Avalanche 2 @ Canucks 4 (Final)
Vancouver extends their home winning streak to nine games, and makes it 14 wins in the last 18 games. The team, 5th in the West, played 68 games, 2 less games than the 6th-placed Columbus which has 3 less points. Chicago, however with one game in their hands are only two points ahead of Vancouver.
It’s all looking good, but I actually see a few signs of concerns with the team, if the Canucks intend to go far in this year’s playoff.
For the second game, the Canucks played against a team out of playoff contention, and a team which was tired after a consecutive game away from their home town. In both games, the Canucks got a couple of quick goals in the first, and tried to hang on for a win. In both games, the opposition got back either tying the game or a goal away from tying. In both games Luongo let in a soft goal, but stood his ground when it matter near the end of the game. In both games the opposition rang a couple of shots off the post, otherwise would’ve resulted with a very different ending.
But this shouldn’t be for a team looking to win home-ice advantage and eventually the Cup. I think the Canucks consciously believe that they have what it takes to win games, they are confident on the surface. But sub-consciously they are still very vulnerable in they pysche. This is perhaps, partly due to the fact that they had a very rough January, a stretch of 8 games in which they’ve tried everything, but the pucks just didn’t bounce their way. Although they got a few players back, most notibly in Luongo, they didn’t change their game that much, except for placing Burrows and Kesler on the top two lines, but suddenly they are winning most of the games they played. They know that they should attribute their success to the defensemen playing a better game, the scoring coming from Kesler and Burrows, and maybe Luongo in net, but deep down inside they don’t really believe that.
They are winning because they are on a roll. But when will this come to an end? It almost feels like they are expecting the winning streak to end, somehow. Just look at the last 3 consecutive 4-game winning streak. They try not to change their game, but during that fifth game, they just can’t seem to be able to score goals. Maybe, it’s because they were up against a hot goalie, but maybe they just “know” that they can’t win the fifth game, especially if the opposing goalie made a few good saves in the first period.
Similar to tonight’s game. After the three goals in the first, entering the second period, it feels like the team knows that the opposition will score the next one. With the thought of vulnerability creeping behind their minds, the team helped made it a reality. They try to stop the trend from repeating itself, but somehow they just lack that extra step. Comes the start of the third, when Dracy Tucker scored that wierd goal, you can almost hear the players saying, “I knew it!!!”, “Here we go again!!!”. It’s fortunate that they have an extra goal cushion, but it takes almost 10 minutes for the team to wake up from their sleep. The final lucky call gave the Canucks that PP to seal the deal, but they were lucky.
So, in short, we should be happy the Canucks are winning games, but perhaps not too happy, seeing who they are playing against. The Avs didn’t play a very good hockey game, they have a depleted line-up, they lack leadership and most importantly confidence. It’s no surprise that our team came out on top tonight, but if the Canucks want to secure a better playoff berth, they will have to play a much better 60-minutes game.