The Canucks played arguably their worst game on Saturday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs who have the worst roster in the NHL. Despite opening the scoring, the effort level was horrible from start to finish and the Leafs dictated the pace and style of play all game. They had a majority of the offensive zone time and the better of the chances which led to the 5-2 Leafs win on Saturday. Fast forward 2 days and you expect the effort level to be much better against Minnesota who have 1 win in their last 10 games; it wasn’t. For the second straight game they were the second best team in most aspects of the game.
The Wild were playing their first game in front of new intern coach John Torchetti, which is always a tall task when playing against a team with a new coach. You’ll almost always get a great effort as the players are trying to impress their new coach and this was the case tonight for the Wild. It wasn’t the prettiest or most creative game from the Wild but they had good jump from the start and gave a pretty consistent effort all game, outshooting the Canucks at one point 15-2 to start the game. The quick start really set the pace and tempo of the game and the Canucks never really felt like a threat at any point in the game to beat the Wild on this night and take 2 points.
Matt Bartkowski had a tough first period, turning the puck over trying to rush it in his own zone before being stripped by Zach Parise. Parise would snipe from a tough angle to open the scoring before Chris Tanev would tie the game on the powerplay tipping home a nice pass from Henrik Sedin. Just before the end of the 1st Bartkowski would tip a Jared Spurgeon shot on the way to the net and it would knuckle past Jacob Markstrom, who got the start Monday night. Minnesota made it 3-1 in the second but Henrik would cut the deficit to 1 on the powerplay by banking the puck off of goaltender Devan Dubnyk’s stick. Charlie Coyle returned the favour banking a pass off of Chris Tanev on Minnesota’s next powerplay and past Markstrom to restore the 2 goal lead. Minnesota would tally 1 more goal in the 3rd to make it the same score line as Saturday’s game 5-2.
It has been a tough week for Vancouver who lost defenceman Alex Edler and forward Brandon Sutter to injury. Edler took a puck off the leg and Sutter was hit in the face with a puck as both will miss at least 6 weeks. Couple those injuries with the effort and execution in the last 2 games should add concern to Canucks fan who believe this team can make the playoffs. Monday’s Loss now puts the current losing streak at Rogers Arena to 5. One positive from Monday night’s game was the powerplay who tallied both goals for Vancouver. The goals weren’t the prettiest but the powerplay looked dangerous most of the game and the offensive zone entry was very good. Vancouver still sits 6 points out of a playoff spot and only 7 points up on the worst record in the league. If the effort level doesn’t improve over the coming games don’t be surprised if the Canucks are closer to the worst record in the league then they are to a playoff spot.