The Vancouver Canucks were playing their best hockey of the season after a promising four-game stretch. Then, the Canucks struggled against the Montreal Canadiens. Both games were marked by poor puck management and costly turnovers, leading to multiple Canadiens goals.
In the first game of the back-to-back, the Canucks surrendered six goals in a 6-2 blowout loss. They followed that up tonight with a 5-3 loss, a frustrating one for Canucks fans.
Vancouver Canucks Struggles Continue In Back-To-Back Losses To Montreal
What went wrong?
For starters, a lack of urgency was apparent in both games. This was a problem for the Vancouver Canucks because the Canadiens came ready to play. In both games, the Canadiens set the tone, scoring the opening goal and capturing the early momentum.
The Canucks were simply too casual off the opening draw. Instead of pushing to grab the momentum as they did against the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday night, the Canucks sat back and allowed Montreal to settle into the game.
The lack of urgency was a common theme throughout their two games. The Canucks did not play physically in either game which allowed Montreal to break out with minimal pressure. The Canucks just looked a step slow in both the defensive and neutral zone, allowing the Canadiens to play their structured game effectively. There was too much chasing on display, the man-to-man defensive coverage creates too many gaps that Montreal takes advantage of.
Furthermore, turnovers and poor puck management continued for the Canucks and led to five/six goals in Monday’s game and three/five goals in Tuesday’s. The Canucks did not manage the puck at all in either game. They were extremely careless with their passes, oftentimes forcing them into dangerous areas. They moved east to west instead of north to south which caused countless problems that led to Montreal goals.
Top line scoring continued to be an issue for the Canucks. Despite Elias Pettersson’s wicked power play marker in the third period tonight, he, Brock Boeser, Quinn Hughes, and J.T. Miller combined for a mere six points in two games. Together they were also a combined -16 plus/minus over the two games.
Lastly, the Canucks were undisciplined in both games not just in terms of penalties (the Canucks took a total of seven penalties in two games). They were undisciplined in the way they conducted themselves and in the way they battled. They looked unprepared in both games and looked slow. The pace of the game was drastically different than it was against Winnipeg.
Revenge For Toffoli?
Tyler Toffoli continued to haunt the Vancouver Canucks with two goals tonight and a goal yesterday. He leads the league in goals with nine, eight of which came against the Canucks. Toffoli is such a valuable player because he knows how to score. He is a player that can change a game in an instant with a quick goal. He has been deadly against his former team so far and looks to add to his outstanding stats.
What Went Right?
- Despite their hefty contracts, the bottom six contributed for the Canucks in both games. Antoine Roussel, Jay Beagle, and Adam Gaudette all made contributions offensively over the two games.
- Tyler Motte and Nils Hoglander have been consistently visuals this season, and these games were no different. Motte had a total of 12 hits and three takeaways and Hoglander was effective on the forecheck, digging out pucks for his teammates.
- The Canucks looked better in the third period of Tuesday’s game, notching two third period goals in hopes of evening the score.
The Vancouver Canucks have to remember their motto last playoffs of having “short-term memory.” It is crucial for them to focus their intensity to their next game and forget this disappointing back-to-back.
The Canucks will get set to play Thursday night at 7 pm the Toronto Maple Leafs. They will look to rebound and come ready to play for their first meeting of the season against the Leafs.