Written by: Larry “The Nucks IceMan” Johnson
I wrote a couple of articles ago about why the Canucks had lost games five and sixth and now it’s time for my thoughts on game seven.
In game six they played one of their best games of the series. They were physical, had 85 shots directed towards the Chicago net, clogged up the neutral zone, took the gaps away from the Hawks forwards and most importantly had the majority of puck possession.
You don’t get 85 shots towards the opposition’s net unless you are starting out with the puck.
In game six, Ryan Kesler had his most successful night of this series in the face-off circle, with a 51.3% success rate. Henrik Sedin on the other hand had his second worst night going 45% in face-offs. Henrik must be better!
That tried and true cliche of – your best players have to be your best players, is paramount tonight for the Canucks. The Sedins, Kesler, Alex Burrows and Mikael Samuelsson have to rise to the occasion and be productive. The role players have to do their part and someone from the third or fourth line will have to score a goal.
The Canucks need to copy and repeat game six in all the areas they were successful in. Be physical, fill the air with pucks, clog up the neutral zone, take the gaps away from the Hawks, and continue on with puck possession. Make the Hawks chase them for the puck, which the Canucks didn’t do in games four and five.
This imbalance with the penalties called will take care of itself, if the Canucks are the dominate team with the puck. They have to be hungry for the puck, outwork the Hawks, finish their checks, and their special teams have to be better, especially the power play.
I would dress Aaron Rome as the seventh D-man tonight and play him on the fourth line, in case of another injury to the D during the game. This is not a game where the Canucks need to be playing with five D.
On defense, there has to be more than Kevin Bieska having an all world night. It’s time for Alex Edler to step up and play to the capabilities we all saw in game one. Keith Ballard has to prove Coach Vigneault made a mistake by not playing him in game six instead of Andrew Alberts.
The team in front of Roberto Luongo has to finally prove that he can erase these meltdowns in the playoffs. In game six the Canucks played their defensive system to a tee.
Two of the Hawks goals came off of Cory Schneider’s puck handling and the other goal came off of a penalty shot. Eliminate those, and the Canucks would have won game six.
This seventh game can be won by this Canucks team. Just go out and trust in each other to take care of their job, believe in their system, play the same way they did in front of Schneider in game six, don’t get too tight, have fun and they will be successful.
I’m off to watch the Montreal/Boston game, so I don’t have to think about the Canucks. My stomach is tied up in knots..
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Filed under: Vancouver Canucks