Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Will the Canucks find their scoring after a stay in El Segundo

What the Vancouver Canucks need in this first round playoff series is to finally get into a rhythm, perhaps like a Tribe called West, this Tribe called Canucks can find some direction from their stop over in El Segundo.

Vancouver's plans for a long run into the Stanley Cup playoffs will depend on their ability to recapture some of the initiative in their series with the Kings, as the Canucks set up shop at the Kings El Segundo practice facility for a day of  optional practice, head coach Alain Vigneault was more than clear on what needs to happen come game time on Wednesday.

The Canuck's coach simply put it that the team's best players needed to rise to this occasion, something that hasn't always been the focus of their attention it seems during the course of the first three games of this series.

Monday night provided the latest stumbling block for Vigneault's squad, as the team featured little jump and even less execution for the bulk of the sixty minutes of game three, only coming to life it seemed in the third when the Sedins finally began to bounce back into their more traditional role of offensive generators, cycling the puck and finally having opportunity to fire off some shots.

Their production seem to gain momentum from the disallowed goal that still has hockey fans discussing the optics of the deflected as opposed to the kicked puck, but in reality, the goal whether good or not, in the end didn't really seem to matter much, such was the control that the Kings seemed to take of the game, chasing Roberto Luongo from the competition early and smothering the Canucks offensive plans.

Once again the Kings seemed to have more jump, their ability to line match shutting down the Canucks offensive play, while costly penalties again proved to be a problem area for Vancouver, providing the Kings with power play time and frequent opportunity to add on to their lead at the expense of a woeful penalty kill.

The Kings despite having a rather young defensive corps have been more solid in their end of the ice than can be said for the Canucks, Vancouver's blue line pairings frequently finding themselves beat to the puck or twisted out of position.

Beyond the lack of scoring and the scattered defensive play, Luongo has made some uncharacteristically bad errors, losing focus on the play at times and struggling at times it seems to get back into position after some of the frenzied action in the Vancouver end.

It no doubt is frustrating for the team's captain to have had such a rough time of things in his last few stops in LA, but if the Cancuks have any hopes of extending their playoff season past one round, Luongo will have to turn in a Gold Medal performance for his club team on Wednesday night.

Heading back to Vancouver down by three games would certainly make for a tense atmosphere at GM Place and as been the case thus far, the Kings it seems are better able to handle the pressure of late.

If they should win on Wednesday and head back to Vancouver up 3 games to 1 in the series, the odds it would seem would suggest that winning one of the following three  games, wouldn't be too hard a task for them to accomplish, bringing the Canucks to a very sudden and for many unexpected early stop!

Vancouver Sun-- Canucks coach Alain Vigneault's challenge: 'The will to win makes a big difference'
Vancouver Sun-- Nothing Special about Canucks: Penalty killing awful
Vancouver Sun-- Canucks’ Roberto Luongo still loose despite struggles against Kings
Vancouver Province-- For Vancouver Canucks to beat L.A. Kings, everyone needs to be better
Vancouver Province-- All four wheels have come off -- Canucks look overmatched
Globe and Mail-- Vigneault names names
Globe and Mail-- Power plays sink Canucks
LA Times-- Kings are thinking they can do this
LA Times-- Kings have done good job of defending Canucks’ Henrik and Daniel Sedin
LA Daily News-- Kings are back in black with Game 3 win over Vancouver

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