shot types? Yup, and Brown and Dough Boy lead the pack. Did Sestito do his job? He tried to but Nolan did his Claude Lemieux impression. Kassian is trying to learn his role and is doing pretty good at it. He is young and will learn when to do less talking and more body checking.
The Canucks don't have to play that type of game every night because not all teams play that way. Against LA you have to be ready physically and they were.